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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, June 15, 2024

Men’s rowing opens spring season with race against Harvard lightweights

Solid second place finish cements Tufts as a dominant force in Division III.

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Members of the men's crew team are pictured at the Head of the Charles Regatta.

Tufts men’s rowing opened its spring sprint season on Saturday with races against Harvard men’s lightweights and Riverside Boat Club. Coming off a No. 1 ranking in the preseason Division III poll, the pressure was on for the Jumbos to prove, against a notoriously quick Crimson lightweight team, that their Head of the Charles sweep last fall was not just a fluke.

“We try not to let our ranking get to our heads, though we are confident we can execute performances on the water that reflect that ranking,” first-year Justin Sun wrote in a message to the Daily. “This early in the season, we are still working on solidifying lineups and taking each practice day by day, trying to extract as much boat speed as possible.”

The racing took place on the 2,000- meter course in the Charles River Basin, a wide area of the river near the Charles River Dam that usually offers great conditions for racing. On Saturday, however, this was not the case. Wild winds gusting up to 40 mph ripped through the Basin, creating whitecaps and almost unraceable conditions.

“Conditions out in the Charles Basin were rough. … The head current was decently strong, so it was whitecapping. We were prepared for the conditions thanks to practicing in similar conditions in Clemson during our spring training trip,” Sun, who raced in Tufts’ third varsity eight, wrote. “We were able to stay composed when gusts of wind hit our boat from the starboard side. Thankfully, due to our boat’s average weight being around 3040 lbs heavier than our competition, the wind did not affect us as much, giving us that slight edge that we capitalized on.”

Nonetheless, the Jumbos’ highly anticipated season got underway with a victory for the third varsity eight with a time of 7:03.8, edging Harvard’s third varsity eight by just under five seconds (7:08.7) and Riverside Boat Club by 13 seconds (7:16.8). In a relatively definitive win in rowing terms, the Jumbos showed off the depth of their roster.

“Our team probably has the most depth of all of the NESCACs, with our 3V putting up numbers on test pieces that should slate us for a sub 6 minute 2,000 meter race, and we are pushing our 2V on pieces. Sometimes, we are getting the better of them,” Sun wrote.

The 3V8 was made up of first-year coxswain Lucas Resnik and rowers Sun, first-year JT Machle, junior Gonzalo Escajadillo, senior Henry Gray, junior Chris Millay, sophomore Abe Nelson, sophomore Fritz Oldenburg and senior Corbin Steck, in order from stroke to bow.

“The 3V8 had quite a performance against the Harvard 150 3V. We stuck to our race plan, stayed internal, and didn’t get flustered when we were down off of the start. We responded to Harvard’s moves and walked in the 3rd 500 meters with our own shift,” Sun wrote. “Once we got a one seat advantage, the boys kept the pressure and held them under until we opened up one seat of open water. Apart from having issues with the cox box that resulted in us not having a sprint at the finish, it was a stellar piece from the 3V. This was the first ever match up between Harvard lights and Tufts, so it was nice to start off with a win.”

In the second race of the morning, Harvard’s 2V8 boasted the fastest time of the day, with the watch stopping at 6:59.1. The Jumbos nabbed a second place finish, floating across the line a little over ten seconds behind Harvard with a time of 7:09.8. Rounding out the race was Riverside, another 13 seconds behind the Jumbos (7:22.3). The Jumbos in the 2V8 were coxswain first-year Jamie Forman, first-year Seamus Ruiseal, sophomore Max Rosenberger, first-year Mark Machle, first-year Roan Dalton, sophomore Xander Mesires, sophomore Miles Smith, sophomore Alex Flynn and first-year Hayden Stone. In a boat made up of all first-years and sophomores, one can only wonder how fast Tufts can be in a few years.

In the third and final race of the day, the best boats in the field competed. While rougher conditions resulted in the slowest times of the day, do not get confused: The Tufts and Harvard 1V8s are two of the fastest crews in their respective divisions. Harvard got the best of Tufts and the conditions, winning the race by a whopping 22.3 seconds with a time of 7:09.5. The Jumbos got their second No. 2 finish of the day with a time of 7:31.8. Riverside crossed the finish line last, another 16 seconds behind Tufts with a time of 7:48.6. Tufts’ 1V8 coxswain was sophomore Aidan Keusch, and the rowers were graduate student Nick Kuranda, sophomore Max Nusbaum, junior Max Landers, graduate student Liam Jenkins, first-year Peter Conard, graduate student Ryan Hankins, senior John Griffin and first-year Patrick Moran. Overall, Harvard took home the victory of the day, with Tufts getting a respectable second place, and Riverside Boat Club finishing last. While not a victory, the Jumbos had a good showing for their first ever race against the Division I Crimson.

“More work has to be done to produce lineups that can contest our 1V, who are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the team,” Sun wrote. “We are excited to see how we stack up against the competition.”

Tufts will open its home season out of Shoemaker Boathouse on Malden River on Saturday against Williams College, Trinity College and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.