CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Having graduated most
of its varsity boat last June, the mission for MIT’s
heavyweight crew this fall was to develop new oarsmen, to learn how
to race and to establish a team identity. The crew made progress
toward these goals this fall, though the learning process included
some ups and downs.
The crew’s first race was the New Hampshire Championships, on the Merrimac River in Hooksett. This head race is run on a beautiful stretch of river in southern New Hampshire the weekend before the Head of the Charles. Unfortunately, the competition in the College Eights category was light this year. Tech won easily over Middlebury College, rowing in a very strong tailwind. The next Sunday, the Engineers tried to defend their top-half finish from 2008 in the Championship Eights at the Head of the Charles. The weather was terrible; it was windy and snowing hard as MIT launched. Whether because of cold or inexperience, the crew raced poorly, finishing 33rd. Fortunately the Princeton Chase afforded a chance at redemption, as many of the top college crews faced off on Lake Carnegie, the weekend following the Charles. This time, Tech raced more to form (though its rate was a bit low), finishing 20th of 40.
Typically, the Tech heavies finish their fall season at the Foot of the Charles, but with only one coxswain and nagging injuries to some key athletes, head coach Tony Kilbridge opted to skip that race and spend more time developing his young crew.
While this fall’s results were not as strong as those from a year ago, Kilbridge was optimistic, saying “I really like this group of guys. Every one of them buys into what we are doing and is committed to making the crew go fast. If they can stay healthy and keep working hard, we should be moving well in the spring.”
The Engineers will move indoors before Thanksgiving, and take to the water next in Cocoa Beach, Fla., for winter training.