Crew takes fourth straight Bill Cup

by Anne O'Hagen | 4/22/03 5:00am

Excitement is in the air after Saturday's impressive performance by Dartmouth's heavyweight crew team. Both the first and second varsity boats took top honors at Saturday's Bill Cup on the Connecticut River.

In the first varsity race, Dartmouth, ranked ninth in a national poll, decisively defeated both Rutgers, ranked 15th, and Boston University, ranked 19th. Big Green rowers took the race in an impressive time of 5:32.2. Rutgers placed second with a time of 5:40.9, while Boston University took third in 5:44.3.

From early on, conditions seemed favorable for the first varsity to take home the Bill Cup for the fourth consecutive year. With very little current, virtually no wind and flat water on Dartmouth's home course, conditions were perfect for a race.

As usual, the first varsity boat had an excellent fast start, placing it two-thirds of a boat length ahead of both opposing crews after a mere 300 meters.

The first varsity boat, comprised of Melissa Mowat '03 (coxswain), Peter Noteboom '05, Arthur Peterson '05, Jay Conner '03, Joe Gwin '05, Dirk Blum '03, Jaime Velez '03, Don Wyper '05 and Tom Schenck '03, maintained what Blum described as a "very solid, quick stroke rating" throughout the race, easily establishing Dartmouth's dominance.

About 700 meters into the race, Rutgers made a strong move that placed the Scarlet Knights' boat within two seats of the Dartmouth crew. Maintaining her composure, coxswain Mowat kept the crew together until it launched its own move 900 meters into the race.

After this move, the Big Green was no longer in contact with the other crews, a condition known as "open water." With a significant lead, Dartmouth held its sprint until the final 150 meters, easily coasting to the eight's second victory.

While aware that these teams were not the strongest competition they would face this season, the first varsity used this race as a valuable opportunity to fine-tune weaknesses from its April 12 race against Yale. Throughout last week's practice sessions, the rowers sharpened the second half of their race to ensure a strong midsection and powerful finish.

Both of these were displayed in Saturday's race. According to Blum, Saturday's performance was a "great execution of the race plan," and an important tool to have coming into Sprints early next month.

In the second varsity race, Dartmouth also convincingly claimed victory. Becca Mamer '04 (coxswain), Jared Klarquist '03, Dave Shamszad '04, Patrick Cantwell '04, Parker Lewis '05, Bryan Bollinger '03, Morgan Lunt '05, Dave Hyde '05 and Shane Keane '05 worked together to take an early commanding lead. They then took the race in 5:52.2.

Rutgers followed in 5:59.5 and Boston University ended in 6:01.9. In the novice eight race, Dartmouth took third in 5:52.9.

Dartmouth now gears up for next Saturday's home competition against Brown.