BOSTON, Mass. – No. 9 Wellesley College crew opened the 2018 spring season on Saturday, racing four 2000m events in a 15 mph quartering headwind on the Charles River. The Blue faced a good early season test against No. 3 Williams, No. 10 William Smith, and the lightweight crew from Division I MIT, earning victories in the Second Varsity 8 and Third Varsity 8 races.
Williams opened the day with a victory in the Varsity 8 (V8+), as the defending NCAA Division III V8+ gold medalists finished in 8:04.5, ahead of second place MIT (8:09.7) and the Blue in third place (8:10.5). Williams Smith followed in 8:26.73. The Blue held tight with the Ephs and the Engineers through the first 1000m but fell back just past the midway point through the 1500m mark. Wellesley closed the gap in the final 500m but it wasn't enough to catch MIT or Williams at the finish.
The Blue followed with a victory in the Second Varsity 8 (2V8+), overcoming a slow start to beat Williams by a nose at the finish line. Wellesley sprinted to the finish with a time of 8:13.7, while Williams followed in 8:14.5. William Smith (8:41.43) was third and MIT took fourth (8:51.7).
The third race of the morning featured Wellesley's Novice 4 (N4+) against the varsity boats from Williams and William Smith. The Blue opened the race in the lead but dropped back after being forced to make a course adjustment and couldn't quite recover, finishing second (10:31.5) to Williams (10:09.1) but ahead of William Smith (10:58.5).
Wellesley finished the day with a victory in the Third Varsity 8 (3V8+) race, as the Blue took two of the top three spots while also racing their Fourth Varsity 8 (4V8+) in the race. The Blue 3V8+ took control of the race past the midpoint, breaking ahead of Williams before hitting the sprint to finish with a time of 8:22.1. The Ephs finished in second (8:24.9) while the Wellesley 4V8+ followed in third with a time of 9:06.31 and MIT rounded out the field with a time of 9:24.5
Wellesley will race on back-to-back days next weekend as preparation continues for the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship on April 28. The Blue will face No. 1 Bates, No. 2 Wesleyan, and No. 8 Tufts on the Malden River on Saturday, April 14 before joining Bates, No. 7 WPI, and Trinity (Conn.) on Lake Quinsigamond on Sunday, April 15.