Berkshire Crew made the long drive to Quasset Pond in Woodstock, Connecticut on Wednesday to take on Pomfret School in what has become an annual dual regatta. Even with only one full practice since the first race, each boat was looking to improve on results from Saturday with a focus on the quickness at the catch. A gusting tailwind would favor crews with the quickest turnaround, and the Berkshire Bears were ready for the challenge.
In the first race of the day the 3rd boat, which has made tenacity their signature early in the season, set the tone for the team. With a good start off the line, the crew, made up of Austin Hovey, John Leasure, Pedro Escobar, Eric Smith and coxswain Sam Rusoff, held the throttle open and pushed out to an open water lead by the 1000 meter mark, and then extended their lead to over 20 seconds by the finish.
In order to allow for the sharing of hulls between the 2nd and 3rd boats and the 5th and 6th boats of Berkshire, Pomfret scheduled the 2nd boat race early in the day. In the second boat race the crew of Richard Riegel, Juan Escobar, Peter Dunn, Sam Friedman and coxswain Josiah Tolvo found more of their true speed after last Saturday’s rough outing. The crew pushed out to a couple seat lead by the 500 meter mark, but Pomfret, a school that has represented well at the NEIRA championship in recent years, would not be so easily beaten. They battled back to pull even as the crews passed the docks that marked the final 400 meters. In a close battle, Pomfret’s catches were a hair quicker all around than Berkshire’s, which resulted in Pomfret claiming a 3.4 second win over Berkshire. Although not a victory, the second boat showed much more promise Wednesday and will look to push the first boat in practice as they continue to make improvements each day.
At the 4th boat level the crews were evenly matched. Barely a second separated Berkshire from Pomfret over the nearly mile long race. The boys from Berkshire had a little extra fuel in their fire from their loss Saturday though, and that allowed the combination of Jake Elowitz, Colin Fuss, Jake McLanahan, Derrick Burt and coxswain Ben Lang to hold off a hard charge from Pomfret in the closing strokes. While happy with the win, the crew shared that they had a number of mis-strokes over the course that presents an opportunity for even more speed in upcoming races if they can iron those out.
The 1st boat race at any NEIRA regatta always has fans for both sides cheering heartily at what is usually a tight and fast race. Wednesday did not disappoint, as both Pomfret and Berkshire attacked what had become rough conditions in the tailwind. Looking to improve on their 5:20 time from their first race, the Berkshire Bears were wholly focused in their boat working on the quick catches that will be essential come championship season. Pomfret’s 1st boat handled the gusting cross-tailwind a bit better over the first 1000 meters, gaining a hair of open water on Berkshire, but Lars Robinson, Roy Faigenbaum, Wil Knight, Dylan O’Connor and coxswain Nick Asaro clawed back in the closing sprint to gain 2 seats and have stroke to bow overlap as they crossed the line. Pomfret finished with a fast time of 5:06.3 pushed hard by Berkshire’s 5:08.4.
Having split the first four races of the day, the Pomfret/Berkshire dual would be decided at the 5th boat level. Both Berkshire’s 5th and 6th boats would compete against Pomfret’s 5th since Pomfret did not field a 6th boat for Wednesday’s racing. Borrowing the 2nd and 3rd boats shells, as the two Berkshire boats train mostly in an 8+ due to a fleet size that hasn’t kept up with participation, the crews hit the water and lined up on either side of the Pomfret 5th boat. Off the line the 6th boat of Gerry Gimenez Valdes, Alex Dechellis, Peter Giordano, Rad Savage and guest coxswain Kevin Kim took a lead on all other crews by nearly a boat length. Once settled into their rhythm however, the 5th boat of Max Beauroyre Hofmann, James Donovan, Will MacClarence, Devon Kessler and double duty coxswain Josiah Tolvo went to work and pulled even with long steady strokes. Once the passed the 6th boat, they didn’t look back, putting open water between them and the field. The final result had Berkshire’s 5th boat crossing the line in a time of 5:48.7, Berkshire’s 6th boat in second place with a time of 6:06.3 and Pomfret’s 5th boat in third with a time of 6:28.9. The victory for the 5th boat was especially sweet as it sealed a 3-2 victory for Berkshire in the competitive dual meet.
Next on the racing schedule is the Founder’s Day Regatta on May 5th where Berkshire will have its hand full when large top flight programs from across the region and country descend on Lake Waramaug for the prestigious race. The Bears will look to continue to gain speed each day in preparation for the tough out of division opponents.