To Close Out the Fall Season, MHS Rowing Team Persevered at 2023 "States" Fall Championships
While most were still in bed trying to stay warm and dry on Sunday morning, the Medford High School Rowing team was on the Merrimack River competing in the Massachusetts Public School Regatta Association (MPSRA) Fall Championships held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal, the team was ready to compete against the other 12 schools attending this year's championship.
The first races of the day were the sculling events. Both the Boys Second and Third boats came together to row in an 8-person boat rigger for 8 scullers (known as an Oct). Meaning, two teams of 4 combined to make one team of 8 oarsmen, only now, each rower had two oars (for sculling) instead of one (for sweeping).
The race started off great, but as the boats made their way down the river, the weather conditions worsened. With increasing wind and rain, it became harder for the teams to race. Although they tried their best, the boat wasn’t able to find a rhythm which was a sign of things to come for the races that followed.
The next race was the Boys Doubles. For this race, the Boys First Varsity Four team broke out into pairs. Racing in a brand new double, the First Varsity Double was racing together for the first time since last spring. But just like the Oct before them, the double ran into a little trouble. This time in the form of a broken rigger. While they were disappointed, they were amazingly able to place 5th out of 7 boats. While the Second Varsity Double, rowing for the first time, with very limited practice finished 6th out of 7 boats.
Following the sculling races were the Boys 4’s. The first two MHS Rowing boats to race were the First and Second Novice Fours. Similar to the boats before them, the First Novice Boys fell victim to a broken rigger, preventing them from rowing at full strength. They ultimately finished two minutes out of third place, but twenty seconds faster than last year's Novice Four.
After the First Novice Four completed their race, it was now time for the Second Novice Four to race. This was their first time racing together on the same boat, along with a brand new coxswain with two days' experience. Their only previous racing experience was competing in an eight with the First Novice Four.
Next up was the Varsity Boys, who had all raced earlier in the day in the sculling events. At this point, they were all rested and ready to race again! The first race was the Boy's First Varsity Four. Filled with all MHS Seniors, they were ready to prove that a boat from a small school could compete against the larger schools. Unfortunately, they placed 7th out of 8 boats, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. Their time improved by almost two minutes from last year, they raced their fastest race of the season and they were thirty seconds from third place. We were all extremely satisfied with the results.
Next up was the Second Varsity boat. Comprised of two senior rowers (including one that had not rowed in 2 years), a sophomore, and a novice rower. This group raced their best race of the season, missing third place by 10 seconds. They were also extremely satisfied with their result.
The last Boys race of the day was the Boys Third Varsity Four, consisting of three sophomores and a freshman. They too started off great, but in keeping with the rough theme of the day, the boat's steering broke and they hit a rock. Not wanting to give up, they continued the race as best as they could and made it to the finish line.
The biggest, and most exciting, surprise of the day was the Girls Double. With an extremely small team this Fall season (only two girls), they focused on learning to scull. The duo was extremely competitive this season, but before Sunday's regatta, the team still didn't know what to expect. Well, they surprised everyone by securing First Place! The Girls 2X have been chasing Lowell High School all season, and they were determined to close the gap. Starting as the second boat, and Lowell as the third, the girls were able to hold off Lowell every time they tried to catch the girls. This was their most complete race holding off Lowell by 4 seconds to secure the top spot!
(Results from all the races are posted HERE)
Overall, this has been one of MHS Crew's most successful seasons:
We were able to medal in three out of four competitions
We were invited to compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta
Earned a medal in the Fall Championship.
The program will build on these great experiences, lessons, and successes as we look ahead to, and prepare for, the Spring 2024 season.
Thank you to all our rowers for working hard and taking chances. To our coaching staff, we are grateful for your dedication to all our student athletes. And, finally, to our MHS Rowing families for volunteering to support this event and that includes everyone involved in logistics and food preparation --- with a very special THANKS to Arianna and Peggy for breakfast (Gwen and Emma's families, respectively) and OBRIGADO to the Matos family (Henry's family) for, once again, providing a delicious (and warm) Brasilian BBQ for everyone.
There is A LOT to look forward to in Spring!