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Women’s lightweight rowing 8+ wins gold at the Head of the Charles

Princeton rowing teams traveled to Boston this past weekend to participate in the Head of the Charles, the largest two-day regatta in the world.

<h5>Picture of the Princeton boat house</h5>
<h6>Photo via GoPrincetonTigers.com</h6>
Picture of the Princeton boat house
Photo via GoPrincetonTigers.com

Princeton rowing teams traveled to Boston this past weekend to participate in the Head of the Charles, the largest two-day regatta in the world.

The men’s heavyweight crew sent a 4+ and an 8+ boat, with both boats securing top-10 finishes in their respective Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships. The 4+, stroked by junior James Quinlan, placed fifth overall (16:20.679), but third collegiately behind Dartmouth and Cornell. The winner of the men’s championship 4+ was a US Training Center boat featuring alumnus Andrew LeRoux ’20. The 8+, stroked by junior Floyd Benedikter, finished eighth (14:23.345), following the University of Washington, Dartmouth, Yale, Harvard, Syracuse, Brown, and Northeastern.

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The women’s open crew was represented by one 4+ and two 8+ boats. The 4+, stroked by sophomore Emma Cavendish, finished eighth (19:00.166), and sixth amongst collegiate boats. The first place boat featured Kelsey Reelick ’14 in the stroke seat. As for the 8+ championship, the 2V, stroked by sophomore Klara Thiele, placed 12th (16:40.549). The 1V boat, stroked by sophomore Lucy Koven, had an impressive second-place finish (15:48.090) behind Stanford. One of the boats behind the Princeton 1V was Rowing Canada Aviron, which was composed almost entirely by the Canadian gold-medal winning team in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We are very excited to have a full team and get back to racing this fall & spring,“ said junior Camille Vandermeer, a member of the second place women’s openweight boat. “The freshmen have already made a big impact on the team, and it will be exciting to see how the rest of the season progresses.”

The men’s lightweight crew sent two 8+ boats to the Head of the Charles, with both entries finishing in the top-five. The second boat, stroked by senior Henry Vecchione, placed fifth (14:48.284). The first boat, stroked by senior George Dickinson, finished third (14:43.485), trailing behind only Yale and Cornell. 

Finally, the women’s lightweight crew was represented by a 4+ and an 8+ boat. The 4+, stroked by junior Camille Boylan, placed third (19:34.387), putting the Tigers behind only MIT and Boston University. The 8+ overwhelmed the competition, securing a gold medal (16:37.246) and beating the second-place boat, Georgetown, by nearly 20 seconds. Junior stroke Sarah Polson, freshman Cecilia Sommerfeld, sophomore Kalena Blake, senior Rebecca Mays, sophomore Lily Feinerman, sophomore Anella Lefebvre, sophomore Bonnie Pushner, senior Daisy Devore, and junior coxswain Margaret Murphy comprised the championship-winning boat. 

Murphy gushed about her boat afterwards, and recounted the exhilaration after the race: “I am so incredibly proud of my team. It was exhilarating to race the Head of the Charles. For me, though, the most nerve-wracking part was not even the race itself but rather the anticipation of hearing the results after finishing. As we pulled into the dock, our coach just held up one finger to let us know that we had finished in first place. The sheer joy that came over all nine of us is a moment that I will never forget.”

The Tigers will host its 13th annual Princeton Chase at Lake Carnegie on Sunday, Nov. 7.

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Lizzie Evanko is a contributor in the sports section. She can be reached at eevanko@princeton.edu.

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