WORCESTER -- On an exquisite Saturday on Lake Quinsigamond, WPI Women's Rowing's varsity eight took another step in defending its NCAA Division III national championship with an outstanding performance at the New England Championships.
Utilizing a typical championship heat/finals progression, the Engineers found themselves in a morning heat with a pair of Division I crews that haven't appeared at New England's in recent years. WPI logged an impressive second place showing with the third best overall morning time of 6:39.35, behind MIT (6:29.68) but ahead of city foe Holy Cross (6:41.4) as well as Bowdoin (6:49.85), Middlebury (6:53.71), Conn College (7:03.55) and Simmons (7:08.92).
In the late afternoon finals, the Crimson and Gray, ranked sixth in most recent Pocock CRCA Division III Top 15, rowed strong, clocking a time of 6:49.51 to place fourth. MIT (6:38.04) was victorious with No. 1 Wellesley close behind (6:41.50). No. 3 Bates kept WPI from bronze with a time of 6:46.85 but the Boynton Hillers avenged an earlier loss to No. 2 Tufts (6:52.17), who was fifth Saturday, and No. 8 Smith, who had upset No. 3 Williams in the heats by 0.13 seconds to reach the grand final was sixth in a time of 6:57.47.
The other two Engineer entries Saturday earned spots in their respective petite finals. The 2V reached the final buoys in a time of 7:02.71 in the morning en route to a fourth-place performance before clocking a time of 7:03.57 in the afternoon to finish third. Williams (6:59.93) won the petite final while 2-5 was tightly bunched, separated by 0.56 seconds with WPI extracting some revenge on Bowdoin after the Polar Bears bested the Crimson and Gray earlier in the heats.
The 3V had a great row in the afternoon, shaving about nine seconds off its morning piece. The Engineers were second overall, and first among Division III crews, in the petite final with a time of 7:25.34 after reaching Regatta Point in a time of 7:34.11 in the morning.
WPI turns its attention to next week's National Invitational Rowing Championships, which is Friday on Lake Quinsigamond.
Logan Rinaldi (Rumford, RI) - coxswain
Maren Cork (Seattle, WA)
Megan Tupaj (Amherst, NH)
Maggie Kirwan (Wolfeboro, NH)
Lilly Earley (Candia, NH)
Caitlin Kean (Shrewsbury, MA)
Alexa Freglette (Staten Island, NY)
Jules Prisco (Pelham, NY)
Kathryn Woodland (Boxford, MA)
Second Varsity Eight
Emily Howard (Riverside, RI) - coxswain
Caroline Jaeger (Fort Montgomery, NY)
Samantha Arroyas (Uxbridge, MA)
Nicole Miller (Hanover, MA)
Madison Gass (Barrington, NH)
Abigail Poole (Albany, NY)
Isabel Nearing (Cochecton, NY)
Sofia Eckerson (Derry, NH)
Sunny Kang (Brookline, MA)
Third Varsity Eight
Jaya Mills (Wayland, MA) - coxswain
Malyssa Deranian (Windham, NH)
Mara DeCesare (East Greenwich, RI)
Skyler Dooley (Madison, CT)
Eleanor Brown (Vassalboro, ME)
Calista Carrignan (West Haven, CT)
Leah Johnson (Bridgewater, MA)
Ryan Dillon (Rutland, MA)
Ilyssa Delizo (New City, NY)