52nd Head of the Charles
October 23, 2016
– After a competitive selection process, thirteen Michigan Men's Rowers travelled to Cambridge Massachusetts to compete in the 52nd annual Head of the Charles Regatta. The Michigan rowers entered into the collegiate Varsity 4+, Varsity 8+, and the Alumni 8+ event, which pitted each boat against other highly competitive rowing programs from the United States and around the world. The racing on Sunday was plagued by aggressive headwinds of at least 20 mph, which warranted one announcer to rightfully admit that no time records would be posted during this year’s race.
The Charles River course is approximately three miles (4800 meters) and weaves through scenic Cambridge Massachusetts. It is the home course of Universities such as Harvard, MIT, Boston College, and Wellesley, and is long considered to be one of the largest and most prestigious regatta sites in the world. Each year, nearly 300,000 spectators come out to witness the over 1900 boats race in 61 events.
The first collegiate race for Michigan rowers was the Varsity 4+, which featured Rose Lewis as Coxswain, Caleb Brown in stroke seat, Kevin Hinkle in 3 seat, Lake Vitton in 2 seat, and Gage Smith in Bow. After an aggressive start, the boat was poised to pass the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; however, upon approaching the Weeks Bridge, an oar collision forced the Michigan Men to pause and regain their set. Beset by the collision, the 4+ attempted to take a hawkish line after the bridge and incurred a time penalty. Overall, their raw time was recorded at 18:28.25.
Shortly after completing the Varsity 4+ event, the Michigan 8+ launched. The boat featured John Houghton as Coxswain, Jordan Shore as Stroke, Greg Miller in 7, John Wiegand in 6, Jake Presto in 5, Benjamin Sonnega in 4, Philip Faris in 3, Grey Braybrooks 2 and Colin Darnton in Bow. Maintaining a competitive base throughout the event, the 8+ completed the course with a time of 16:08.24, finishing only 13 seconds behind first place D.S.R.V. Laga from the Netherlands.
Along with an outstanding performance by the Michigan 1V, this year’s Alumni 8+ became the first Michigan Alumnus boat to win gold at the Head of the Charles Regatta. The boat featured Demi Shanahan (’16) as Cox, Tom Peszek (’07) as Stroke, Alex Brown (’16) in 7, William Burstein (’16) in 6, Alex Crawford (’14) in 5, Patch Ronald (’12) in 4, Benjamin Rebertus (’16) in 3, Mitchel Tyson (’16) in 2, and Jim Garay (’16) in Bow. In a field of 50 alumni crews, Michigan bested the likes of University of Washington, Brown, Georgetown, Navy, and Syracuse to take first with a time of 14:48.25.
The crews will rejoin the squad in Ann Arbor to train for the upcoming Bald Eagle Invitational.