Shortly after arriving at the Andover Boathouse in Methuen, Mass., on Saturday, Isabella Berkeley ’15 took a black marker and wrote “NTTE” (short for “Not This Time, Exeter”) on the back of her left shoulder. Her fellow G1 rowers—Vienna Kuhn ’16, Julia Marcus ’15, Cara Cavanaugh ’15, Lane Unsworth ’15, Co-Captain Elizabeth Kemp ’15, Co-Captain Qiqi Ren ’15 and Charlotte Chazen ’15—joined her in writing this symbol on their shoulders.
Andover Girls Crew followed through on its goal, as both G1 and G2 left Phillips Exeter Academy in their wake.
“‘NTTE’ was the physical and symbolic reminder of that hard work, and a reminder for the team to not only row for ourselves, but for the other G1 crews before us,” said Berkeley.
The Andover G1 had trumped the Exeter G1 earlier this season at Lake Quinsigamond, but had not defeated Exeter at home since 2010. G2 and G3 shared the ambition to beat their opponent.
Andover’s G3, which featured a lineup of Claire Glover ’16, Anna Zimmer ’17, Alex-Maree Roberts ’16, Adrienne Allen ’16, Marina Folz ’15, Elizabeth Duserick ’16, Alessandra Allen ’16, Lauryn Roberts ’17 and coxswain Grace Hannam ’17, lost to Exeter by just five seconds, finishing with a time of 5:42.
G2, which lost to Exeter last year by 11 seconds, also looked for a victory in this year’s rematch.
The G2 lineup featured Sam Hawley ’16, Fiona Yonkman ’16, Amanda Krakauer ’15, Evelyn Mesler ’17, Lila Brady ’18, Liz Irvin ’17, Claire Tao ’16 and Sofie Brown ’18 rowing and Katie Santoro ’15 as coxswain. G2 beat out Exeter by just two seconds in 5:35, triumphantly redeeming its previous loss.
Finally, the eight girls in G1 geared up to race in their regular pre-race huddle, discussing strategy and mentally priming themselves for one of their most important races. G1 coxswain Janet Conklin ’17 said “Like Coach [Dale] Hurley says, all we need is to overlap by the sprint, and we can walk through anyone.”
After the huddle, the girls took the new “Kathryn Lucier Green” shell down to the water and rowed it down to the start line. The race opened with the two teams neck-and-neck, each fighting to take the lead.
“The start was very strong and together,” said Conklin. “We were immediately locked on with the first stroke and everyone was focusing on moving our boat and not about what other boats were doing. Within the first 20 strokes, we had about a length up on Exeter.”
This initial momentum continued throughout the race. Kuhn said, “We passed the 1000-Meter mark, and that was when you could first start to hear the crowds. We had a [boat] length [lead] on Exeter, and we just didn’t give it up. We knew that we were so close to something big.”
Andover ended up winning the race, becoming the first G1 to beat Exeter at home in five years.
Berkeley said, “When we crossed the finish line ahead of Exeter, exhausted, hot and with our muscles on fire, we knew we had stopped being individuals in the boat and become one entity capable of victory. We trusted each other, were vulnerable together and carried one another across the finish line.”
Hurley added, “I was especially proud of our boats on Saturday, because whether they won or lost, they fought the whole way. In G1, we tried a new method in ‘bucket-rigging,’ where we put our four and five seats, [Cavanaugh] and [Unsworth], on the starboard side of the boat, as opposed to having one port and one starboard. This generated a lot of power and helped our boat coast to victory.”
Girls Crew will gear up in practice this week to face off against Hingham for its last home race on Saturday.
“I really am impressed at our progress this season, and I am excited to see what these next two Saturdays will bring us,” Hurley continued.