The New England Champions have been dethroned. Consider Interschols up for grabs. Last Saturday, Andover Crew took on the reigning NE Champions and archrivals from PEA. Despite losing to the Big Red three weeks prior at the Worcester Invitational on Lake Quinsigamond, Andover’s first boat put the crew from Exeter in their place this past weekend: behind Andover. The JV boats, however, did not fair as well as the Varsity squad, as the second and third boats both fell victim to the Big Red rowers by no more than a boat length. The first boat race was the most exciting race of the Andover rowers’ respective careers. After struggling with its start throughout the 2003 spring season, Andover came off the line in front by as much as three seats. Andover remained ahead, in fact for the entire first 500-meters, as once the Blue settled into its standard 36 stroke per minute cadence, it went even better for the Blue. Tabor, however, made an early charge at the Blue. The Seawolves slowly crept up on the Blue in the first 500, and even after Andover’s 15-stroke move at the 500-meter mark, Tabor kept coming, and pulled up even with the Blue at 600-meters into the race. Finally, it seemed that Tabor, clearly outmatched by both Andover and Exeter, was a victim of its “fly and die” race plan, and at the 600, they died. Following Tabor’s run at the Blue, Exeter began to make their move, slowly eating away at Andover’s lead, and at the 800-meter mark, managed to pull within one seat of the still strong Andover crew. Coxswain Sarah Sherman ’04 knew just what to do and called for an extra five-stroke move to counter Exeter’s charge. Commented Sherman, “I thought it was the best thing to do under the circumstances. I didn’t want us to lose the lead.” Indeed, Sherman was correct in doing so, and the Blue charged away and reestablished their lead by the 900-meter mark. At the 1000, Andover made another 10-stroke move, and took another couple of seats on the Big Red. Finally, in the last 250-meters, the Blue put Exeter away. Three weeks earlier, it was Exeter who sprinted through a then inexperienced Andover B1. Saturday, however, it was the Andover, who would not let the Red pull the same trick twice. Andover, opened up a decisive lead in the last 250-meters of the race, and opened up its lead to six seats by the finish line, crossing in 4:30.6, a full two seconds ahead of Exeter’s 4:32.6, a three second turn-around from the narrow one second loss to Exeter. Tabor, hurt by its early charge fell to both Andover and Exeter in open water, crossing the line in 4:36.8. After the race, Four-seat Jake Ginsberg ’03 asserted, “We simply denied them in the sprint.” Two-seat Garrett Kirk ’04 agreed, “There was no way we were going to let them walk through us again.” Andover hoped to put together a perfect race on Saturday, and while they may have come close, Coach Peter Washburn was not entirely convinced. Said Washburn, “[B1] did a great job on Saturday, but I don’t think it was the best race [they] could have rowed this season.” He continued, “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We want our fastest race to be two weeks from now [at Interschols]. I don’t want to peak too early.” Indeed, while this race could be a foreshadowing of things to come, there are always surprises at Interschols, even if the Blue will go in ranked as the number one seed. In the second boat race, Exeter took command by the 500-meter mark, and never looked back, defeating B2 by just over a boat length, despite losing to Andover’s B2 three weeks earlier at Worcester by a similar margin. The loss was especially disheartening after losing to St. Paul’s one week earlier. After the race, seven-seat Jasper Perkins ’04 remarked, “St. Paul’s was supposed to be the wake-up call. This was like hitting the snooze button.” Even still, Andover crews have come back to top Exeter from further deficits to beat the Red, even this late in the season. B2 is therefore not out of the running by a long shot. The same should be said for B3, who could easily give Exeter a run for their money at May 24th’s New England Championships. The Blue will race once more before Interschols. Andover travels to NMH this weekend to race, and hopefully roast the Hoggers on the steamy waters of Northfield.