The Andover Boys Crew team, ready to turn its season around, headed out to the Merrimack river to take on Tabor and their counterparts, Exeter. The rowers paid no attention to the small headwind on the river and devoted all of their efforts towards defeating a tough Exeter team. The B1 crew sped off at an early blistering pace of 43 strokes per minute, more than seven strokes per minute faster than the average rate, and soon after they settled back down into a base rate of 36spm. Jasper Perkins ’04 explained, “Before last weekend, our base rating was 34.5, and we rode against Exeter at a 36. The week before we had practiced rowing at a higher rate consistently.” Even with the quick start, Andover found themselves five seats behind the Exeter boat. Andover however, began walking in the second 500 meters. The conservative base rate of 36spm kept the rowers fresh for their first walk of the race. Sarah Sherman ’04 called for a power ten at the 800-meter mark, and the Big Blue pulled five seats ahead of Exeter. With only the final sprint left in the race, and with much motivation from Sherman ’04, the eight Andover rowers began to “empty the tank.” The all-out sprint to the finish was enough to fend off a gaining Exeter boat, and Andover won narrowly by a mere 0.7 seconds, by far the closest race in years. Kyle Davies ’05 said of the race, “After the sprint everyone on the boat just collapsed. But we were all in high spirits because we had pulled well and beat Exeter.” Andover came through with the win at 4:44.8, Exeter followed at the two seed with a time of 4:45.5, and Tabor brought up the rear with a time 4:55.6. The last sprint was the key to Andover’s victory. The final blistering pace was due in large part to the hard work the boys had put in during the week leading up to the race. Said coach Washburn, “We worked very hard on the sprints over the week, and it paid off. We were barely able to pull it out solely because of the sprint.” Winning this race was crucial for the Andover B1 team. Kyle Davies ’05 noted, “This was a huge victory for Andover. We have moved people around in the boat almost constantly since the first race but we finally found a winning combination. I think this will give us a lot of confidence to pull faster in the last two races of the season.” B2 maintained the Andover sweep by beating Exeter by a solid second and half. Andover’s B2 finished with a time of 4:51.9, while Exeter lagged behind at 4:53.0. Going out hard, the boys were worried they would lose their momentum. “It was at 600 meters when I was afraid we would start dropping back,” said Justin Yi ’06, “but once we heard the crowd, we knew we were close and that we would not give up our lead to a gaining Exeter boat.” Former rower Taylor Washburn ’03 said of B2’s fast start, “I honestly thought that those boys were going to die. They were racing a quite a high rate.” B2 however rose to the challenge and maintained its lead. Beaming with confidence after beating their archrivals, the Andover Varsity Boys Crew team prepares for next Saturday when they face a good test versus Northfield Mount Hermon home on the Merrimack River.