Final Spring Launches Boys Crew Past NMH

After last year’s drubbing of Northfield Mount Hermon, the Andover B1 crew team headed into its match feeling confident. The setting seemed perfect for another win: the sky was blue, the sun was out and there was a slight tailwind. However, NMH proved to be more of a match than Andover expected. Concerning the race, Andover rower Di Wu ’04 remarked, “We were too relaxed. We didn’t think that NMH was much of a threat. We weren’t in the right mindset.” NMH managed to keep the race close the entire way. Andover came out strong in the first 500 meters. Stroke Jasper Perkins ’04 led the boat off the starting line at 42 strokes per minute and the entire B1 crew prepared themselves to pull away early and finish off NMH in the first 500. B1 produced a slight lead and settled into a rating at 35 spm pace. By the second 500 meters, the crew was leading by almost one length. Still feeling confident, the boat continued to maintain its rate at 36spm pace. However, NMH then began to walk back. Captain Garret Kirk ‘04 commented, “We began to feel frustrated and panicked because after our power 15 (the last 15 hard strokes that finish the first 500 meters of the race, which is meant to produce a lead over the other boat) we didn’t create much of a lead. When NMH started to gain on us entering the last 500 we buckled down and finally raced to our abilities.” With the two boats separated by only a few seats, Andover’s eight boys finally awoke and began to slowly distance themselves again from NMH. The boys boosted their stroke rating of 36 spm to a final sprint at 40 spm. Travis Green ’04 recalled, “During the race we had expected to move out ahead really early, but we ended up staying with them the entire race. It made us tense and we felt rushed. During sprint we were all thinking how we could not lose to NMH.” The final sprint locked up the race, and Andover knew that they had dodged a bullet. The final times were as follows: Andover crossed in 4:59.8 to Northfield Mount Hermon’s 5:01.7. This win was Andover Boys Crew’s second consecutive victory. Once again, a strong final sprint helped Andover pull out a tight victory. The previous week on the Merrimack River, Andover edged out a tough Exeter team by less than one second, thanks in large part to a blistering sprint. Kirk said, “The whole week before at practice we focused on finishes. It has helped us the last two races, especially two weeks ago against Exeter.” The strong finishes and its winning streak have boosted B1’s confidence, as they head into Interschols on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester. Andover is seeded fourth out of 17 teams. B2 continued its winning ways with another easy win, this time over NMH. Boat two rowed a strong race and finished a good five lengths, or 20 seconds, ahead of its opponents. The start was all Andover needed, as they quickly pulled a full length ahead. The stroke rating at the start was 40-41spm and settled off at 36 during the end of the first 500 and into the middle 500. Ben Elkins ’04 commented on the race: “We rowed hard the whole way, but the large lead made it tough to keep up the intensity.” B2 did, however, manage to keep the intensity up, and on the last sprint the cadence was at 38spm. Elkins again noted: “It’s good to have a sound win to finish the season. It’s a great confidence boost heading into Interschols.” B2 is ranked third entering Interschols. Next week brings the culmination of the entire crew season: Interschols. B1, ranked fourth, only behind St. Paul’s, Kent, and St. John’s, prepare to race against St. John’s and NMH in the first heat. Perkins predicts a tough first race. “NMH will be out for blood because we just beat them, and St. John’s barely edged us at the beginning of the season. It will definitely be a very exciting heat.”