By Sam Taylor
Lowell, ORE-- Pioneer Crew competed in the last regatta of their regular season Saturday, taking on a variety of Division I, II, III, and club programs at the Covered Bridge Regatta. Another day of variable, gusting winds saw some good races and some challenging ones for the Pioneers.
The first two boats to race for Lewis & Clark were the Men's and Women's Varsity eights. The men's boat finished 5th in a five boat race, just behind conference rival Humboldt State. "The guys missed the start and never found a good rhythm," said Head Coach Sam Taylor, "It was a disappointing race and result after a couple really good practices this week. The biggest takeaway is that we think we can do better and are determined to get there."
The Women's Varstiy boat competed in an eight-boat race against a wide variety of competition, also finishing fifth. University of Portland won the event, with Division II powerhouses Western Washington and Humbolt State trailing, followed by Division I startup Seattle Universrity. The Pioneers had a solid race in the middle of the pack, placing ahead of DII conference rival Seattle Pacific, DI Santa Clara, and DIII rival Willamette.
The Pioneers also raced in the Women's Novice four, who placed second despite a mishap with a hundred meters left to row while leading the race. "The Novice Four was probably the most exciting race of the day," said Taylor, "Our boat and Humboldt traded the lead through the whole race, and the Pioneers had just passed HSU in the sprint again when we caught a crab (an oar was stuck in the water). The boat did a great job to recover and hold on to second, and I think they're looking forward to getting another crack at it."
The Pioneer men's Varsity Four had the opportunity to compete in the Championship Four event at the regatta, joining in on the dual race between Oregon State and defending National Champion University of Washington. Also in the race was conference rival Western Washinton. The Pioneers finished 4th in the race, recording a time well ahead of the other Varsity Four events on the day. "Our guys were eager to step up and it's not often you know- absolutely- that you're racing the best in the country. Washington and OSU generously opened their dual and regardless of the result the guys redeemed their row in the eight and had a really solid piece in challenging conditions. I think they learned a lot and we're looking forward to WIRA and Conference," said Taylor.
The Poioneers final two boats to race were the Women's Varsity and 2nd Varsity fours. Both were on the water warming up when the racing was suspended due to a storm cell blowing through; after an hour delay they launched again and were able to race, both finishing fourth.
The Pioneers have a bye weekend coming up, then open their championships season on April 27th and 28th at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in Rancho Cordova, CA. "It's time to get back to work and see what kind of speed we can find in the next two weeks," summed up Taylor, "The sucess of our season is judged on WIRA and Conference and we're excited to get to it."