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Rowing surges into the spring season at the Cayuga Duels

Maddy Tanzman
from left, sophomore Bryce Williston, junior James Ross, junior Griffin Hunt, senior Wesley Hoglin, first-year student Nolyn Boswell and first-year student Max Detzer of the first varsity eight row alongside Hobart College.

The Ithaca College women’s and men’s rowing teams squared off with multiple New York state foes at the Cayuga Duels on March 30 at the Cayuga Inlet. 

After being out of the water since Nov. 4, 2023 where they competed at the Touchdown Regatta, both teams plunged back into competition against Hamilton University, Marietta College, Hobart College and William Smith College. 

The men started out the day against the Statesmen in the first of two first team, varsity eight races. The Bombers got off to an iffy start and trailed the Statesmen out of the gate and by the time they made it through the first quarter of their run, they were about a boat’s length behind. This maintained into the homestretch as the teams passed the lookout. The Statesmen and Bombers yelled to each other for motivation as they approached the finish line, with the Statesmen screaming “They’re done” while the Bombers attempted to motivate screaming “This is what we’ve dreamt about!” Nonetheless, the Statesmen took control of the race from the get go and won the opener with a time of 6:45.2.

The women’s team followed with their first of two varsity eight races. The boat got off to an equally iffy start against the Herons, but by the time the boats were passing under the Cliff Street bridge, the Bombers pushed their way ahead of the Herons and never looked back. By the time the Bombers made it to the Taughannock Blvd Bridge, they were more than a boat’s length ahead of the Herons to pick up their first win of the spring season with a time of 7:58.5 to 8:15.1. 

The men’s second varsity eight also had its struggles. In a race against the Statesmen, the Bombers opened up trailing, but by the time the boats reached the Cliff Street Bridge, the Bombers had valiantly fought back and were tailing the Statesmen. Despite the effort, the Bombers would end up finishing 12 seconds behind the Statesmen.

The next two races would belong to the women, but they could not finish as efficiently as the first team varsity eight. The women’s third team varsity eight could not keep up with the Continentals out of the gate and could not make the comeback, losing by 28.6 seconds. The women’s 4V4 would be a closer battle, with the Bombers trailing but always maintaining a striking distance. Unfortunately, the team could not strike and fell by a 10.2 second margin.

The women’s team opened up their second first team varsity eight race in the W1V vs the Continentals. The Continentals began ahead of the Bombers by just a nose. The Bombers battled through the adversity of being down in the early stages and emerged from under the Cliff Street bridge slightly ahead of the Continentals. This lead grew until the Bombers had passed their boathouse and were about a boat’s length ahead of the Continentals. This would be the Bombers biggest comeback of the day and resulted in a 9.6 second victory.

From left, sophomore Caroline Hoskins, graduate student Taylor Volmrich, junior Lily Babcock, graduate student Laura Trainor, junior Maggie Farber and senior Erin Trojan row. (Maddy Tanzman)

Women’s rowing head coach Becky Robinson ’88 said she was proud of the varsity eight’s two wins and said their ability to maintain their confidence and emotion improved as the day went on.

“In terms of the varsity eight performance, that was a great result for them, but even better than the result was the fact that they had the opportunity to be side-by-side with another crew for the first half of the race,” Robinson said. “In the first race, they didn’t really feel like they maintained their composure and they got a little bit riled up. That was the goal of the second race and they came in off the second race and they just felt like they nailed that part of it. Then for the race to unfold in our favor just helps to build their confidence.”

Unfortunately for the women, this would be the second and last victory of the day. The women’s third team varsity four would finish second to the Continentals and the women’s second varsity eight would finish in third place behind the Continentals and the Herons. 

The men’s team would not fare much better in their final races but in their final varsity eight race, the team lost to the Continentals by the narrowest margin of the day. The Bombers and Continentals were just about even the entire way but the Bombers could not break by and lost by just 2.8 seconds. The men would finish out their races in second of three for the M2V and third place in the M4.

Men’s rowing head coach Justin Stangel said the team has found out a little about themselves and that he is proud of how valiantly the team fought against tough opponents like the Statesmen and Continentals.

“I would have liked to see the gap close a little bit against Hobart, but I thought we raced pretty well for the first 2K this spring and I think them and Hamilton have quality crews,” Stangel said. “And we knew that Hamilton was going to be pretty tight. We could have won that by half a length, but unfortunately we lost by half and I thought the guys raced tough, we just didn’t have that final gear to reel them in at the end.”

Stangel said that the team will learn from this first race and that the focus has to be improving the efficiency of the team.

We’ve talked a lot about, within each boat, establishing a better race pace,” Stangel said. “I think our start is pretty good right now, which is nice to have, but being aggressive and efficient and I think that being efficient has got to be the change kind of going into RIT and Rochester next weekend. It’s going to be another good round of competition and I think the guys will be ready to come back to practice Monday and put in the work to prep for the next round.”

Robinson said she realized the women’s team was not getting off to the start as well as they would have liked during the races. Robinson said this and the team’s composure will be focal points in training for the team’s next meet on April 6

“One of the things I’d like to work on is getting off the start a little bit quicker because we were behind on both starts and that was something we were really good at last year,” Robinson said. “I think we need to put a focus on that and then I want to keep building off of the idea of just staying confident and staying composed and using that. At the end of the season, we’ll be in races that, it’s not just 700 meters or 1000 — it‘ll be 2000 meters. They’re gonna have to keep tapping into that and it’s hard to practice that, so I just want to keep practicing that in these early races and I think if we do it well and we keep improving on it, we’re gonna have good outcomes.”

The men’s and women’s rowing squads will next compete at 10 a.m. April 6 at the Cayuga Inlet against the Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Rochester and an additional rematch with the Herons for the women’s team.

2024 Women’s Cayuga Duels Lineups
First varsity eight

Coxswain: sophomore Caroline Hoskins

8. graduate student Taylor Volmrich

7. junior Lily Babcock

6. graduate student Laura Trainor

5. junior Maggie Farber

4. senior Erin Trojan

3. sophomore Kai Linke

2. sophomore Samantha Gallagher

1. senior Emma Hammel

Second varsity eight

Coxswain: junior Nicole De La Mota

8. senior Emma Anderson

7. senior Chloe Croft

6. sophomore Anna Capodilupo

5. junior Ashley Bailey

4. junior Paradis-Stern

3. senior Melanie Belmont

2. first-year student Julia DisCostanzo

1. sophomore Emmeline Robinson

Third varsity eight

Coxswain: first-year student Haley Beckford

8. sophomore Emma Thorne

7. first-year student Carys Owen

6. first-year student Joanna Morales

5. first-year student Emmi Chen

4. sophomore Winifred Kanayo-Ezenwata

3. sophomore Emily Murphy

2. junior Skylar Moresi

1. sophomore Hope Oliveira

Novice 4x

Coxswain: senior Aubren Villasenor

4. first-year student Sarah Chraibi

3. senior Meghan Bell

2. first-year student Payton Fisch

1. sophomore Brandi Landis

2024 Men’s Cayuga Duels Lineups
First varsity eight

Coxswain: junior Miles Kenaston

8. first-year student Rhys Pellaton

7. junior Riley Maynard

6. sophomore Bryce Williston

5. junior James Ross

4. junior Griffin Hunt

3. senior Wesley Hoglin

2. first-year student Nolyn Boswell

1. first-year student Max Detzer

Second varsity eight

Coxswain: senior Caroline Grass

8. first-year student Marshall Adams

7. sophomore Ethan Revis

6. junior Caleb Grassi

5. first-year student Nico Greenberg

4. first-year student Brodie Hart

3. first-year student Tynan Fields

2. junior Jonah Alefantis

1. Senior Maxwell Vallino

Varsity four

Coxswain: sophomore Sami Smith

4. sophomore Cameron Strong

3. first-year student James Pittard

2. first-year student Henry Hersperger

1. sophomore Cameron Stanford

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