On Saturday Oct. 30, the Amherst women’s crew team traveled east to Worcester, Mass. to compete in the Wormtown Chase Regatta, medaling in two of their three events.
The day started early for the rowers, as the team departed from Amherst at 5:50 a.m. en route to their first competition in nearly two years. Upon arrival, the misty, cold, and wet conditions were anything but pleasant.
The Mammoths sent four boats on the water, entering one into the Collegiate 4+ race, one in the Collegiate 8+ competition, and two into the Collegiate 8+ Novice contest.
The Collegiate 4+ boat featured Zoe Levin ’23, Tiana Hamamoto ’22, Eden Martinez ’23, and Captain Gavi Forman ’22, led by Captain Amaya Smole ’22 in the coxswain seat. After a grueling race in the rain, the squad came in second place, leaving their competitors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and Clark University more than a full minute behind with a time of 23:28.396.
According to Levin, the team’s second-place finish marked an exciting surprise. “We were definitely the underdogs and we did shockingly well. It was actually such a dope moment to see us cross the finish line in second place. There was a lot of adrenaline and it was the best feeling watching the rest of the team cheer us on,” Levin said.
Six boats registered for the Collegiate 8+ Novice race. Amherst and WPI each put two teams on Lake Quinsigamond and Clark and Conn College filled out the rest of the field. The majority of the Mammoths in this race had no rowing experience. Lucy Merickel ’23 and Cayla Weiss ’23, who were on the team in 2019, led the way on the first boat, surrounded by Carla Mattaliano ’24, Isabel Davis ’24, Julia Woodword ’24, Gillian Campbell ’24, Ellie Kerns ’24, Fiona Anstey ’24, and Brooke Alexander ’24.
Merickel and Weiss’s boat began second in the race’s staggered start, with the team chasing WPI’s A-boat from the onset. By the time the Mammoths crossed the finish line, they had cut WPI’s initial headstart in half, knowing they had bested at least one opponent. Soon, however, the squad found out they had won the race outright.
Weiss attributes the win to a strong season of fall practices. “The focus of most of our practices has been working on timing and keeping the boat balanced. Considering the less than ideal weather conditions, it worked very well and everyone was doing their part,” Weiss said.
She also emphasized that the chemistry on the boat was special during the 22-minute race. “There was great atmosphere on the boat the entire way through, and it was a fun surprise to win. Everyone was doing a really good job supporting one another. The captains Gavi and Amaya have done a great job fostering a great community on the team,” Weiss continued.
The team will compete next in the spring semester as they look to build on their dual-medal fall performance.