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Lake Quinsagamond
Lake Quinsagamond

On Saturday, May 25, the Taft crew team raced in the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association championship regatta on Lake Quinsigamond, in Worcester, MA. The weather for the morning heats was just about perfect – sunny, with only a light breeze from the south. For the afternoon finals, the sun remained strong and the breeze picked up to become a fairly substantial headwind for the crews who raced at the end of the day.

The third-varsity crew started off the racing for the boys’ team at 9:00 a.m. Coxswain Carter Amaden ’21 led a boat which included Coleman Grustas ’22, Will de Luca ’21, Eli Frank ’22, and Tim Broadbent ’21. This crew of hardy souls had put in a solid week of practice, showing great promise and demonstrating why they belonged in the championship regatta. The Rhinos got off to a good start in their race in the first fifteen strokes, but discovered that they were not alone – with Deerfield, Nobles, and Northfield Mount Hermon in their heat, our boys found themselves down by a length by the 500-meter mark of the contest. Although they battled valiantly, the competition in this regatta proved relentless and unforgiving, and our boys finished in sixth place.

Taft’s second-varsity crew consisted of Sean Dunbar ’20, Stone Fenton ’20, Scott Williams ’21, and Alex Robertson ’20, and was led with competence and confidence by coxswain Veronica Baum ’21. To the untrained eye, it would seem as though the Rhinos enjoyed a solid start to their race, but to those in the boat, the first twenty-five strokes were not as assertive as they had been in previous races. Taft was nonetheless in good position after 500 meters, sitting behind the Belmont Hill crew who would win the heat, and within half a length of their counterparts from Northfield Mount Hermon. The NMH boys managed to gain a couple of seats on the boys in the red boat during the middle part of the race, and that advantage proved decisive. The Rhinos threw in a valiant sprint in the final 250 meters, but could only recover half of the distance which they had given up earlier, and thus had to settle for third place and a spot in the Petite Finals. In that afternoon contest, our boys reasserted themselves right from the opening “Go!” command, taking a half-deck lead within the first ten strokes, a lead which they would never relinquish. In this race, the Rhinos fully committed themselves to the middle 500 meters and put the hurt on the other crews, all of whom were worthy opponents who gave the last full measure in this final race of the season. In the end, it was only the crew from BB&N who were able to take a run at the Taft boat, but try as they might, they couldn’t crack the determination of our heroes. It is to their great credit that the Taft 2V came back from a disappointing result in the heats to win this most difficult of races, the Petite Finals – a character-building race, to be sure.

The first-varsity boat saw the return of coxswain Avery Hamilton ’21, along with rowers Beckett Fine ’20, Henry Bartol ’20, Chuck Warren ’20, and Liam Shannon ’20. As is expected at this championship regatta, the pace was a blistering one right from the opening stroke. Usually a quick-starting boat, the Rhino’s 1V shell could not find a good rhythm off the line and instead found themselves down quickly, falling a length back of the leading boats by the 500 meter mark. Our boys worked heroically to regain some of those lost meters in the middle of the race, and did manage to keep in contention for an afternoon race. Another strength of this boat has been its sprint over the final 250 meters of a race; today, though, the lads from Watertown never quite achieved the unity and the swing that had made them a threat to all nearby crews in previous contests. Despite a valiant effort, the first-varsity crew missed an afternoon race by less than a second.

Kudos go to the girls’ crew team, whose third boat earned a bronze medal in the 3V Grand Final, and whose 1V won the Petite Final race.

The full slate of races can be viewed on the NEIRA YouTube channel. Complete results are available on

Many thanks to all of our supporters this season!