Crew First and Second Varsity Eight Both Place First in Petite Final of WPI Invitational

Crew First and Second Varsity Eight Both Place First in Petite Final of WPI Invitational

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The Simmons University first and second varsity eights both won their respective Petite Final races this morning at the WPI Invitational on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. 

The Sharks first varsity eight posted a mark of 7:32.5 to edge Clark University by just under four seconds on the two-thousand meter course. Assumption College placed third with a time of 7:43.67 and Johnson & Wales University finished fourth at 7:57.16. The Simmons top eight placed fourth in the morning's entry race with a time of 7:18.3, finishing ahead of Assumption by just under 18 seconds and just behind Washington College by just over four ticks. Worcester Polytechnic Institute won the race with a mark of 7:02.5. 

Junior coxswain Ally Fecteau (Burlington, Conn.) guided the second varsity in the morning and led the first varsity to victory in the final, followed by sophomore stroke Samantha Kelsey (Salt Lake City, Utah)Emily Niemi (Santa Clarita, Calif.), sophomore Steffi Gaehde (Brookline, Mass.), senior Peizhu Pam Qian (Beijing, China/Developing Virtue Secondary Girls School (Calif.)), juniors Sabrina Belozerova (Newton, Mass.) and Hannah Dike (Leominster, Mass.), senior Nicole Lee (North Reading, Mass.) and first year bow Maggie O'Byrne (Boston, Mass.).

"The two-V had a rocky start this morning, but it was a very good learning experience for the entire boat and they definitely changed tunes for the second race," explained Fecteau. "The one-V was absolutely on fire today and just kept walking away from the competition the entire race." 

The Simmons second varsity finished less than two seconds behind Clark to place fourth in the morning's entry race with a time of 7:51.39. Hamilton College won the heat with a clip of 7:22.40. The Sharks regrouped and soundly defeated Clark in the Petite Final by more than eight seconds, crossing the finish with a winning time of 8:20.14. Assumption and Johnson & Wales places third and fourth, respectively.
 
Senior Melissa Morton (Somers, Conn.) led the second varsity from the coxswain perch in the final after directing the first varsity in the morning. First year Maude Elovitz (Lake Oswego, Ore.) set the pace for the Sharks from the stroke seat, followed by first year Kat Jones (Methuen, Mass.), junior Lily Pennington (Watertown, Mass.), senior Eleanor Pullan (Northampton, Mass.), first year Jen-Li Barry (Santa Barbara, Calif.), senior Christine Yu (Plainville, Mass.), junior Rebecca Ramsey (Jefferson, Mass.) and first year bow Maya Wyse (Singapore)
 
"The one-V had a great start to the day, the focus was there and it showed on the water," said Morton. "The two-V had a rough start to the morning, but once we got back on the water for the final, we took a collective deep breath remembered we were Sharks, and raced to first place. So proud to be taking home some hardware!"
 
The Simmons third varsity eight finished fourth in the morning races with a time of 9:05.33 behind first year coxswain Ginny Strasser (Cambridge, Mass.), first year stroke Anna Boyles (Ridgeland, Miss.), sophomore April Miller (Newton, N.H.), first years Chloe Janes (Brookline, Mass.), Jessica Banafato (Durham, N.H.)Kathryn Armour (Shrewsbury, Mass.)Rachel Matz (Washington, D.C), junior Chloe Feuerstein (Winchester, Mass.) and first year bow Mackenzie Gondek (Waban, Mass.).  
 
"The second race of the spring season went very well," remarked Strasser. "It was a great starting place for our races here in Worcester!"