Crew First Varsity Eight Places Second in Third Final; Sharks Win Second Varsity Four Petite Final at New England Championship

Crew First Varsity Eight Places Second in Third Final; Sharks Win Second Varsity Four Petite Final at New England Championship

WORCESTER, Mass. -- The Simmons University crew First Varsity Eight placed second in the Third Final of the New England Rowing Championship, while the Second Varsity Four won the Petite Final this morning on Lake Quinsigamond in the two-thousand meter race in Worcester, Mass.

The Sharks first varsity eight placed fifth in their morning heat with a time of 7:02.370 to surpass Amherst College by almost five seconds while finishing behind Mont Holyoke College. The placing put Simmons into the Third Varsity Final, where it placed second with a mark of 7:21.279, behind the University of New Hampshire crew's time of 7:18.989.

Junior Ally Fecteau (Burlington, Conn.) served as the coxswain for the race for Simmons and said, "In the one-vee,  all of our races were great and the pressure was amazing today. A huge improvement was made since last week. I can't wait to see what will come for our last race of the season! (the National Invitational Rowing Championship)"

Fecteau guided the Sharks eight comprised of sophomore stroke Samantha Kelsey (Salt Lake City, Utah), first year 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 Maggie O'Byrne (Boston, Mass.).

The Simmons second varsity four finished its day by winning the Petite Final with a time of 8:28.956 to edge University of Vermont by less than two seconds. The Sharks posted a time of 6:38.577 to finish seventh just behind University of Massachusetts Lowell in the day's earlier time trial. 

The Simmons four was paced by first year stroke Mackenzie Gondek (Waban, Mass.), followed by junior Rebecca Ramsey (Jefferson, Mass.), sophomore April Miller (Newton, N.H.) and junior Chloe Feuerstein (Winchester, Mass.). First year coxswain Ginny Strasser (Cambridge, Mass.) directed the shell. She explained, "Our time trial placed us at the top of the petite final which we raced later that day. It wasn't easy though! Throughout the last thousand meters we were only about three feet off our competitors' bow ball. In the end, we won the petite final—the first winning race I've ever coxed! It was the hardest race we've ever rowed, but totally worth it!"

The Sharks registered a time of 7:46.948 to place sixth in the second varsity eight's morning heat. The shell finished fourth in the third final with a clip of 8:11.086, behind Johnson & Wales University. 

Senior coxswain Melissa Morton (Somers, Conn.) made the calls for the eight with first year stroke Maude Elovitz (Lake Oswego, Ore.) setting the pace, followed by classmates Kat Jones (Methuen, Mass.),  Anna Boyles (Ridgeland, Miss.), senior Christine Yu (Plainville, Mass.), junior Lily Pennington (Watertown, Mass.), first years Chloe Janes (Brookline, Mass.)Jen-Li Barry (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Maya Wyse (Singapore).

Morton put the day's racing in perspective by saying, "Results aside the two-vee gave everything they had in both races today and I could not have been prouder. I am so excited to see what they do next week."

Junior Captain Hannah Dike talked about the challenges of the downtime in between races and how it also turned into a benefit for the squads. "The team spent hours together in between races, but you could tell despite it being a tough we all had so much racing and snacking alongside our families and friends there to support us! The love for Simmons Crew was in the air and it was fun to have such a great turnout!"