Posted: October 22, 2007
BOSTON, Mass. – Lehigh sent five boats to the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta this past weekend and the Mountain Hawks more than held their own against some of the top crews in the country and the world. Throughout the course of the weekend, Lehigh competed in the women’s championship 8, women’s lightweight 8, men’s club 4, men’s college 4 and the men’s college 8 races. Liz Meltzer, Lehigh’s Head Rowing Coach, offered her thoughts on the weekend. “For a team with our history and for where we want to take this program, it is a privilege to have five of our boats qualify for the Head of the Charles when most schools our size and caliber are lucky to get just one in.”
On the women’s side, Lehigh finished 36th out of 39 boats in the Championship 8 with a time of 17:57.427, while in the lightweight 8, the Mountain Hawks took tenth out of 14 boats, with a time of 18:34.759. Due to a recent change in rules that prevents Division I programs from competing in the collegiate races, Lehigh was forced to step up to the challenge of competing in the championship races versus perennial NCAA qualifiers and top rowing clubs.
“It’s hard to swallow these results,” Meltzer explained, “but we have to remember that we’re racing against the best boats not only in the country, but also the world.” She continued, “To be the best, we have to row against the best. When you put things into perspective, we did very well this weekend when you compare the times of our boats with those of boats in the college and club races.” She concluded, “I take it as a compliment that Lehigh has to compete against such high-caliber boats.”
On the men’s side of things, Lehigh defeated 82 of 112 boats it competed against, good for a .732 winning percentage. Lehigh placed 14th out of 44 boats in the Club 4 race, with a time of 17:58.806, the Mountain Hawks finished seventh out of 31 boats in the College 4, crossing the finish line in a time of 17:38.211, and in the College 8, the Brown and White took 14th place out of 42 boats, with a time of 15:48.579.
With their performance this weekend, all three of Lehigh’s boats guaranteed themselves entry into next season’s Head of the Charles. In addition, the Mountain Hawks defeated Holy Cross’ boat, which was tops among Patriot League club boats last season, by one second, and they beat rival Delaware by seven seconds, after the Blue Hens bested the Brown and White by 18 seconds at last weekend’s Navy Day Regatta.
“I think our performance was impressive in that as a club-varsity we performed well enough to qualify all three entries for next year’s event, when many other varsity crews failed to do so,” head men’s club varsity coach Jason Moorehead said afterwards. He continued, “I thought we rowed hard, but the entire team realizes we can get faster, and that we haven’t come close to reaching our full potential. This was a solid showing by a young Lehigh team and really builds momentum heading into the spring season.”
Lehigh returns to action on October 27 when the Mountain Hawks head to Philadelphia to compete in the Head of the Schuylkill.