The University of Rhode Island’s club rowing team pulled off a series of wins at the Knecht Cup in West Windsor, New Jersey.
The team earned three first-place finishes this weekend out of the 10 races in which the school competed. Winning 30 percent of its heats, this weekend was a tremendous success for the team. There were many highlights from the weekend, but the biggest victory came in the Petite Final.
In the Petite Final, the Rams’ varsity eight boat squared off against eight other schools, most notably Boston College. In an extremely hard-fought race, the end result came down to the wire. Finishing 1.5 seconds ahead of the Eagles, the Rams prevailed, clocking in with a time of 6:10.
The crew that ran that boat was ecstatic after the win. “In our final race, none of us wanted to lose, we had the drive to win,” said sophomore Connor Dunn. “When the time came, we put it all on the line and met our goal, to beat BC and come out on top.” Dunn added that he was of his teammates and that he’s happy to see all of their hard work paying off.
The varsity eight was not the only boat to take home honors from the Cup, as the novice teams each made it to the semifinals in their respective races. Assistant coach A.J. Fournier called their successes “a high point,” noting that the A boat made it to third place, finishing with a bronze medal. “The B boat result was a welcome surprise,” Fournier said, as most of that team only began rowing a handful of weeks ago.
Echoing Fournier’s sentiment, freshman Cody Kwasniewski spoke at length about the Cup. “[It] was definitely a new thing for me, as compared to any baseball or soccer game I went to in high school,” he said. Kwasniewski added that he was happy to see his hard work paying off, and that “although it’s been tough, I’m happy I joined crew.”
Captain Cody McMillan was extremely optimistic following the successes of his teammates from the weekend. McMillan said he was “very pleased with the results so far.” He made a point to mention that “our top novice boat confirmed our expectations of being one of the better boats on the east coast.” McMillan concluded by making his prediction, as captain, that the team will be a major contender at the next New England Championships.
The team’s next race will take place this Sunday when the Rams face off against the UConn Huskies.