HADLEY, Mass. - The Bates men's and women's rowing teams aim to defend their conference championships this Sunday when they compete for the NESCAC Men's and Women's Rowing Championships. The Bobcat men are looking for back-to-back crowns, while the Bobcat women are in pursuit of their third consecutive title.
The NESCAC Championship is awarded based on performance in the first varsity eight grand final race at the National Invitational Rowing Championships (NIRC), which will be held at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. on Sunday.
Last year, the Bates women successfully defended their NESCAC title by crossing the finish line with a time of 7:20.155 en route to winning the school's first-ever NCAA title. Four other conference teams rounded out the top five, as Williams finished second (7:23.665) just ahead of Trinity (7:24.007) and Hamilton and Tufts placed fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 7:34.596 and 7:36.321.
The Ephs pace the NESCAC with nine conference titles, while Bates and Trinity have hoisted two each and Colby claimed the title in 2003.
On the men's side, Bates posted the top conference finish after posting a time of 6:28.404, which was good for third place, to capture its first NESCAC trophy. Williams was the next NESCAC boat to cross the finish line with a fourth-place time 6:32.877. Wesleyan was the only other NESCAC institution competing in the grand final, and clocked a time of 6:35.738 to place sixth.
Williams and Trinity are the only other NESCAC schools to win a conference trophy in men's rowing, as the Ephs have won seven and the Bantams have claimed four.
This past Saturday at the New England Rowing Championships on Lake Quinsigamond, the Bates women took first for the second straight year in the varsity eight grand final with a time of 6:51.799. Wesleyan posted a time of 6:54.787 to earn second place. Williams was a close third (6:55.390), while Trinity (7:00.501) and Tufts (7:03.380) placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
The Bates men also won the varsity eight grand final in back-to-back years with a time of 6:07.879. Williams came in behind the Bobcats nearly three seconds later at 6:10.303, while Wesleyan and Trinity were fourth (6:12.523) and fifth (6:16.102), respectively.
If the grand final at the NIRC is not able to be conducted on Sunday at Lake Quinsigamond, the NESCAC Championships, and along with it the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA women's rowing championship at Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif. on May 27-29, will be based on the results of the grand final from the New England Rowing Championships.