Eastern Michigan University’s women’s rowing team boat novice 4 earned second place in the event at the country’s second largest regatta, the Head of the Hooch, in downtown Chattanooga, Tenn. Nov. 3 – 4.
The Eagles competed in the 5,000-meter (3.1 mile) head race on the Tennessee River, with all boats starting sequentially and racing against the clock.
EMU entered into at least five different events, including the women’s championship 8 , women’s championship 4 , women’s college and club novice 4 , women’s championship double and the women’s lightweight 1x. While all of the boats did well, only novice 4 medaled in their event.
Novice 4 took second place in their event with a time of 19:57.8; compared to 19:24.5 from the first place boat of the University of Tulsa. This was the team’s first time medaling at the Head of the Hooch and second time medaling this year for sophomores Emily Kent, Lyndsey Tollas and Stacy Cloutier, freshman Ashley Gilmore and redshirt junior coxswain Allison Pecaut.
“I am so happy with how we ended up [doing],” Kent said. “We wanted
to surprise teams because they weren’t expecting us to do well.”
According to head coach Brad Holdren, the Eagles could have taken first place in that event, but a collision slowed the boat down. As the Eagles were trying to pass other boats, two teams collided and one veered off and clashed oars with EMU. This slowed the team down, but not enough to take them out of the race.
In the other events, the Eagles aimed for the top 10 but fell a bit short. Although they did not meet that expectation, they have improved significantly from last year.
According to Holdren, the Eagles were approximately 90 seconds slower than North Carolina at the Occoquan Chase Regatta, but EMU lingered behind by only about 40 seconds at the Hooch.
Senior rower Rachel Morrissey said, “Rowing is all about mentally pushing through the pain.”
During the race, Pecaut made the team focus on dedicating 10 strokes to the seniors in their boat.
“You could feel a surge of power move though the boat, giving us the extra motivation to give it our all,” Morrissey said.
Holdren plans to adapt their training schedule for the spring based on teams throughout the country. He plans to compare times and come up with a training plan based on the cross referencing.
“Winter training won’t be fun, but it will be worth it,” junior K.C. Anderson said.
The Hooch was the last fall race for the Eagles, but their spring season kicks off when they head to Clemson, S.C. during winter break. The spring is when rowers participate in sprint races where teams race head to head. Many members of the team are anticipating the spring season and racing next to competitors.