By Tom McGivern
Tom McGivern is a volunteer for the T.C. Crew program.
For the second year in a row, inclement weather shortened the schedule of races at the Walter Mess Regatta at the Occoquan Reservoir on April 7, with rowers challenged throughout the day on the 1500-meter course by snow, a brisk headwind, and wind chills hovering just above freezing.
While finals in some race categories were cancelled as weather conditions further deteriorated late in the afternoon, the T.C. Williams Crew Team still came away with solid races and impressive victories in this early season outing.
The 2018 Walter Mess included almost 1600 athletes from 30 Virginia, D.C., and Pennsylvania schools who raced in 227 boats, 12 of which came from TC Williams.
In their debut race of the season, the Titan Women’s Novice 8 boat placed second in their heat with a time of 7:17.3. Also in their first race were TC’s two Men’s Novice 8 boats, one of which won its heat with a time of 5:57.3. Unlike other schools, whose novice boats usually include freshmen and older rowers, TC Novice boats typically are composed entirely of 8th graders.
Following a strong showing at the Noxontown Regatta on March 31, the TC Men’s Frosh 8 stroked another impressive race, winning their flight with a time 5:42.5, placing them second behind perennial powerhouse St. Albans among the 9 Men’s Frosh 8 boats at the Walter Mess. Fresh off their Noxontown win, the TC Women’s Frosh 8B boat “raced up” in the Women’s Third 8 category against upperclass rowers, notching a 3rd place finish in 6:40.6.
The Titan Women’s Light 8 squad scored another exciting victory in their second race of the young season with a time of 6:13.0, besting W.T. Woodson (6:23.8), Lake Braddock (6:53.7), and Yorktown (6:56.5). The TC Women’s Light 8 boat on Saturday included rowers Ava Elkins, Chloe Marsh, Anna Jane Guynn, Felicity Brock, Alaina Browand, Lila Arnold, Anna Hill, and Caroline Surratt, and coxswain Paula Filios.
Also scoring their second, assertive win in as many races, the Titan Women’s Frosh 8A boat raced up a couple notches in the Women’s Junior 8 category, meaning their opponent boats could be composed of any upper class rowers other than seniors. The spirited TC Frosh Women dominated the six-boat field with a winning time of 6:12.1, over 31 seconds ahead of second-place Oakton and 47 seconds ahead of third-place South County. The Titan Women’s Frosh 8A includes rowers Riley Bucholz, Libby Padilla, Mackenzie Allen, Kaitie Dennis, Wellesley Snyder, Grace Yokitis, Adrienne Carter, and Halle Reinholtz, and coxswain Caroline Miles.
Although their final was cancelled, the TC Women’s Second 8 placed 2nd in their heat with a time of 6:19.0, the third fastest time among the 10 boats in the Women’s Second 8 category. The TC Men’s Second 8 finished 3rd in their heat with a time of 5:28.8 in a 13-boat field.
The Titan Women’s First 8 also qualified for finals that were canceled with a 6:03.4 second-place finish in their heat, which also was the second fastest time for the 11-boat Women’s 1V8 field at the Walter Mess. The TC Men’s First 8 finished 3rd in their heat with a time of 5:32.8 in a 15-boat field.
TC travels back to the Occoquan Reservoir on April 14 for the Darrell Winslow Regatta.