Rowers take show south

Queen’s rowing teams compete in international regatta in Boston, come out with four top-10 finishes

The women’s collegiate eight competed at the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston.
The women’s collegiate eight competed at the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston.
Supplied Photo by Michael Smith

The Gaels rowing crews were in Boston last weekend, competing in the Head of Charles regatta, the largest two-day regatta in the world. The three-mile race featured some 7,500 athletes and attracted more than 300,000 spectators.

Queen’s certainly gave them a show, with the men’s eight, composed of cox Michael Smith, Nick Pratt, Ryan Meyers, Rob Ballard, Rares Crisan, Morgan Jarvis, John Barr, Ryan Poling and Colin Sutherland and the women’s eight, cox Ashley Niblett, Kristine Matusiak, Catherine Moores, Charly Thivierge-Lortie, Rebecca McWatters, Crystal Hyatt, Caylen Heckel, Emily Richardson and Alex Meiklejohn both bringing home silver medals. Queen’s also achieved two top-10 finishes in female single sculling.

Ballard said that the Head of Charles regatta gave the team the opportunity to pit themselves against new teams.

“Usually we just compete against Western and Brock so it was nice to get outside competition,” he said. “It was really exciting to be stacked against Ivy League schools.”

Ballard said the results of the teams at the Head of Charles show the quality of Queen’s rowing.

“It says something for the strength of our program to go to an international competition and beat the Ivy League schools.”

Given the upcoming OUA championships, Ballard said the team treated the regatta as a warm up, which may have contributed to their performance.

“We treated it just like a fun race,” he said. “Our main race, the OUA championships, is next weekend. That’s probably part of the reason we did so well. We were relaxed and having fun.”

On a personal level, Ballard said the regatta was a great experience and a great achievement.

“It was one of my greatest rowing accomplishments,” he said. “[The Head of Charles] is one of the hardest medals to attain and everyone in the rowing community knows it and respects it.”

As for the race itself, Ballard said Queen’s couldn’t have done better.

“We had a great race,” he said. “The Princeton crew was unbelievable; they beat us by 12 seconds. We raced the best we could and did the best we could have done.”

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