WEST WINDSOR, N.J. -- The Bates men's rowing team competed with the best-of-the-best Friday, outracing a pair of crews on day one of the 116th annual Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta.
Bates is the first NESCAC school to send its varsity eights to the prestigious regatta. And on Friday, the Bobcats woke up bright and early to compete in foggy conditions on Mercer Lake.
The first varsity eight found itself in an 8:30 a.m. heat with Harvard, Brown, Pennsylvania, Cornell, and Saint Joseph's (Pa.). The Crimson won the heat in 5:43.385 and Bates came in sixth with a time of 6:04.910.
Then at 9:27 a.m., the second varsity eight competed in its heat against Yale, Brown, Boston University, Stanford and Saint Joseph's (Pa.). Led by sophomore coxswain Holland Doyle (Milton, Mass.) and senior captain stroke Kyle Schlueter (Norwell, Mass.), the Bobcats finished fourth out of six schools with a time of 6:05.646. Stanford (6:09.771) finished four seconds behind Bates and Saint Joseph's finished last with a time of 6:12.115. Yale won the race in 5:47.739.
"That was really our goal, to get past Stanford," Schlueter said. "In the last 500, seeing ourselves pretty far ahead of them was a really exhilarating feeling for sure."
Both boats competed in "Repêchages" as well on Friday, with the first varsity eight squaring off against Dartmouth, George Washington and Temple. Bates knocked an impressive 13 seconds off its heat time, racing to the finish in 5:51.575. The Owls narrowly edged the Bobcats, taking third with a time of 5:49.884. Dartmouth won the race in 5:38.345.
The second varsity eight hung with Cornell and Oregon State in its Repêchage. The Bobcats raced to the finish in 6:08.011 but the Beavers took second with a time of 6:05.176 and Cornell won in 6:01.715.
On Saturday, the first varsity eight will compete against George Washington, Cornell, Oregon State, Saint Joseph's (Pa.), and UC San Diego in the C/D Semifinal at 9:15 a.m.
The second varsity eight will also compete in a C/D Semifinal, starting at 9:33 a.m. They take on George Washington, Pennsylvania, Saint Joseph's (Pa) and Florida Institute of Technology.
"We know our competition and how good these guys are and the recruiting pools they have," Schlueter said. "We look over and see these big 6-8 guys and whatnot and we just go out there and do the best we can."
"We're looking forward to messing up some people's weekends."
Alternate #1: Jackson Cote
Alternate #2: Jonathan Reid
Alternate #3: Quinn Hayward
Alternate cox: Aidan Temperino