McMaster rowers qualified 10 boats for finals at the Thanksgiving weekend Brock Invitational at the Henley Island course in St. Catharines.
For this regatta, multiple entries were allowed in each event, so many athletes had up to four 2,000m races throughout the meet.
The lightweight men’s singles raced in the first event, with Mac starting three athletes in the event: Drew Smith, Paul Steneker, and Will Staples. In the first heat, Steneker placed sixth in a time of 7:12.32, while in the second heat, Smith finished seventh in 7:28.18 and Staples came eighth with a time of 7:33.72, in his first ever race in the single.
The heavyweight women’s double were led by D’Arcy Arends and Aly Vogelzang, who finished third in their heat with a time of 7:25.71, good enough to qualify for finals, where they cruised down the course for a fifth place finish in 7:50.13.
In the second heat of the women’s double, Yasa Ibragimova and Devon Jones came fifth in 8:07.28.
The heavyweight men’s double of Keegan Travis and Karl Zimmermann but since their heat was so fast, they managed a season best of 6:38.46, good enough to qualify for finals where they hit a buoy and placed fifth in 6:56.17.
The women’s heavyweight coxed four of Leah Hayward (bow), Stacey Hepburn, Katie McGurk, Marlow Kate, and Alina Barnett (cox), had a very close race, finishing fourth in 7:28.37 and just missing qualification for finals.
The men’s heavyweight coxed four of Keegan Travis (bow), Ben Anthony, Logan Madill, Michael DiDonato (stroke), and Jacqueline Watt (cox) took part in a very challenging race that was restarted three times because of false starts and equipment failures by other schools. However, the Marauders remained steadfast, and finished the race in a solid third place with a time of 6:35.99.
The women’s lightweight double of Rachel Dick and Jackie Bellemare tore down the course in a time of 7:48.82, finishing in fourth place. That result was matched by the men’s lightweight double of Paul Steneker and Drew Smith, who crossed the finish line 7:10.14.
Arends once again raced the heavyweight women’s single and placed sixth in her heat in a time of 8:28.98.
Arends and Zimmermann represented McMaster in the women’s and men’s heavyweight singles. Facing a new group of opposition from the past few weeks, Arends and Zimmermann were both presented with new challenges, and responded very well. Arends placed sixth in her heat in a time of 8:28.98, while Zimmermann came second in 7:19.25.
Zimmermann then got to fight again in the final, where he sprinted to the line for a third-place finish in a personal best time of 7:07.95.
In the day’s last heats, the McMaster men’s heavyweight and women’s lightweight eights both raced. The men’s boat of Cole Creaney (bow), Jordan Stevenson, John Butler, Davin Power, Madill, Anthony, William Aidan Staples, DiDonato (stroke), Watt (cox) finished third in their heat in a time of 6:19.93, well inside what they needed to qualify for finals. In the final, they came fourth in a time of 6:03.44.
The women’s lightweight eight of Elle Rasmussen (bow), Krystina Mckay, Rachel Dick, Angela Haufler, Jackie Bellemare, Amanda Hroncok, Michelle Hayman, Erin Ross (stroke), and Laura Yates (cox) finished a season best fourth in a straight-to-final event, with a time of 7:18.43.
The women’s lightweight coxed four of Elle Rasmussen (bow), Hroncok, Hayman, Ross (stroke) and Barnett (cox) came sixth in a straight-to-final in a time of 7:44.40.
In the novice category, the women’s boat of Madeline Rawlins (bow), Annemarie Van Halteren, Alice Herbert, Jordan Tilley, Miranda Cooper, Sarah Beairsto, Brynley Hanson-Wright, Rachel D’Arsie (stroke), and Michele Zaman (cox) finished fifth in the first heat, with a time of 7:56.28, while the second boat of Andrea Macchiusi (bow), Kaitlyn Zabransky, Myma Okuda-Rayfuse, Emily Smolej, Alexis Bullock, Amanda Baxter, Manasi Parikh, Emma Hemsley (stroke), and Nikki Karagach (cox) also finished fifth, but in the third heat, in 8:06.01.
The novice men likewise had two boats: Adam Grottoli (bow), Zack Demers, Jimmy Thomas, Kevin Guo, Liam Bakker, Quinn Sallows, Dillion Pheonix, Cole Riddle (stroke) and Ryan Balsam (cox) in the first heat, and Adam Clark (bow), Jacob Fischer, Nicholas Fernandes, Jeremy Johnston-Lindsay, John McGillivray, John Wójcik, Pablo Mendoza, William Luders (stroke) and Lindsay D’Souza (cox).
The Balsam boat came third in a time of 6:59.3, breaking the elusive seven-minute mark for novice men. The D’Souza boat finished fourth in the third heat, in a time of 7:03.56.
Overall, it was a very successful regatta for the McMaster team, with many crews improving on their performances from last year.
Looking forward, the team will next compete at Henley course for the Ontario University Athletics championships from Oct. 24-26.