Hingham’s Crash Course with C.R.A.S.H. Bs


Brendan Chase

Sophomore Anne Lipsett (center) pulls as Coach Abi Kornett encourages her from behind.

Brendan Chase, Contributing Writer

Have you ever tried breathing from a hair dryer? Now imagine pushing your physical limits until you literally fall over. All this, while surrounded by hundreds of screaming fans, and your score projected as a little boat racing along the jumbotron. Welcome to C.R.A.S.H. Bs Sprints, the indoor rowing world championship.

Starting in 1981, a year after the famous American boycott, the indoor world championships attracts thousands of rowers each year to compete on the world stage. Hosted in BU’s Agganis Arena, the event consists of 96 rowers at a time competing head to head in a 2000 meter race. Each heat of 96 is broken up into sections of 32, and rows of 16, where the highest seeded rowers take center stage, in the middle of the first row. Each rower may bring one coxswain or fan onto the floor with them, who can sit behind them for motivation. In the center of the Arena, a large announcers box dominates the floor, with various computers protruding from it.

Unlike any other race the Hingham Crew Team participates in, this event actually serves as a decent spectator event. Each rower’s current standing projects onto the large jumbotron, and on TVs around the stadium. In addition, this race allows individuals prove their true potential, while during the spring and fall, a race depends on the entire boat. Due to this aspect of competing alone, many college recruiters scout out prospects. All the stress of needing to perform well burdens the rowers until their races, and many actually dread the event.

Although this year, the Hingham rowers had no need to fear their performances. Across the entire team, Hingham rowers set personal records, and placed extraordinarly among other world-class athletes.

The first race Hingham entered in began at 1:00 PM, with the Jr Women (High School) Lightweight. Breanne Eriksen started off the day without a single fellow rower. Every other Hingham athlete for that heat was riddled with injuries, although many still came to cheer on their friends. Nevertheless, Breanne finished in the top 75 for her event, starting the trend of Hingham excellence.

After the Jr Women Lightweight heats, the Jr Mens Lightweight started. Although originally entering 5 rowers into the race, only 3 of which officially raced, while the other two raced at the same time, they entered into the Open Jr Mens Category. Freshmen Peter Lemanski raced side by side with Eamon Flynn, who fought against the heat, and each other. In the end, Flynn just edged out Lemanski by 3 seconds. Considering they were freshmen rowing in the open category, the boys did exceptionally well. Right next to them, Sophomore Wil Mullin raced for the lightweights, along with Patrick Whamond in the row behind. Wil smashed his old personal record (PR) by almost 16 seconds, which just beat out his freshmen colleagues. While Wil also took 6th place for his section, Patrick set his new PR and almost broke the top 200 as a freshman!

In the next heat of the Jr Men’s Lightweight, Tyler O’Connell and Patrick Owens represented Hingham. Ranked the very slowest in his heat, Tyler O’Connell denied his rank by beating his seeding by 8 spots, and finished as the 80th fastest lightweight (in the worldwide event!). Only a few ergs away, Patrick Owens sported his Head of the Charles headband, which helped him finish in a blistering 6:51. The fact Head Coach Manning coxed him may have helped a bit as well. Owens ended up taking 45th place out of the entire jr lightweight men’s competition! After both racing in the fastest heat, the two seemed pleased with their performance against rowers from other towns, states, and countries. Although they had to clear the race floor quickly because the open Jr men’s race was about to begin, with Hingham again boasting two rowers.

The first heat in the open category separated Andrew Sandberg from his teammate Ethan Quinn, sitting in adjacent sections of the track. Despite a shaky start, Sandberg “walked on” (catching up to in rowers terms) 7 other competitors, reeling them in one by one. Beating his PR by over 8 seconds (Now a 7:10.8), he also beat his rank by a wide margin. While Sandberg battled it out on center stage, Ethan Quinn dug into his section. Never faltering, Quinn cruised into a 7:17 final time, smashing his previous record. It should also be noted that Andrew and Ethan barely missed the lightweight cutoff, and had to compete among much heavier competition. Despite this, Andrew still broke the top 200, and Ethan took 211th.

After a 15 minute drought of Hingham rowers, the fastest jr men heat prepared to start. This heat featured World Record Holder Bryan Dettman, Jr Captain Jack Metzger (who WON his heat last year) and Captain Sean Cunningham, whose age forced him into the open men category. In a high adrenaline race, Jack Metzger claimed 2nd place in his entire heat of 96 other rowers! Former Coach Marko Vukovic served as his coxswain just as he did last year. Sean Cunningham pulled the fastest Hingham time of the day, a blazing 6:25.4. In addition, he finished in the top 60 of the Open Men, which is the fastest event of the day! Bryan Dettman didn’t do as well as he hoped, but early in the season he set a 100 meter world record time, to which he credits a summer of crossfit.

Finally, the Hingham Open Jr Girls took their turn on the race floor. Comprised mostly of Sophomores, the girls clearly defied their age. Both breaking 8 minutes, Anne Lipsett and Olivia Kelly finished in the top 140 for their group. Anne also broke her PR which she hopes will allow her to row in a national camp this summer. Maureen McGonagle and Margaret McDowell also broke the top 200, both finishing with sub 8:20 times. Katherine McDowell finished just over 8:30, closely tailing her fellow rowers.

As a participant myself, I can attest to the stress of the race. The adrenaline rush you feel is unlike any other normal race, even our erg tests. This mixes with the knowledge of where every other racer is, and the announcers, all cumulating into chaos. This actually helped me focus and push beyond my goals, faster than I ever thought I could go. The urge to represent the town well also forces us to always try harder than before, as the coaches always remind us we represent the entire town. Above all, the camaraderie across both teams definitely gives Hingham the edge over other crews. Whether you’re a freshman boy, or a senior girl, the whole team will always have your back.

Besides the rowers and coxswains, the Coaches also attended the event, with Boy’s Coach Abi Kornett staying on the race floor the entire day, cheering the rowers on, and helping them settle down afterwards. The new Girls Coach, Gavin Kelly, was also spotted at C.R.A.S.H Bs, sizing up his team’s talent for the spring. Having led both the boys and the girls team through the winter, Head Coach Leonard Manning was beyond pleased with the
results. He explained “Everything is coming together for a fantastic spring season”. His training certainly seems to be working. Hingham Crew starts their spring season March 21st on the Hingham Harbor. This season is planned to take the team all across New England, and maybe a trip to Delaware over April break. If you would like to see the crew in action, the first race will hopefully take place on April 9th in Wayland, weather permitting. Based off of the talent displayed in Agganis Arena, Hingham should shine on the water.