Back in competition for the first time since fall 2019, the Middlebury club crew team opened their season by reclaiming the Vermont Cup from the University of Vermont (UVM)––the first time Middlebury has defeated UVM in six years.
“It takes a whole team to win the Vermont Cup,” Noah Long ’22, one of two men’s team captains, said. “Everyone put together races they could be proud of. Everyone really had fun, and it was really great to go back and compete.”
The regatta, hosted on nearby Lake Dunmore on Oct. 19, was first time Nick Dahlen ’24 competed on the crew team.
“It was kind of what we needed to show us that our hard work’s been paying off,” Dahlen said. “It was an exciting way to start the racing season.”
Olivia Haouchine ’22, one of the women’s team captains along with Amanda Marks ’22, relished a return to competition.
“Especially after the Covid year it’s been hard to keep the goals in mind when [regattas are] not every weekend as they normally were,” Haouchine said. “It was awesome to come back from a year and half without competition and take the Cup back.”
For Long, the Vermont Cup represented a full-circle moment, since the 2019 Vermont Cup was the last race before Covid-19 halted the team’s season. Long also added that the victory prompted alumni to reach out and express their support and happiness about the Cup’s return to Middlebury.
After this event, the crew team competed in the Quinsigamond Snake Regatta in Shrewsbury, Mass., on Oct. 17. The top men’s collegiate eight placed eighth out of 22 boats, and the women’s top collegiate eight boat placed fifth out of 18 boats.
One of the most anticipated races this season was the Head of the Charles, hosted on the weekend of Oct. 23. “It’s one of the coolest regattas because crews from all over the world come,” Long said.
The crew team sent a men’s eight boat, a women’s eight boat and a women’s four boat to the regatta. Both eights finished in the top half, securing qualification to compete again next year. For the men’s eight, this was the first time since fall 2012 and only the second time in team history that they automatically requalified. For the women’s eight, this was the first time since fall 2015 and only the third time in program history that they automatically requalified.
Haouchine was elated with the results and described the atmosphere as “electrifying.”
“I’m so incredibly proud of the perseverance and how patient everyone was, especially everyone who has been on the team since last fall,” Long said. “It’s awesome that we’re getting back to being a competitive crew, and it’s just so great to see all of our hard work and effort being rewarded.”
The Panthers will conclude their fall season on Halloween weekend at the Head of the Fish Regatta in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Head Coach Rich Connell, who has been coaching at Middlebury since fall 2018, has been impressed with the team’s efforts and is looking forward to future regattas.
“We’re in for the long haul here at Midd Crew,” Connell said. “Over the seasons and over the years, [we’re] developing good people, good athletes, and making the most of that.”
Charlie Keohane ‘24 is an Editor at Large.
She previously served as SGA Correspondent and a Senior Writer.
Keohane is undeclared but is planning to study environmental studies, creative writing, and psychology. She is also a member of the women’s track and field team and a radio host on WRMC. This past summer, she interned at the Middlebury Admissions Office and now spends her free time hiking, sending snail mail, and FaceTiming her rescue dog, Poppy.