Thursday, October 15, 2015

2015 Head Of The Charles Rowing Resources and Picks

#HOCR51 Resources (Photo: Pete Biro) 

The 51st Head Of The Charles Regatta is now just over a day away! While the rowing world descends upon that narrow stretch of the Charles River, we'll be on the scene to cover the regatta on social media and in print for ROWING Magazine. And, before the fun gets started on the water, it just wouldn't be us if we didn't throw a few picks and predictions out there for the weekend—read on for resources around the web, as well as our take on who'll be in the winners' circle on Saturday and Sunday.

Head Of The Charles Course Resources and Guides for Coaches, Rowers, and Coxswains:





Quick Picks:

Two of the most interesting match ups at the regatta will come in the Men's and Women's Championship Singles—on the men's side, we'll see Charles veteran Mahé Drysdale take on Cuba's Angel Fournier Rodriguez, as well as 2014 champion Andrew Campbell. While Rodriguez had a very strong season in 2015, we're taking Drysdale to get the better of that head-to-head battle given his familiarity with the course, but he may again have trouble catching Campbell on home water. Other scullers to watch will be Ben Davison, John Graves, and Ben Dann of Craftsbury—all very capable and efficient over the long course.

The Women's Championship Single will likely be also be a battle between elite lightweights and defending champion Gevvie Stone (check an RR podcast with Gevvie following her win at the Silver Skiff regatta last year here), and 2015 world bronze medalist Kate Bertko, who has rather incredibly been putting up even better numbers since making the transition to lightweight. 2012 Olympian from the LW2x Kristin Hedstrom will also be one to watch, as well as Lindsay Meyer, and wildcard Elizabeth Sharis, (winner of the RoRy Award for Breakthrough Performance of the Year back in 2012) now a frosh at Stanford but not a stranger to going very fast in a single.

Jumping from small boats to big boats, the men's and women's junior eights also feature some compelling competition. The top three crews in the men's event will be very exciting to watch, with a very slick looking St. Paul's crew, coached by Olympian Bobby Thatcher, set to take on the 2015 USRowing youth national champions Oakland, as well as a typically strong crew from Marin. Staying at the top is tough, but there's a reason why Brian De Regt is up for Fan's Choice Coach of the Year, and we like Oakland to stay on top. Also, don't sleep on CRI to move up the ranks from their no. 5 starting position...


The women's junior eight will be interesting to watch, with last year's most dominant program, Saugatuck (won and placed two crews in the top eight in this event last year) adjusting to a new coach, with the departure of Chase Graham, and Cal alum Gordon Getsinger taking the reins. PNRA Mercer will likely be among those contending for the title once again, and will have fairly clean water, starting at no. 2. Also, there will be a West Coast early season showdown between bow numbers 5, 6, and 7—Marin, Marina Aquatic Center, and Oakland will no doubt be gunning to overtake their East Coast rivals, as well as a strong OKC Riversport program that has shown up well at the Charles and on the national stage in recent years.

Moving on to college, our favorites to win the men's collegiate eight will be the Wolverines from Michigan—too much depth and strength moving up the ranks, as Gregg Hartsuff continues to have his program firing on all cylinders. We've also got our eyes on Grand Valley State to give Hobart a run for their money, with a number of returning athletes to the varsity eight and experience from the World University Games last summer. Given last year, we're expecting Delaware to be another strong contender for the top five along with, as usual, Virginia, and we expect Trinity and Drexel to move up the ranks—also, UC Santa Barbara usually starts the season a little slower (as is the case with many quarter-system schools), but may push their way into the top 10 this year.

In the Men's Championship Eight, the USRowing entry will likely not be as strong as it has been in years past (though it does feature 2004 Olympic champion Jason "like spiders on a birthday cake" Read in the bow), leaving the door open for collegiate crews to take the top spot—just as Harvard did last year. The Crimson always perform well on their home course, and we expect them to be duking it out with California, Washington, Yale, and Princeton for supremacy in Boston.

In the Women's Championship Eight, we're expecting a battle between Virginia, Brown, and California for the top spot at the collegiate level, with the USRowing entry likely winning going away. Princeton always brings strong crews to Boston, as does Yale and Michigan, so they will also be in the hunt, and Radcliffe has been known to pull a rabbit out of a hat on the Charles in recent memory. Ah, the parity in women's rowing!

We're looking forward to the weekend! Will you be racing? Tag us on Instagram and stay up to date with everything happening along the course via ROWING Magazine and our social channels.

Here's to finding your rhythm quickly and easily in the Basin!

-RR

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