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Crew Takes First Place to Start Their Season

The crew team’s Varsity 8 and the Novice 4 boats both came in first in their races at the first dual regatta this past weekend at Chapman University in Newport Beach.

“They did spectacularly. They rowed the best I’ve seen them row this season,” said Wendy Franklin-Willis, head coach of the Mills crew team.

The Varsity 8 finished at seven minutes and thirty-three seconds. The Chapman boat came in nine seconds later. The two Varsity 4 boats came in second and third in their race. The second place Varsity 4 boat came in just eight-tenths of a second behind the winning boat.

Franklin-Willis noted that the boats are now at a racing time she thought they would be at the end of the season. “All the boats are way ahead of schedule,” said Franklin-Willis.

“The weekend was an extremely successful weekend. For our first race, we performed better than any team I’ve rowed with, and I’ve been rowing for nine years,” said senior Rachel Gardner, a varsity racer.

In the race this weekend, the 14 women on the Mills team raced against the crew team from Chapman University.

“They are the best team since I’ve been here [at Mills] as far as team dynamics go. They have a willingness to work hard, they’re supportive of one another and they are respectful,” said Franklin-Willis.

“This is my second year on crew and we have an amazing crew this semester. It’s wonderful because there is no weirdness between anyone. It’s like we’re a big family in the best possible way,” said sophomore Katie Donnell, a varsity racer.

“They are a pleasure to coach,” said Franklin-Willis. They make me want to raise my game so they can raise theirs.”