In a testament to the strength of this year’s team, the varsity
Mills Cyclones Crew teams won first and second place in Sunday’s
races, and the novice team placed ahead of two other boats, despite
morning tides working against them and three separate bumps with
other boats during the race.
With the largest team in 10 years, the ladies of crew felt their
5:00 a.m. practices pay off when assistant coach Wendy Franklin
announced their victory in this semester’s only meet.
Varsity coxswain Victoria Harris and rowers Mary Kay Chin,
Rachel Gardner, Megan Wheelehan, and Brittony Girton powered
through almost 25 minutes of rowing to take first place at Sunday’s
Head of the Estuary meet at the Jack London Aquatic Center.
Varsity coxswain Maya Menezes and rowers Ana Zamora, Zach
Gagnier, Sarah Milazzo and Martina Chavez glided into second place
just over 20 seconds behind their teammates.
Head coach Nicole Devlin beamed with pride at the team’s
performance. “Nine days ago, they were worried about if they’d be
ready. They obviously were, and they did great,” Devlin said.
“Rough water today, but we had a really controlled ride,” said
Harris of her team’s win.
“It was a good strong row,” said Menezes, pointing out that crew
requires everyone’s dedication to win.
After donning their medals, the winning varsity team hoisted
Harris onto their shoulders, walked her down to the water and, as
is traditional, threw her in.
“Why couldn’t we win in Sacramento? The water tastes horrible!”
Harris said as she dried herself off.
Coach Franklin praised all the women for their outstanding
results. “Novice and varsity both did really, really well. There’s
lots of good energy and spirit this year and we’re really proud of
them,” Franklin said.
The novice boat had some oar collisions with single racers on
the course, who have no coxswain looking forward for them and have
to rely on a rear view mirror, but that still didn’t dampen the
spirits of the team.
“It was a blast,” said novice member Vala Burnett. “Three
singles ran into us during the race and we still managed to beat
two boats, plus we were right behind the boats that beat us.”
Chin noted the change in dynamic from last year’s team. “The
team is much different than last year,” she said, “The amount of
power these women have is amazing.”
“All it is is this heart and this dedication,” said Zamora of
the team’s attitude.
The fall semester is primarily training and conditioning for the
crew team, with the majority of races taking place in the spring.
This race marked the end of practice for this semester. So, are
they going to miss the early morning practices for the next two
“Hell no.” said varsity member Zach Gagnier. “You always miss
crew, it’s like crack – you miss it, you want it, you need it.”
Teammate Chin echoed her comments. “You feel like you’re going
to pass out, puke, and die, but you never quit.”
The team also raced in the Head of the Americas in Sacramento on
Saturday. Final scores from all the races are posted online at the
Row2K Web site.