The Lehigh Mountain Hawk's Men's varsity eight practice on the Lehigh River on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Lehigh won six of eight races during the Frostbite Regatta on Nov. 9, 2019, on the Cooper River. (Sally Gu/B&W Staff)

Rowing braves the cold to find victory in Frostbite Regatta

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The men’s and women’s rowing teams competed at the Frostbite Regatta on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Saturday, Nov. 9, winning six of eight races to round off the fall season. 

All five of the women’s boats won their respective races, including the freshmen four and eight, as well as the varsity four and both eights. On the men’s side, the first varsity four won its race, while the freshmen eight finished third out of five. The second varsity four finished last out of four boats in its event. 

“It was a very exciting day,” senior Ally Connors said. “It was nice to have such great success to finish off the fall season and take us into the winter, where we will be training to continue building on that success.”

Aligning with the spirit of an impending Le-Laf week, the Mountain Hawks triumphed over the Leopards in both of the races Lehigh and Lafayette directly competed in—women’s varsity four and men’s first varsity four.

Coach Brian Conley said the team was able to use its shortcomings at the Navy Day Regatta in October to its advantage at Frostbite, learning from mistakes that previously held the Mountain Hawks back. 

“Since Navy Day, we’ve talked a lot about how important the process is, more so than the result,” Conley said. “We came back from that regatta, figured out what we had done wrong and started to apply the things we needed to do on a daily basis, so it wasn’t a surprise that we were able to execute those things (at Frostbite) because we had done them consistently for multiple weeks in practice.” 

The men’s team has been struggling with a number of injuries and its roster is not as deep as the women’s team’s. Despite these challenges, senior Scott Price said there is no one individual holding the team back. 

“From top to bottom we’re really strong,” Price said. “We don’t have a large roster, but it’s a consistently strong roster. The saying, ‘You’re only as strong as your weakest link,’ doesn’t really apply to us, because we don’t have a weakest link.”

With the culmination of its fall season, the rowing team will head indoors and train in anticipation for the spring’s regattas. Conley said the team’s areas of focus are strength improvement, fitness and finding more speed on the water. 

Some of Lehigh’s competition, including Navy and Georgetown, have demonstrated their speed in recent competitions. Although the Mountain Hawks have been making strides throughout the fall, the interim months will be crucial in determining where the team will be come spring, Conley said. 

“Winter is where your season is made or broken,” Conley said. “You either get in the best shape of your life and take winter break seriously with your training, or you come back out of shape and your spring isn’t so good. We’re going to make sure we’re coming back in shape.” 

Lehigh’s spring season will begin with the team’s return to the Cooper River on Mar. 21, to compete in the Murphy Cup.

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