Lincoln School Places 4th in NEIRA Grand Final May 28, 2016

When a program that rowing out of the NBC boathouse does well, it is a reason to celebrate. Congratulations to the Lincoln School Crew! Here is a first hand report.

Worcester, MA/May 28: The morning heat of the NEIRA Championship Regatta on Lake Quinsigamond was going to be the best race yet for the Lincoln first varsity boat. Georgia Jones, Hannah Fitts, Portia Gaitskell, Caroline Morrow, and Coxswain Karla Monge backed into the start with ice stuffed into their hats and shirts. They also dipped their hats into the lake just a few minutes before the start to stay cool in the 93 degree weather. Calmed by familiar voice of Tony Palms, the Starter, they were able to focus all of their energy into propelling the boat instead of splashing around from all of the adrenaline. 

Going into the heat, the Lynx crew anticipated that this would be an extremely close race because the talent across all six lanes was very high quality. Lincoln flew ahead at the start, then raced in what they thought was second place until Karla told them that a surprise surge from BBN in lane 4 put Lincoln back into 3rd, just out of the Grand Final. So, they fought back and walked through the BBN at the halfway mark to regain their second place. As they approached the sprint they had a decisive lead over the rest of the field, aside from the Nobles crew in Lane 1. 

Crossing the finish line in second place, Lincoln's crew realized with pure happiness and gratitude for each other. They had made Lincoln history: they qualified for the Grand Final. 

After a few refreshing hours in the air conditioning at Panera Bread, the crew returned to the race the 1500 meter course for the Grand Final. They grabbed their hats and muddy socks from the ice coolers and launched, knowing that for these four seniors the next 6 minutes would be the last minutes of their Lincoln racing career. With utter confidence and very few words, Coach Dan Gorriaran and Assistant Coach Anne Fleet pushed the Lincoln boat off the dock for the last time. 

The start was absolutely all out. The Lincoln crew's excitement got them ahead, and for the first hundred meters they were hanging with three other crews in second place. Karla reminded them that "Right here! Right now!" was their last Lincoln race, and suddenly they were in the last third of the race, but in fifth place. 

Lincoln had originally been seeded 4th in the whole regatta, a spot that Lincoln School had never earned before, so the girls had to prove the seeding committee right. They had to prove that they had in fact earned that spot and that Lincoln could be a lot faster than anyone previously imagined. So, with 290 meters to go they began their sprint, and it was the fastest, most intense sprint of their season. Flying across the water at 40 strokes per minute, Lincoln passed Groton in the last five strokes, sliding into 4th place. The Final Results were: 1st Winsor, 5:32.322; 2nd Nobles 5:36.846; 3rd Deerfield, 5:42.445; 4thLincoln 5:44.982; 5th Groton, 5:46.058; 6th Hopkins, 5:54.995.

As a tribute to what they had accomplished, Hannah Fitts wrote: "We earned our place and proved our speed. We made Lincoln history and even more importantly we are leaving the course open for the next crews to come up and make up the seconds we didn't have to make the podium."

The Seniors in the boat were Georgia Jones, Hannah Fitts, Caroline Morrow, and Karla Monge. Portia Gaitskell is a sophomore. This crew finished the season with more victories than any previous Lincoln crew. They earned the highest seed (4th in the 1V) at the NEIRA and the highest finish (4th) and, as a result, are the fastest crew in Lincoln history. It's also important to note that the Lincoln 2V and 4V also qualified for the NEIRA and both finished 5th in the heats. The team point total put Lincoln 9th overall at the regatta. It is also important to note that the NEIRA comprises 35 schools that race fours. It has been an excellent spring season for Lincoln School's rowing program! 

Congratulations to entire rowing team, as well as Coaches Dan Gorriaran and Anne Fleet! Many thanks to Hannah Fitts who did the bulk of the writing for this story.
 

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