UR and Rochester Institute of Technology co-hosted the re-named Head of the Genesee Regatta on Sunday, Oct. 8.

“The regatta highlighted the 25th anniversary of the UR Crew Team,” head coach of the men’s and women’s crew team William Green said.

Green estimated between 4,000 and 8,000 spectators attended the regatta that included 1,300 athletes from 43 teams. Athletes were from eight high schools and 35 colleges and universities, of which four are of club status, including Rochester.

The Regatta’s races also included the Corporate Challenge: a race between seven boats hosted by various businesses that donated a particular amount of money and, in return, eight of their employees were taught to row.

Non-racing entertainment activities included student a capella groups from UR and RIT, jugglers, balloon sculptors and various food vendors.

“The regatta does a lot for the city,” senior captain of the women’s team Amanda Michaud said, “it does a lot for the University, so many people come.”

The Head of the Genessee includes both head and sprint races. The head race is five kilometers with teams starting individually. From the head race, teams qualify for the sprint race of 1.5 kilometers where two boats race simultaneously in heats. A team’s score is determined from the combined outcomes.

“When you talk to rowers at other universities, they consistently say [Head of the Genesee] is one of their favorite regattas” Michaud said. “They really like the courses, they like the atmosphere, they like the combination of the head piece and the sprint.”

UR had two men’s eight boats and one women’s eight and one women’s four competing.

Finishing fourth of 23 collegiate teams was a men’s eight boat.

“It went well based primarily on an outstanding performance in the head race,” Green said.

Junior captain Cody Hillin agreed.

“In the head race we started out really hard because we’re young and anxious,” he said. “But then we settled into a good rhythm and pounded it down the course.”

The men’s second boat was 20th but managed to beat the varsity boats from SUNY Geneseo and Skidmore College along with Williams College’s second boat.

Currently, sophomores row in sixteen of the eighteen available spots in the top two men’s boats.

“Despite their youth, their results thus far have proven encouraging and are due in part to the experience they gained competing at the varsity levels last spring as well as the camaraderie they developed as freshmen” Green stated.

The women’s eight boat finished fifth out of 25 collegiate entries.

“The head race was encouraging because the women improved this week to come within one minute of the University of Western Ontario, the champion of the women’s Open Division at the Head of the Trent,” Greene said.

The women’s four boat, consisting of young rowers, finished tenth in a race dominated by Division I universities.

“In light of that they did a good job,” Green said.

While the women’s team has struggled with injuries, Greene is confident of their abilities.

“I’m unsure they realize how fast they can be,” Greene stated. “The team is a perfect blend of youthful exuberance tempered with upper-class experience.”

This fall the crew team has 31 novices – 17 men and 14 women – and three freshmen with previous rowing experience. This weekend, the novices will participate in their first regatta hosted by Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

The next varsity men’s and women’s team race is at the Head of the Charles, the world’s largest two-day regatta, on Oct. 21 – 22 in Boston.

“The team hasn’t been satisfied with dominating our division, so we’re raising the bar higher and higher, going to tougher regattas,” Michaud said.

Erickson can be reached at


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