Fort Hunt survived a protest to capture the varsity-eight feature race yesterday in the third annual Head of the Potomac Regatta crew races.
Fort Hunt covered the 2.13-mile course in 12:38, seven seconds faster than rival T. C. Williams.
The victory was not enough to take team honors, however, as Williams, with three first places and five seconds, finish with 408.16 points. Fort Hunt was second with 342.27 and Washington-Lee third, 188.33.
THe Williams' girls dominated their division, capturing four of five events to easily win the team title.
Fort Hunt's varsity-eight victory, its second in three meetings with Williams, was questioned because the winners passed two team on the inside, or the closest point to the buoys. The Upper Merion and Atlantic City crews were forced a little wide on the slightly choppy water as a result of Fort Hunt's move and finished well out of the race.
After a long deliberation, the judges ruled that since none of the teams was seriously hampered and since the Upper Merion eight went wide on its own, Fort Hunt was officially declared the winner.
"We were boxed in a little and we had to paddle to get out of it," said Fort Hunt crew member Garrie Losee. "The wind hit us after we passed inside but we kept hollering to the bridge (finish line). T. C. made a move at us early when we slowed down but that was it."
"We just hit some bad water," said Williams coxswain David May, "it wasn't very smooth out there."
There was another mishap in the boys' lightweight and second varsity-eight races, which went off at the same time. All four lightweight crews and the Williams second eight drifted off course and crossed the finish line at Three Sisters Island on the District side rather than the official Virginia side.
"T. C. came over and moved us towards the rocks. All five boats were forced on the wrong side of the buoys," said Fort Hunt's Paul Normand. "I don't think we should be penalized for that."
All four lightweight crews were penalized 10 points but it didn't change the outcome of the race, won by Williams in 13:43.
Fort Hunt, which finished in 13:35 in the second varsity-eight race, moved up when Williams official time, following the 10-point penalty, was fixed at 13:36.
Williams' girls won the first and second eights, the novice fours and the lightweights. Fort Hunt claimed the victory in the third eight, nipping Williams by a second.