Fort Hunt won its first boys varsity eight crew race in four years yesterday as the Federals defeated Woodbridge by six seconds in the Potomac Invitational Regatta at Thompson's Boat Center.
The strong current and debris in the rain-swollen Potomac forced head official Bill Fritts to forego stake boats in favor of a floating start. Even so, the pace was sluggish from Three Sisters island past Key Bridge, where Fort Hunt made its move.
"We were behind about four seats (half a length) at the bridge so we did a power 20 to get moving," said coxwain Tara Rietdorf. "We sprinted almost the entire rest of the way. I know that you're not supposed to do that, but I felt they could take it. Matt Taylor (stroke) and Ralph Taylor (seven-man) kept us steady and we never let up."
Fort Hunt lost to T.C. Williams in last weekend's Cherry Blossom regatta, but the Titans' varsity eights competed at St. Andrew's in Middleton, Del., yesterday. Williams' lightweight eights rowed in the Potomac varsity race, but finished fourth.
"We lost by nine seconds last week after our two-man hit a log. It cost us five to seven seconds, but we still managed to finish second," said Rietdorf. "T.C. has dominated things for several years, but we've got a lot of confidence now."
Williams won the girls varsity eight race despite entering its junior boat. As with the boys, the Williams varsity eight was racing at St. Andrew's.
"We wanted to row against tough competition and we didn't have anything to lose by trying," said coxwain Melissa Goldblatt, who directed the Titans to a two-length victory over Yorktown. "We lost by just four seats to St. Andrew's varsity last week so we knew we wouldn't embarrass ourselves."
Protests because of equipment failures in the girls junior eight and the boys novice eight races were sustained by head judge Jack Coffey. As a result, Fort Hunt and Woodbridge will meet at a later date to decide second place in the boys race; the entire girls juniors race will be rerowed. A decision was made against further racing yesterday because of rough water above Key Bridge.