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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC men's rowing places 7th at Head of the Charles

The UNC men’s club rowing team placed seventh in the men’s collegiate fours race at the Head of the Charles Regatta on Sunday.

What happened?

UNC competed in a four-seat race against 43 teams. The Tar Heels were strong in the first half of the race, but came up short of a victory to finish in seventh.

After passing the first checkpoint in fourth place and the second in second place, North Carolina tapered off and couldn’t hold their speed. The team handled the windy conditions well in the first half of the race, but couldn’t keep fighting through the gusts they faced in the second half of the race. At the last checkpoint before the finish, the Tar Heels were in fifth, but by the finish they ended up in seventh.

The competing rowers, senior Kevin McGowan, junior Chase Fenske, junior Phil Simons and senior Jesse Chang, were called by senior coxswain Phoebe Castelblanco. McGowan, Simons and Fenske competed in the same event last year.

Who stood out?

Rowing is clearly a team sport, but UNC got some help from its experienced coxswain, Casteblanco, who has navigated the course before.

Coach Joe Holthaus said her experience helped guide the team to a strong finish.

When was it decided?

The Tar Heels looked strong through the first half of the race, placing second at the halfway point, but UNC couldn’t hold the position.

Fighting through the windy conditions was a challenge that the team was rose to early on, but a the weather proved to be a source of weakness later.

Holthaus said they faced particularly strong gusts above the normal wind in the second half of the race, and couldn’t keep up.

Why does it matter?

The last two years, the Tar Heels club rowing team placed fifth in the same men’s fours race. Holthaus said he had hoped for a better result, but said his rowers represented themselves well.

UNC finished above other ACC competitors, including Virginia, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.

Rowing in the fall is different from most regattas in the spring, as fall races are head races, which turn, while spring races are side by side and are straight, Holthaus said.

While preparing for the major races in the spring, this regatta will be a good benchmark to realize that the Tar Heels can be competitive in the first half of the race, but need to improve in the second half.

Where do they play next?

Both the men’s and women’s row in the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Nov. 5-6 for the final regatta of the fall.


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