Rockford Rowing Rocks the Head of the Charles

Just some of the many community who travelled to Boston to support the Rockford Rams. Photo by Aaron Sundman
Rockford Rowing at the start line of the Head of the Charles Regatta. Photo by Aaron Sundman

On October 21, 2018, Rockford Rowing made their fourth visit to the world’s largest two-day regatta, the Head of the Charles in Boston, Massachusetts.  The event was first held in 1965 and is a three-mile course where athletes race down the Charles River rowing through the brisk New England Fall temperatures.  More than 11,000 athletes from all over the world compete in 60 different race events, with limited opportunities for high schoolers to enter.  The event attracts hundreds of thousand spectators during the October weekend.

Athletes included Rockford Senior Emma Lassig, Juniors Callie Perini, Sophie Stauffer, and Amelia Sundman, and Sophomores Hannah Burmania and Courtney Cocuzza.  They placed a very respectable 49th place finish in the Youth Fours event, which had 85 of the top boats in their age category from all over the world.

Rockford Rams breaking down for the race. Photo by Aaron Sundman
Rockford Rams Emma Lassig, Callie Perini, Courtney Cocuzza, Amelia Sundman, Hannah Burmania and Sophie Stauffer. Photo by Aaron Sundman

In addition to the Charles River being rowed by the Rockford Rowing Varsity Four plus Coxswain boat at the world renowned event, Rockford Rowing alumni and current collegiate rowers Elaina Loveless and James Anderson competed with their college teams.  Loveless, a freshman at Northeastern University located in Boston, Massachusetts, followed up her 28th place finish in 2017 at the Head of the Charles as a Senior in Rockford Rowing with her first Club Eight competition with Northeastern.  They rowed to an exciting 8th place finish at this year’s event.

Assistant coaches Grant Hoffman and Lilah Cisco, along with Head Coach Dilan Itter join members of the Rockford Rowing Team and alumni at the Northeastern University Boathouse to congratulate Elaina Loveless. Photo by Aaron Sundman
Rockford Alumni and College Rowing Crew Sam Hintz (Wellesley College), Claire Sundman (Boston University), Meriah Gannon (MIT), and Rose Sears (Smith College) on the shoreline cheering their former teammates. Photo by Aaron Sundman

Rockford Rowing alum and University of Michigan sophomore James Anderson competed his way into U of M’s boat of top 8 rowers, joining six U of M Seniors and one Junior.  After a disappointing 4th place finish last year, the U of M Men’s Collegiate Eight boat earned their second gold medal at the Head of the Charles.  Michigan competed against 34 other entries to claim their title and their first Head of the Charles gold medal in the event since 2014.  “It was the hardest race of my life,” said Anderson.  “It was a tough race with really tough conditions, some of the worst I’ve seen.  When we got to smooth water, however, it clicked and we flew for the last 1000 meters.”

(Supplied Photo) Rockford Graduate James Anderson, 2nd from right, earns a Gold Medal at the Head of the Charles with his University of Michigan teammates. Photo by the Anderson family.

Additional Rockford Alumni and current or former rowers for Wellesley College, Smith College, Boston University and MIT, were able to join the spectators on the shoreline and root for the Rams in the Orange and Black.   Girls Varsity Head Coach Dilan Itter offered encouragement to the girls moments before they launched for the start of the race.  “You guys got this, just race your race and stay focused on it.  Just make it the best race,” said Itter.  “Have some fun; we’re at the Charles.”  Assistant Coach Grant Hoffman noted following the race, “It was the best race I’ve seen these girls have.  They should be really proud.”

As the athletes broke down the event with the traditional, “What have we got on three?  What have we got on three?  One.  Two.  Three. Rams!” the Ram pride could be felt and seen in Boston.  The West Michigan athletes rowed away with a lifetime of memories and the continued bond that the rowing community provides for all involved.

To learn more about Rockford Rowing, visit www.RockfordRowing.com.