Dudinski Returns to the Charles River; Rams Compete at HOCR

Photo Credit: Meg Ellis
Photo Credit: Meg Ellis

By Meg Ellis
GoRhody.com Staff 

Results: Alumni 8+ | Club 4+ | Club 8+

KINGSTON, R.I. - Each year, thousands of rowers gather along the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. for the world's largest two-day regatta, the Head of the Charles (HOCR). Sophomore Sarah Dudinski is one of Rhode Island's athletes racing at the regatta's 54th rendition this weekend.

For Dudinski, a former walk-on who joined the team as a freshman last fall, this will be the first head race of her career. In a head race, the boats cross the start line one at a time in set intervals and race over a long, winding course. Unlike the sprint races that take place in the spring, which are a straight 2,000-meter shot, it is difficult to tell where crews stand in relation to one another throughout the race.  

While Dudinski has yet to get a head race under her belt, she brings experience from other areas to the boat. A member of the Varsity 4 that placed fourth at the Atlantic 10 Championships last spring, Dudinski has competed at both the NCAA Championships and the Women's Henley Regatta. The Massachusetts native also spent the past summer rowing for the Under-23 team out of Riverside Boat Club, a fixture on the Charles river since its founding in 1869. 

"This summer, I learned about a completely different side to rowing," Dudinski said. "During the spring, the team was always focused on the one race we had per weekend. In the summer, we would race up to six times a weekend in six different boats with six different groups of people. You have to be flexible."  

The experience of the hectic nature of summer racing will aid Dudinski in this weekend's competition. This year's field includes over 800 different clubs with about 2,300 individual entries. Rhode Island has boats in the Club 4, Club 8 and Alumni 8 events. There are 54 boats entered into the Club 4, 33 entries in the Club 8 and 38 boats racing in the Alumni 8. While the number of competition, as well as their speed, may seem daunting, Dudinski is excited about the opportunity that this weekend presents. 

"The Charles has such a great atmosphere," Dudinski said. "There are so many different communities that come together both within and outside of the Boston/Cambridge area to make this race happen. They all come together to support the athletes. It's essentially the Boston Marathon of rowing."

This is Rhode Island's second consecutive year with entries in the Club 4 and Club 8 events. Teams can guarantee their entry for the following year's regatta by placing in the top half of their event, which Rhody did last year in both boats. The other half of the entries are determined by a lottery. This year's drawing selected Rhode Island for an Alumni 8 entry, allowing graduates the opportunity to race as a Ram once again.  

All Rhode Island boats will race down the 4,800-meter course on Saturday, October 20. All information regarding entries, start times and results can be found HERE

Women's Alumni Eight Lineup 
Cox: Lucy Moyes (Class of '18)
Kiana Anderson (Class of '18)
Allison Zolnowsky (Class of '15)
Mary Madden (Class of '15)
Hannah Milam (Class of '15)
Lotte Sherman (Class of '13)
Meghan Sickinger (Class of '14)
Lauren Smith (Class of '18)
Meghan Ellis (Class of '18)

Women's Club Four Lineup
Cox: Tory Bauer
Anna Sampson
Faith Hewitt
Rachel Fabel
Josephine Grady

Women's Club Eight Lineup
Cox: Karen Petrik
Maddie Van Ummersen
Kelsey Williams
Sarah Dudinski
Madalyn Saporito
Erin Shober
Jennae Alexander
Sage Iacovazzi
Kira McCully