BLS Crew Competes in Head of the Charles


Robert Hale

BLS crew competes in the Head of the Charles.

For the first time in two years three of the Boston Latin School crew team’s boats competed in the Head of the Charles Regatta on October 24.

Arriving at 6:45 A.M. in 45 degree weather and 10 to 15 miles-per-hour winds, the boats completed their regular warmup routine, starting with a run before their respective races. Describing the pre-race atmosphere, Bryanna Upton (II), the girls’ crew captain, says, “We weren’t expecting anything huge, we realized we were going up against the world’s fastest high school teams and were more excited for the opportunity to be in this historic race.”

After the 2020 regatta was cancelled due to COVID-19, the teams viewed this as an opportunity to qualify for next year’s Head of the Charles and to enjoy the experience they were deprived of last year. The team qualified for the long awaited regatta.

This regatta in particular is known for bringing people from all around the world to come and compete. Nicolas L’Huillier (II) says, “It was very well-organized and definitely the most hyped up regatta I’ve ever gone to! It was crazy and I was really sort of starstruck by how big of a competition this was that I was competing in.”

The crews ranked 79th in the Women’s Youth Fours, 50th in the Women’s Youth Eights and 61st in the Men’s Youth Eights. Although the teams did not earn a qualification for next year’s Head of the Charles, they were happy with their performances and felt they had an advantage racing on a very familiar course.

The nine members of the boys’ team were especially satisfied with their race results, having moved up 16 places from their starting seed. L’Huillier continues, “We were sent out at number 80 out of 80 which means that you’re behind everyone else and you might get stuck in traffic or any jams in the bridges. But luckily none of that happened. It was a pretty good race overall and we felt like we did decently well,” The girls’ eight also beat their rivals, Brookline and Hingham, who had pushed them off of the podium in a previous race. 

Everybody enjoyed the day, motivated by the team’s spirit and  energy from the crowds, which included big time rowers and even some Olympians. “It was so much more intense [than the other races]. There were people everywhere,” expresses Ali Cajiga (III), the stroke seat of the girls’ eight. 

While racing, they had a strong sense of encouragement from the other BLS rowers as well. The unconditional support from both teammates and coaches raised the mood of the regatta.

With the winter season approaching, the teams head inside for training on ergometers, stationary rowing machines. The indoor season is a challenge, the rowers explain, because it is hard to stay engaged when they’re not on the water. The leaders of the crew team, however, are excited to gain strength and power in the coming months, hoping to bring home some hardware in the spring.