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Ursula Ahrens, Laura Hamm and Victoria Gamble row on the Schuylkill. The Quakers finished 16th at the Head of the Charles over the weekend. (Alexandra Channing/The Daily Pennsylvanian)

This past weekend, the Penn women's crew team traveled to Boston for the 36th annual Head of the Charles Regatta. The Quakers varsity eight boat finished 16th out of 57 teams from across the nation with a time of 17:34.17. Penn coach Barb Kirch said she had hoped for a finish in the top 15 spots. "The results are fine. I am not excited or upset about them," Kirch said. "We fared better last week [at Navy Day], but we rose to the occasion and tried hard." Kirch felt the Head of the Charles was a positive experience for the Red and Blue. "Any chance we have to race, we learn something," Kirch said. "It was a good experience for us with conditioning, racing and seeing the teams we will be racing in the spring season." The Head of the Charles is a rowing extravaganza that attracts 300,000 spectators, and the varsity eight race is a highlight of the weekend. Each of the 57 crews in the race started sequentially, approximately 15 seconds apart. The Quakers were the 40th squad to get going. The Red and Blue finish off their fall season with two races this weekend. On Saturday, the Penn women will be at home, participating in the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. Then, on Sunday, they will race in the Princeton Chase. Penn won the Head of the Schuylkill last year, and the Red and Blue hope to repeat their victory this season. However, the competition will be much more difficult this time around. The Quakers will be racing against powerhouse teams such as Michigan State, Miami and Syracuse. "Syracuse will be a big challenge," Kirch said. "They finished fifth in the Head of the Charles and appear to be faster than they were last year." Many of these teams will stay over and face Penn again on Sunday in the Princeton Chase, a varsity-only race. All of this makes this weekend a vital one for the Quakers. Kirch has high expectations for her athletes. "We will definitely race with the confidence we have built up over the fall season," Kirch said of the upcoming weekend. This weekend's challenging races will help to serve as a primer for the Quakers' preparation for their spring season. In the spring season, the Penn women will match up against rivals in direct competition, rather than in head races. Until then, the Red and Blue have the events of this weekend to conclude what has been a successful fall season thus far.

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