To kick off its fall season, the 2018 ACC Champion Virginia women’s rowing team headed to Boston to compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta Oct. 20 and 21— one of the largest rowing competitions in the world. This year, the event hosted just under 11,000 competitors, ranging from high school division to master’s division, and the Cavaliers finished in fifth place. Last year, the two-time NCAA champions finished fourth in the College Championship Division of the regatta, finishing the 5,000-meter course in a little over 15 minutes. After this promising finish, the Cavaliers ended last season with a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Virginia started out the race strong, jumping out to the second fastest start in the Collegiate Championship Division, going from the start to the Riverside Boat Club in 3 minutes and 55 seconds. Stroked by sophomore Emily Ashton of Albany, N.Y., the team finished with a final time of 17 minutes and 30 seconds, six seconds shy of fourth-place Yale and 32 seconds shy of first-place Stanford. Rounding out the top-five were last year’s national champions, the California Golden Bears, in second, followed by Princeton in third. Virginia’s next regatta is the Rivanna Romp on Nov. 11. This 4,000-meter is the team’s only home regatta of the year. Last year, the Cavaliers’ first Varsity Eight finished first, beating the likes of Louisville, Duke, Penn and Columbia.