The women’s crew team started its year with a strong showing at the Head of the Housatonic on Saturday, including a win by one of its boats in the collegiate 8+ event by more than nine seconds. Yale raced four pairs, four 4+ and four 8+. The eights placed first, third and ninth in a race against other Division I teams. The fours placed second, third, fourth and eigth, falling to Radcliffe’s top boat, which clinched the first spot.

Races at the regatta are head races, in which boats compete with one another based on time trials.

At the collegiate level, none of the Ivy League attended until recently. But this year, Brown and Radcliffe competed in the regatta.

“Radcliffe is defending Ivy champion, they’re very good and have 14 seniors, whereas we have only four seniors,” head coach Will Porter said. “We are just happy to compete with Harvard women and Brown since they are our biggest rivals.”

Yale’s winning boat in the 8+ finished in 15:14.19, beating Harvard Radcliffe’s second place boat by more than 10 seconds and Brown’s fourth place boat by more than 23 seconds.

In the 4+ event, Radcliffe’s winning boat finished with 16:28.24, beating the second place Yale by more than 47 seconds. But Yale’s three top placing boats managed to place second, third and fourth of 15, holding off three more Radcliffe boats. Yale was the only team to compete in the entire open women pairs event and finished with times ranging from 18:27.93 to 19:26.99.

“It was the first time our freshman put on the Yale uniform and raced with the squad and became a part of the team,” captain Eliza Hastings ’13 said. “I was really pleased with how we raced, and I think we’re just going to keep trying to build our momentum.”

Porter said the team does not focus on the fall races.

“Our training is not geared toward the fall races, but it is geared toward the spring” he added.

The women’s crew team heads to Boston for the Head of the Charles in two weeks and then will round out the fall season with the Princeton 3-Mile Chase on Oct. 28.

“The Charles is definitely the biggest regatta of the fall season, so it’s always nice to get a chance to face off against some of our big competitors and get a look at early speed,” Madison Lips ’14 said.

She added the team will continue to train hard on and off the water.

The Elis will travel to Boston on Oct. 20 to compete at the Head of the Charles.