PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania heavyweight rowing team is primed and ready for the 2005-06 season. The Quakers are coming off a season in which they proved that they can be competitive in the Ivy League and in the Northeast. With another year of experience under their belts, the Red and Blue are determined to show what they can do and return to the medal stand.
Like last season, a commitment to training during the off-season and developing an increased work ethic will again be essential as Penn tries to achieve its goal of being in medal contention at both the Eastern Association of Collegiate Rowing (EARC) Sprints and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Regatta.
To complete this task, Head Coach Stan Bergman blends a talented mix of upperclassmen with sophomores that had an outstanding rookie debut. For leadership, Bergman will look to seniors Nate Allen and Kevin White to take over roles as captain and commodore, respectively.
“This is the third year on varsity for both Nate and Kevin,” Bergman said. “They are very experienced and talented athletes that came from strong backgrounds in high school. I expect them to provide the necessary leadership to help propel us to the upper echelon of Ivy rowing.”
Allen and White are just two of four members of the senior class. Timothy Parks and T.J. Massey will also help provide leadership to the underclassmen.
The junior class returns with another year of solid experience under their belts. As sophomores last season, many of the nine members split time on varsity and second varsity. The majority of the class helped the Quakers’ second-varsity eight to a ninth-place finish at the Eastern Sprints and an 11th-place finish at the IRA Regatta. The sophomore class returns to the banks of the Schuylkill after an impressive rookie campaign in which they placed fourth at both the Eastern Sprints and the IRA Regatta. The class posted a 7-1 mark on the season with the lone loss coming against Harvard during the Adams Cup.
It was a race in which the Crimson squeaked by with a 2.1 second victory. “I expect the sophomores to take the experience they gained last season and transfer it over to this season,” Bergman said. “They’re bigger and stronger and will definitely challenge for time on the varsity.”
Novice coach Seth Brennan has added another excellent group of freshmen to the Quakers’ roster for the third-straight season. Several of the newcomers rowed at the Junior World camps over the summer months
and bring with them solid experience.
“Seth has recruited another strong class and we are anxious to see what they can accomplish this season,” Bergman said.
A solid fall schedule has prepared the Quakers for an even more challenging spring.
“We put in a great deal of miles during the fall season,” Bergman said. “We stress technique and develop a training base that will prepare us for the tough spring schedule.”
The spring season begins on March 25 as the Quakers travel to the Windermere Classic in Redwood Shores, Calif. The Henley-style event features crews from 18 of the top programs in the nation, including host Stanford.
“We use this event to gauge how we measure up against other schools,” Bergman said. “What we learn in California will help us tremendously as we continue on into the championship season.”
The annual cup races will begin on April 8 as Penn travels to Princeton for the Childs Cup. The Quakers will become familiar with life on the road as they will only have one home event in the spring. The Red and Blue will host Northeastern on May 14 as the two teams vie for the Burk Cup.
Despite a tough championship season on the road, Penn is ready for the challenge and looks to return to the top of the Ivy League and continue its winning tradition.