PHILADELPHIA - Greg Myhr, the Nicholas B. Paumgarten Head Coach of Men's Heavyweight Crew at the University of Pennsylvania announced the addition of 12 recruited student-athletes to his squad as members of the Class of 2015. They will join a heavyweight rowing program which won two Cup races in the 2011 season and finished 14th overall at the IRA National Championships.
The 12 rowers, who hail from a combined eight states as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, have won numerous state and national championships in their high school careers and will look to take the next step as they take to the Schuylkill River in the fall of 2011.
"We're truly excited about the incoming members of the Class of 2015 - they represent some of the best high school talent in this country, and we're confident that as a class, they will raise the bar here at Penn."
Meet the Penn Heavyweight Rowing Class of 2015 ...
Dara Alizadeh - 6'4 - Belmont Hill/Boston, Mass.
High School: Served as captain ... Coached by Christopher Richards ... 2011 Varsity 4+... 2010 New England Champion in 2nd Varsity 4+ ... 2010 undefeated season and New England team Champions ... 2 year letter winner Varsity Wrestling.
Why Penn: "The student body at Penn really stuck out positively to me. Everyone on campus seemed so accommodating and friendly when I visited the campus. Also, the campus in the middle of Philly was really something special."
Zachary Bandes - 6'5 - /Oldsmar, Fla.
High School: 2011 FRSA varsity fours champion ... 2011 Sarasota Invitational varsity fours champion ... Coached by Kevin Jacobs and Adam Stoll.
Why Penn: "Penn offers a rigorous academic program where I can challenge myself mentally, and also a work-intensive athletics program where I can push myself physically. It is the place that offers the perfect balance for what I want to do in college."
Elliot Benton - 6'7 -The McCallie School/Chattanooga, Tenn.
High School: Served as captain while rowing in Seat 6 ... 2011 Dogwood Regatta varsity eight champion ... Second place at 2011 Head of the Hooch in the varsity eight ...Coached by Prentice Stabler.
Why Penn: "I appreciate Penn's academic reputation and the city's enthusiasm for rowing."
John Bergantino - 6'4 - Belmont Hill School/Lexington, Mass.
High School: Served as captain ... 2010 national champion in varsity fours ... Two-time New England champion in varsity fours ... In Belmont Hill's ergometer Hall of Fame in the 250m, 1000m and 1500m, holding school record in the 250m ... Coached by Christopher Richards ... Three-year starter on football team ... Served as team captain ... Named team MVP ... Two-time All-Independent Schools League ... NEPSAC All-New England ... ESPN Boston ISL All-Star ... 2011 Scholar-Athlete Award from National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame ... Three-year starter on wrestling team at 189 pounds and heavyweight ... 2011 ISL champion ... Placed fourth at the New England Championships.
Why Penn: "As someone who is interested in studying business, the Wharton School is as great an opportunity as there is. Add to that the great coaching staff and the location of Penn in Philadelphia, and the choice was clear."
Jonathan Hennessy - 6'3 - Lake Forest, Ill./The Lawrenceville School
High School: Two-time Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships junior eights champion (2010-11) ... 2011 Mercer Sprints varsity eight champion ... Three-time M.A.P.L champions (2009, 2010, 2011) ... 2010 Club Nationals varsity eight third place ... Coached by Benjamin Wright.
Why Penn: "The primary reason that I chose Penn is because it offers me the distinct opportunity to challenge myself in the realms of both academics and athletics. With the unparalleled academic opportunities presented at Penn, I will be able to pursue subjects as my interests develop. Likewise, the Penn rowing program is rapidly gaining steam under the new coaching staff. In this, I saw a perfect chance to be challenged and to compete at the highest level of collegiate rowing. In addition, Penn has an awesome campus in great city of Philadelphia, it is filled with brilliant and ambitious students, and its social scene is thriving. In short, Penn offers the perfect college experience for student-athletes."
Harry Holroyd - 6-7 - Bethesda-Chevy Chase/Chevy Chase, Md.
High School: Three-year member of the varsity eight, with time in the stroke seat ... Invited to 2011 Junior Sweep Selection Camp ... 2010 Scholastic Nationals Junior eights fourth-place finish ... Coached by Dan Engler ... Also lettered three years in basketball.
Why Penn: "Of all the coaches and programs I visited, I was most impressed and comfortable with the coaches, rowers, and program that Penn has to offer. The University of Pennsylvania is a very special place in terms of campus and location, and coupled with the rowing program that Coaches Myhr and Paradiso have put together, it was an easy decision."
Leonard Kaminski - 6'1 - Worcester Academy/Bolton, Mass.
High School: Served as team captain ... Named Team MVP three times ... Coached by Christopher Dow ... Finished top third at 2010 Head of the Charles ... Rowed with Bromfield Rowing and Essex Rowing Club ... Played football freshman and sophomore years.
Why Penn: "Ever since I first saw the school in seventh grade, I have wanted to attend Penn. Even once I started seeing other schools, Penn always rose to the top. With its amazing academics, location, and rowing program, I can't wait to come to Penn in the fall."
Louis Lombardi - 5'5 - St. Joseph's Prep/Huntingdon Valley, Pa.
High School: Served as captain and team coxswain ... Two-time Philadelphia City varsity eight champion (2010-11) ... Two-time Philadelphia Catholic varsity eight champion (2010-11) ... 2010 SRAA National Championships varsity eight champion ... 2010 Stotesbury Cup varsity eight champion ... 2011 bronze medalist at Stotesbury ... 2010 semifinalist in the Princess Elizabeth Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta ... 2010 Junior National Rowing Championships varsity eight champion ... Coached by Jim Glavin ... National Honor Society member ... 2011 Prep Spirit Award recipient ... Student Council vice president.
Why Penn: "Penn is the perfect fit for me. I am a Philly guy, and I love the city. Penn's diverse academic programs offer me the best possibility to fulfill my educational goals. In addition, its legendary crew program and boathouse are something amazing to be a part of. I plan to jump right into the mix of things come the fall both academically and athletically at Penn."
Joseph Simon - 6'6 - St. Mary's Prep/West Bloomfield, Mich.
High School: Served as team captain ... 2010 state champion ... Coached by Michael Pricer.
Why Penn: "Penn is the perfect combination of fantastic academics, a great rowing team and I had a great time visiting."
Matt Slodden - 6'5 - The Williston Northampton School/Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands
High School: Two-year varsity rower ... Named Team MVP in 2011 ... Coached by Kyle Maurer ... Rowed in Seat 6 of crew that qualified for Youth Nationals varsity eight in 2010 ... Rowed for the Northampton Youth and Community Rowing program ... Also played water polo and was a member of the swim team ... Part of the Arete Tutoring Society.
Why Penn: "I chose Penn because I wanted a university that offered the types of academic programs I was searching for via the Wharton School and also had a highly-competitive rowing team."
Alec Somers - 6'2 - Malvern Prep/Malvern, Pa.
High School: Served as captain ... 2011 Philadelphia City varsity quad champions ... Two-time Stotesbury Cup varsity quad champions (2010-11) ... 2011 SRAA Nationals champion ... 2010 Philadelphia City varsity pairs champion ... Coached by Craig Hoffman ... National Honor Society vice president ... Distinguished Honors student.
Why Penn: "I chose Penn because it offers me the ability to achieve great success academically and athletically at one of the beat universities in the country."
Robert Wallace - 6'3 - Fairfield Prep/Fairfield, Conn.
High School: Four-year varsity rower ... 2010 Youth Nationals men's pair third place ... 2010 Club Nationals junior double fourth place ... 2009 Club Nationals junior pair fifth place ... Coached by John Turner.
Why Penn: "Between the coaching staff, the team, the academics and the location of Penn, it was a no-brainer."