Hitting some rough waters last season, Penn heavyweight rowing is ready to get back atop the Ivy League as they continue to strive to return the Red and Blue to their winning tradition.
An increased work ethic and commitment to training during the off-season is essential to achieving the Quakers goals of becoming medalists in the Eastern Association of Rowing College (EARC) Sprints and finalists at the IRA Championships.
But more simply, Head Coach Stan Bergman wants his team to be contenders. “The biggest thing I’m looking for this season is to be more competitive with others within the squad and the Ivy League.”
To do so, Bergman blends a talented mix of upperclassmen with a sophomore class that enjoyed a strong rookie campaign. For leadership, Bergman will rely on his captain John Straus and commodore Stuart Harty. Straus, a transfer student, has shown great leadership in his short time at Penn, while Harty has strived to excel.
“Straus will be a good captain because he’ll expect big things from his teammates,” Bergman said. “Harty is the hardest worker and perhaps the best athlete on the team and will set a standard for others to follow. The team’s commitment level will be high with those two at the helm.”
The junior class which is comprised of eight members, including Nathaniel Allen and Kevin White who were in varsity boats last season. The group is bigger and stronger this season and is expected to have a solid year.
As for the sophomores, many are expected to challenge for time on the varsity boat. With 15 student-athletes, the class is by far the largest and has the chance to make another big impact on the program. Last year the freshman eight placed fourth, while the second freshman eight took second at the EARC Sprints. At the IRA Regatta, the freshman eight recorded a seventh-place finish while the freshman four with coxswain took fourth.
“We look forward to having this group with us over the next three years,” Bergman said. “With continued training and experience, there’s no telling what these individuals can do at the varsity level.”
The 2004-05 season gets underway on Oct. 16 as Navy Day is hosted on the waters of the Schuylkill River and the Quakers will be ready.
“Our traditional schedule is always tough with the big cup races,” Bergman said. “During the fall we will put in a great deal of miles and will work on our technique as well as the development of a good training base and special rowing skills.”
Penn’s season will be highlighted by an appearance in the Windermere Classic hosted by Stanford. The Henley-style event features crews from 15 of the best schools in the nation, including Stanford and Cal-Berkeley.
“By taking part in this event we can gauge how we measure up with other schools around the nation. What we learn there will help us through the rest of the championship season,” Bergman said.