Boys and Girls Crew Both Entertain Thoughts of League Titles; Though Many Boys Return and Girls Need to Replace Rowers

The Andover Boys Crew Team recently began its 2006 season, with a mix of experienced rowers and quite a few novices. Last year, the team had a successful season as B1 finished second at Interschols, while B2 got edged out in the preliminaries, and B3 placed 5th in its race. This coming season looks promising and all are hoping for better places at Interschols. There are ten varsity returners this year, Karl Hirt ’06, Justin Yi ’06, Scotty Morgan ’06, Brian Shen ’06, Matt Weiss ’06, Rush Martin 07, Dougal Sutherland ’07, Geoff Martin ’07, and Chip Schroeder ’08. With so many returners, there will only be six open spots for the rest of the boys to fight for, and the decision will be difficult for the coaches to make. With many new rowers, as well as improved returners from lower boats, B3 should shape up to be quite competitive as well. Coach Peter Washburn says, “I’m guardedly optimistic. Right now we’re not in a total slam-dunk situation, but we are doing well. There are a lot of fast schools out there, and we simply hope to be one of them.” Some of the team’s rowers decided to compete in the Crash-B’s over spring break, which is a 2000 meter competition on an erg. Hirt performed exceptionally well, finishing 11th out of 172 with a time of 6:21. Beyond the rowers, though, are the all-important coxswains. Michelle Darby ’07 was the B1 coxswain last year, and Mia Kanak ’06 was the B2 coxswain last year. Both will continue coxing in their respective boats this year. Stacey Middlebrook ’07 is another returning cox, and she coxed the B3 boat at Interschols last year. The schedule ahead is grueling. Beyond Kent, B1-B3 have a race every single weekend until interschols on May 27th, while B4 and B5 will have fewer races, their spring will be difficult as well. The team feels confident that it can weather its tough schedule and have a good season. Under the leadership of Coach Kathryn Green and Captain Katherine Adams ’06 the goal for this year’s Girls Crew team is clear: to win first place at Interschols for all three boats, G1, G2, and G3. While this may seem a lofty goal, Captain Adams is confident that it can be achieved. She said, “I think that this is going to be a good season. We have a lot of experienced people, both returning and new to the team.” Captain Adams, Katie Faulkner ’06, and Erika Roddy ’07 are all returning to provide the team with some needed experience. Returning from G2 are Emily Chappell ’06, Jackie Price ’06, Pia Heilmann ’07, Olivia Coffey ’07, Erin Mullany ’07, Morgan Broccoli ’07, and Carly Villareal ’07. The team will be looking to the core group of seniors to help guide the younger players, while the uppers will be counted on to fill some big shoes. Captain Adams said, “We have some great novices, who are very strong and very fit. This is always good to see because technique can always be improved but strength cannot be coached.” Captain Adams also continued by saying, “It is great that we have so many new people and so many positions open because it makes the entire try-out process more competitive. This competition is good because it drives people and pushes them to row their best in every practice.” With their first race about two weeks away Coach Green has been focusing on technique. Once the rowers have learned the proper form and become accustomed to each other’s styles, everything will be much easier, and they can begin to focus more on speed, strength, and endurance. Also, by teaching proper technique from the beginning, only small improvements would be necessary as the season continues. The Big Blue will face an annually strong Kent team first. Captain Adams said, “Kent is the defending champion, while we would like to defeat them, this race will show us where we need to be, so that we can beat them at the Interscholastic Tournament.”