The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Junior Sarah Lanter competes in the varsity-four race at Raptor Cup.
Photo credit: KIM PATRICK/The Falcon.
By JON HEDDLES,
Published: May 23 2012
All good things must come to an end, and for the seniors on the Seattle Pacific crew team, the collegiate rowing journey has drawn to a close. Whether they rowed for SPU all four years or joined midway through their time at the school, each person has impacted the program in their own way.
“To be able to learn our system and make it work can take years,” head coach Keith Jefferson said. “We lose a little maturity with each of these people leaving.”
It requires a lot of dedication and perseverance to be able to stick with a tough sport like crew year after year, which makes the Falcons’ few four-year rowers’ achievements even more impressive.
“We’re very sorry to lose any of the four-year types,” Jefferson said. “Katy Stine immediately comes to mind, as she has been here since her freshman year and took on the captain role for the women. She has been such a great presence and is thinking about maybe coaching for us … [Annie] Mulder has such a depth of experience and has been an absolute joy to have around here. We’re going to miss her spirit. Mackenzie Oscar has been helpful to both our women’s and men’s teams as both a rower and then a coxswain.”
The seniors on the women’s team experienced a somewhat disappointing end to their SPU career, as they did not receive an at-large bid for the NCAA Division II Regatta, breaking a streak of three consecutive appearances. The team still achieved a lot of success this season, however, and the seniors all stepped up in various roles for the team.
“On the men’s side, our four-year guy Will Kolb has made one of the greatest transformations I’ve ever seen,” Jefferson said. “We were very pleased to have his longevity, and we’ve really enjoyed having him around. Brandon Wagner joined us last year, and he’s a good athlete, a really tough kid. We’ll definitely be missing him as well.”
Although the departing seniors will leave some holes on the team, there is still a lot of promise in those returning. The men’s novice-four was the most pleasantly surprising boat for SPU this season, and it will bolster the varsity squad next year. The women have quite a few rowers leaving, but Jefferson is confident that the team can bounce back.
“There is renewal, and people always step up to take on new roles,” Jefferson said. “The women are losing quite a few out of the eight, so it’ll be curious to see if we can recover from that with our returners and new prospects. I’m not overly concerned, but I am cautious as it’s too early to tell. A lot of times second- or third-year rowers come back and really take off, so it’ll be fun to see.”
Jefferson will be entering his 23rd year as head coach of the SPU crew team next year. Having rowed for the school when he was in college and becoming an assistant coach after graduating, he has been a part of the program for over 30 years. He cherishes the opportunity to be able to coach for a school like SPU.
“Working with these young folks and watching them grow is the most fun part about coaching,” Jefferson said. “Also, being able to incorporate my faith with the sport in this environment has been very rewarding. To be able to mix what I enjoy with what I’m passionate about is a huge blessing.”
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