Crews Ready To Hit The Water For 2001
March 7, 2001
CORVALLIS, Ore. - -
`Work ethic' is the key phrase for Oregon State University women's crew this year, as the Beavers aim to overcome the loss of five rowers from the varsity eight boat that finished 15th at the NCAA Championships and third in the Pac-10 in 2000. The squad will thrive on hard work and perseverance to make up for what it may lack in size and experience this year, and is poised to earn another birth in the NCAA Championships.
Several sophomores, along with a few rowers from the Junior Varsity boat, have stepped up their performance and are pushing to accompany seniors Abby Roos, Cassie Bouska, and Jennelle Johnson in the varsity eight shell.
'Our strength is our work ethic,' head coach Charlie Owen said. 'It's very strong - everyone is driven to succeed and they're working hard.
'With the turnover we had from last year, there are a handful of sophomores that are really stepping up and doing well,' Owen said of this season's second-year rowers. 'There are possibly two or three women from the second varsity boat from last year who will row in the varsity eight.'
Along with a strong sophomore class, the Owen and the coaching staff had a successful off-season recruiting new talent.
'I'd say recruiting was successful this year,' Owen commented. 'We only have three experienced freshman on the squad, but there are some talented freshman athletes that are rowing that hopefully will be very competitive this spring.'
With NCAA Championship qualifications in three of the last four seasons, including a ninth-place showing in 1997, the Beavers have their sights set on making another run in the NCAA Championships.
'We're looking at trying to earn another trip to the NCAA Championships,' Owen said. 'It's a goal that our program will continue to have - to strive to do well at the NCAA Championships. It's part of our program, part of our plan. We'll be looking for some very tough competition from our Pac-10 opponents. Every year, our conference is getting stronger, and we've got to up the ante to stick with them.'
The 2001 Oregon State men's crew may be the deepest and most talented coach Dave Reischman has had in his seven years as the Beavers' head coach - a reassuring fact when one considers that the crew has suffered early-season injuries to several key rowers.
However, by midseason, things should be back in order and OSU should be gunning for its seventh consecutive appearance in the IRA Championships under Reischman.
'It's been an absolutely crazy year,' Reischman said of the young season in which OSU has yet to take to the water for a race in the spring. 'It's been frustrating in a lot of ways, and it's been rewarding in a lot of ways up to this point. At one point, we had amassed probably the best collection of talent from top-to-bottom that we've ever had in terms of having some depth that we haven't enjoyed in previous years.
'The guys have done an excellent job of working hard and making technical changes,' Reischman continued. 'Along the way, we've managed to come up with the most injuries we've ever had. Crazy things - and they all seem to be on the port side. Frankly, it's driving me half-batty. It's one of those things that we're thankful it's a long season, because it will probably be about the midpoint in the season that we get everybody back and healthy. Once we get everybody healthy, we're going to be okay.'
Senior Joey Hansen anchors the varsity eight boat, and there may be none better in the country to keep the Beavers up to speed while they overcome their injuries.
The Bakersfield, Calif., native went through the U.S. National Team testing, which essentially consists of rowing a timed 6,000 meters on an ergometer. Hansen turned in the best result of anyone in the country, including returning National Team rowers.
'He learned to row here, so technically, he's only got four years of experience under his belt compared to some of these kids who have seven or eight years, so he may be a little bit behind there,' Reischman said. 'But there isn't a stronger kid in the country physically.'
Hansen enrolled in a development camp over the summer, and that has paid huge dividends for him as well as the OSU varsity boat.
'He's really starting to figure things out as far as how to use his body and his legs more effectively, how to be a little smarter about his pacing and how he goes about his work,' Reischman commented. 'He's a talent, there's no doubt about it, and I'm glad he's in our boat.'
Though the immediate future is perhaps uncertain due to injuries, the long-term future is as promising as ever. The team landed a solid group of freshmen and novice rowers that should be the foundation for the future success of the program.
'We're pretty happy with the group of freshmen and novices that we have,' Reischman said. 'It may be, overall, our best group of athletes that we've had. In other years, we've had maybe two 225-pound guys that could really tear up the erg, and this year, they're more athletic. They're in the 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-5 range and 190 to 210 pounds. Long-range, I think they're going to be better for the program, and that's not anything we've done specifically, it's just sort of how it turned out. They're a good group of athletes and we're excited about their development.'
Despite injuries, given Reischman's track record of getting the most out of his teams and turning in prime-time performances at the Pac-10 Championships, it should come as no surprise to see the Beavers gliding through the waters of New Jersey's Cooper River at the 2001 IRA Championships in June.