Stanford Men's Crew: Focused and Eager
May 11, 2006
In their 105-year history, the Stanford Men's Crew team has never enjoyed a season like this. There is something special about this year for the 2006 third-ranked Cardinal as they anxiously await the Pac-10 Championship in Rancho Cordova, California this weekend.
In his sixth year on The Farm, head coach Craig Amerhkanian has propelled the program to one of the nation's elite. Ranked second in the country a few weeks ago, they currently hold down the third spot, looking to capture top honors with a first place finish at this weekend's Pac-10 Championships. Their most formidable foe is perennial national powerhouse California. Head to head, Stanford first defeated Cal April 2, at the San Diego Crew Classic but was then edged out at the Big Meet on April 29. The Cardinal hope to take the season series in the form of a Pac-10 Conference Championship.
Amerhkanian credits his crew and their support staff for this season's unprecedented success: 'The men... have demanded a culture change that has empowered them to reap the rewards of their hard work. We have loyal friend and alumni base that contributes to our needs', Amerhkanian asserts.
The men understand just what their attitude and special work ethic have done for the program as well. They look to improve on their seventh place finish at last year's Intercollegiate Rowing Association national championship in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Amerhkanian explains what makes this team different and stand out: 'This team is driven from within. We don't let outside influences affect our work ethic and team goals. In the past the crew has been without facilities, leadership, vision and direction. I thank Ted Leland, Ray Purpur, and the Stanford family for their support', Amerhkanian emphasizes.
Unlike some of its competitors who are fully-funded, Amerhkanian and his team have overcome modest resources. The Cardinal are charting their own course in expanding the reach and influence of their program in a world of established champions without NCAA varsity sport status. Amerhkanian credits the dedication of loyal alumni and others to help Stanford Crew grow to what it is today.
'The Stanford rise is the best thing that has happened in rowing in a long time. Each year it is the same teams. The only thing more important than our development would be the growth of 20 more teams like us. This is why we need to be an NCAA sport', Amerhkanian asserts.
Stanford is setting a great example for other emerging programs. Amerhkanian sees the importance of this season to Stanford University and to the sport of Crew.
'The eastern schools have long standing traditions within their universities', Amerhkanian admits. 'On the west coast, we are learning how important rowing can be through the emergence of women's crew, excellent graduation rates, and life long commitment to the University by rowing alums'.
Stanford looks to join Cal as another Pac-10 team with a national championship to their name this year, but Amerhkanian and his team are not emphasizing the outcome as much as they are paying attention to the process and what has gotten them to this point- focus and attitude.
The Cardinal are approaching this weekend as a national championship, given the Pac-10 Conference's strength, and would like nothing more than to race to their potential- the only remaining team goal.
Amerhkanian credits all team members for this season's victories, and his varsity boat is lead by influential seniors Jake Cornelius and Adam Kreek.
With the two remaining events the tone of the team is, 'focused and eager', Amerhkanian declares. The crew's dedication and loyalty to each other and Stanford University is surely giving them a fantastic chance at the top prize at the IRA nationals in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Run during final exams, the IRA regional regatta hosts the nation's best and the Cardinal would like nothing more than to race for a championship in their last event of the season.
This championship holds high standards as Amerhkanian points out, 'In rowing there is a regional regatta called the IRA that tries to impersonate a national championship. It costs us $25,000 to attend, and only three years in the past 100 has it had full attendance from the top teams... I would like one set of rules where all crews are equal'.
This where the Stanford Crew support staff comes in.
'Our team is an extension of our families, friends, University and community. We value all of these external contributors and hope to exemplify their legacies at the highest level', Amerhkanian implores.
His oarsmen who represent Stanford University with such class and heart have certainly adopted Amerhkanian's gratitude.
With Amerhkanian at the helm, and such a tested team, the Cardinal can expect big things. 2006 Stanford Men's Crew is ready for a championship, and they hope to start with one at Sunday's Pac-10 Championship.