Hall of Fame Focus: 1997 Crew

Nov. 13, 2008

• Hall of Fame Focus: Hope Solo
• Hall of Fame Focus: Mary DeLay
• Hall of Fame Focus: Chris Magruder
• Hall of Fame Focus: Mark Stewart

On Friday, Nov. 14 the University of Washington will officially induct the 2008 Husky Hall of Fame class. The 1997 women's crew and 1997 men's Varsity Eight are among the inductees. Sabina Teleska, a member of the 1997 women's Varsity Eight team who would go on to win two national titles and two All-American honors and Silas Harrington, a 1996 & 1997 all-conference rower, both talked to GoHuskies.com about the 1997 season.

Sabina Telenska, Women's Crew, 1997-2000

What does your induction into the Husky Hall of Fame mean to you?
Sabina Telenska:
'It's very exciting. I didn't understand how big of a thing it was back then when we won. As I graduated and as I understand the culture here, I know how much of a big deal it is then when I was rowing back then. I think everybody on the crew team is excited because it was the first time that a UW team won. It is exciting to be in the hall of fame with a whole boat.'

How excited are you to celebrate with your teammates?
'There are a few us around [Seattle] so we see each other every once in a while, but it is very definitely exciting to see everyone else again. I can't believe that it has been 10 years since we rowed. It makes me feel very old, but I'm very excited.'

Looking back at the championship race, the Varsity 8 won by over six seconds. Do you feel like you were a dominate team?
'It was kind of crazy. I didn't expect it. We were winning throughout the whole year, but it was still weird. We just went out and rowed and it was like `wow, this is easy.''

For information on tickets for the Husky Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 pm, please call 206.685.3739.

What do you think was the key to your team's success?
'I think we had a very good returning team from the seniors from the year before. We had a very strong team. Jan [Harville] was an amazing coach. It just all fell together. It was the right people at the right time. It was an amazing experience, definitely.'

How did your experiences at the University of Washington prepare for the next stages of your life?
'I had a lot of learning lessons in school that I definitely used later on and prepared me for life. Coming from the Czech Republic, I wasn't used to structure at all. It kind of put me in the right path.'

How much pride do you take in the current success of the Husky Crew program?
'It's very exciting for sure. With how well the girls did last year at the NCAAs. [The Conibear Shellhouse] is the best boathouse in the United States. There are the best conditions and you can row all year long. There is no reason that teams shouldn't be good at the UW. There is great coaching. It was kind of sad a few years ago when they didn't do as well, but they seem to be back on track now and winning championships are in their future. The facilities are so amazing and they are so lucky to have them. I'm so happy that there are so many people that support the crew team. It's just amazing.'

Where are you living now and what do you do?
'I live in Seattle in Wallingford. I work as a financial analyst. I just stayed here. I never planned on staying in Seattle but I ended up really liking Seattle and I'm really happy here.'

Silas Harrington, Men's Crew, 1995-97 letterman

What it means to you as a rower and a University of Washington student to be going into the Husky Hall of Fame with your teammates there?
Silas Harrington:
'I think it's a tremendous honor and when I go back and look at the over hundred years of Husky athletics and athletic achievement. TO be considered for membership in the hall of fame at a school with a great tradition in athletics is a very high honor and something that I really looked forward to.'

You won the final varsity eight race by three seconds over Brown. Did you feel like a dominate team? What do you remember about that team and the makeup and mindset as you went to these championships?
'I think that I was fortunate to be rowing with seven other rowers that really had a singular purpose going into that year. The prior year (1996) at the IRA Championships we exceeded people's expectations. We had a lot of good athletes that were seniors in '95, and people didn't really expect to go very far in '96. We ended up going a lot further than people expected, but ended up coming a little short of where we thought we would achieve. Starting in the fall of '96 and then throughout the spring campaign you had eight oarsmen and a coxswain who were really focused on winning that prize and we had a lot of confidence and I think that helped us to realize the goal that we had set for ourselves.'

Crew is not a typical sport high school athletes get into. How did you get involved in the sport?
' I went to Mount SI High School in Snoqualmie. I had grown up 30 to 40 minutes away from the university. I never thought going through high school that I was going to have an opportunity to compete at the college level. I played high school football.

'I got an opportunity to come out for the crew team my freshmen year. They've got some tremendous coaching and a really great program even for people that don't have any experience. I didn't have any experience going in. I had success my freshmen year and then I was able to make it into the varsity my sophomore year. Every year that I was there the boat that I was in won the Pac-10 championship -- my freshman year and then all three years I was in the varsity. The program, as it is today, was just very strong on both the men's and women's side. The women were also winning a lot of races, and it was a great boathouse to be a part of. Everyone was enjoying success and I think that just kind of builds on itself.

What are you doing with yourself these days?
'I'm down in the San Diego area now. I went to Law School then at the University of Washington after my rowing career. I met a beautiful gal on the swimming team, the only problem was that she was from California. After I graduated and we got married, this is where she dragged me.

Do you have kids?
'I've two young Huskies in the making. My daughter Kylie has just turned three and then we've got another young one. They are excited to come and see Daddy's last hurrah from his athletic days.'

Have you been talking not the guys on the team? How many of them are you expecting to see?
'I'm sure hoping that we see all of them. We got all of the members of boat, except for two, back for the 10 year anniversary. We did an event last spring. I think we may get them all up there [on Friday]. It's a tremendous group of guys and I love seeing them. I hope that I get to see them all.

How much Husky pride do you have down in San Diego when you see the Men's and Women's teams still doing so well nowadays?
'I'm thrilled about the crew team and how well they're doing!'

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