Crew team looks forward to upcoming season after missing out on the previous season

Crew team looks forward to upcoming season after missing out on the previous season

After having their season suddenly canceled due to COVID last year, the girls and boys crew teams are looking to have a breakout season and make up for the time lost on the water last year.

With several impactful seniors graduating, the teams are fueled by their returning rowers’ potential as leaders of the program this year.

The cancellation of last season was a big blow to the entire team,” head coach Pete Ross said. “The impact on our seniors was something that can’t be corrected.  They, like every other senior athlete, missed their last chance to row for FHC. For others, it took a toll because they missed the chance to build their skills and to enjoy our sport.” 

For the girls team, the loss of 2020 graduates such as Sarah North, Lindsay Cool, and Kendra Wolfis will prove to be difficult given that they were leading rowers for FHC for their whole high school career. However, they do have several upperclassmen that have proven their worth as experienced rowers and leaders. 

Senior Valerie Greenwood, a four-year rower and one of this season’s co-captains, along with newly-acquired junior, Lauren Speicher, will be huge assets in the team’s success this season. 

On the women’s varsity team, Valerie Greenwood and Lauren Speicher are two stand-out rowers,” senior Abigail Cool said. “Valerie embodies the perfect demonstration of dedication and humbleness, and she is an amazing rower in terms of strength and flexibility. Lauren is our new addition this year, transferring all the way from Chicago. She has already demonstrated an immense aptitude for rowing and I expect to see her in our senior eight because of that.” 

On the boys team, they also lost several key rowers like Harry Hill and Benny Kavara. Similar to the girls squad, these two were both four-year rowers and were integral parts of the team. Without Harry and Benny at the helm, the several returning seniors will need to provide an added dose of experience to the team. 

“Harry and Benny were both huge pieces in our success last season,” senior Joshua Phillip said. “But our new captains, seniors Caleb Scholtens and Ben Busch, are stepping up already. They both have great timing and added extra power to the boat.” 

Given that both of these teams have not competed since 2019, they are headed into the 2020-2021 season without a clear idea of what to expect. In previous years their biggest competition has come from Rockford, East Grand Rapids, and the state championship regatta at Riverside. 

However, despite the pushbacks due to restrictions in gatherings, the team has been rigorously training since this past June in preparations for their spring season. They were even able to fit in a short fall and winter season.

“Many of our crew athletes condition and practice all year long in preparation for the season,” coach Ross said. “We are really proud of the fact that we have found a way to keep our athletes working and rowing throughout the Pandemic.  It’s great for our team and a great way for our athletes to be engaged in physical activity and to be connected to each other.” 

With such an unpredictable year, the crew team will take advantage of every regatta they can take part in. Starting off their season this Saturday, March 27, the team will be competing in their annual sprint time trials. 

“One thing I am most excited about for this season is being able to row full eight-boats again. In the fall season this year, although we still had crew, it was extremely limited and we had to keep every other seat open to maintain safety,” Abigail said. “For the spring season, we still have a lot of precautions such as masks and weekly covid testing, but they’ve allowed us to grow every single seat in our boats as well as getting practices back to their normal size which is very exciting for us.”