Boat Blessing a `Special Day' for Santa Clara University

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University's 2010 edition of its Black Velvet event - commemorating the beginning of the spring rowing season - drew a large crowd and the University's most prominent officials.

University President Father Michael Engh, S.J., was on hand to welcome five new boats, three for the men's program and two for the women's team. `The Demander' - the men's newest shell - was made possible by fundraising through SCU's young alumni. The christening was followed by an alumni row, in which 20 alumni made their return to the water.

"Everything clicked so well," said Santa Clara head men's crew coach Wieslaw Kujda. "Awesome performance from everyone involved: athletes, athletic department, alumni and the University. There was a big crowd and everyone was so happy."

The day began with an extended ceremony at the SCU boat house (at Lexington Reservoir) and concluded with a banquet at David's Restaurant in Santa Clara. The 2010 season marks the 45th anniversary of the Santa Clara men's crew program.

"The recognition and support from the University carries so far," added Kujda. "It allowed all of our alumni and everyone involved, including our athletes and parents, to see how much the program is supported. A special day; because it is now 45 years and going strong."

The season officially begins for both teams the weekend of March 6-7. The men's team goes to Redwood Shores to compete against Stanford on the 6th while the women's team travels to Lake Natoma in Sacramento. Both programs will compete in the UC Davis Invitational at the Port of Sacramento, March 7.