Jan. 24, 2002
by Brian Betz, staff writer
The Santa Clara
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With the spring season only a couple of months away, both the men's and women's crew teams are able to rest easy at night, knowing that their preseason training has put them in an excellent position for the 2002 season.
Fourth-year Head Coach Jay Farwell leads a men's team that looks to turn some heads in the West Coast Conference, and improve on last year's mediocre finish at the WIRA Championships in late April.
Team captain and standout portside rower Sean Eirich anchors a varsity squad that is feeling the blow sustained when seven varsity rowers quit just a few weeks ago. Despite the setback, the team still has the bulk of its varsity roster, along with some 30-plus freshmen that have turned out for the novice squad. The high turnout will help to continue the Broncos strong traditon of quality rowers.
Two-a-day practices have been the theme for men this winter, as they have commuted between the Lexington Reservoir and the Santa Clara campus in preparation for the grueling season. The earlier mornings are crucial to the teams success, this is where conditioning is formed and individuals become one team.
The women are at full stride in their training under first-year Head Coach Stephanie Shepherd. A Santa Clara alum herself, Shepherd rowed for the Broncos from 1994-1998. She served as an assistant for the past two years before being given this opportunity to coach a team that tied for third at last year's WCC Championships. She has implemented a similar regimen as that of the men, with workouts six days a week.
Early morning water practices coupled with evening weightlifting and conditioning drills reflects the hard work required to ensure a successful year. There is no doubt that it will be needed if they hope to dethrone powerhouse Gonzaga and prevent them from attaining what the Bulldogs aspire to, a sixth consecutive WCC crown.
"I feel that we have the talent to compete with every crew team in the conference," Shepherd said. "Gonzaga has dominated the competition since the league's birth roughly five years ago, and are expected to be fast again this year. I feel that we are working hard to compete with not only Gonzaga, but San Diego and LMU as well."
Both teams make the trip to Sacramento for Erg testing on Feb. 9 before starting their respective seasons in early March. If the dedication displayed this off-season is any indication, both teams should have something to smile about come May when the long winter pays off and champions are crowned.