March 30, 2013
SEATTLE - The conditions were near perfect on this sunny Seattle Saturday for Washington Rowing to officially kick off their 2013 season with the 112th Annual Class Day Regatta. Fans, friends, parents, alumni, supporters and spectators lined the Montlake Cut to see the classes face off against each other in one of the Huskies' oldest rowing traditions.
The seniors flexed their muscles, winning the George M. Varnell Men's Eight by open water in the last race of the day with a time of 5:45.19. The senior shell was coxed by Seamus Labrum and stroked by Dusan Milovanovic. The seniors left no question about their victory, however, the fight for second place created a photo-finish opportunity. The runner-up race was so close that a video recording at the finish line had to be consulted for the replay to determine the order of finish behind the winning boat. After further review, the freshmen shell, or "grunties" as they are referred to in Conibear, claimed second place with a time of 5:48:68. The juniors (5:49.09) and the sophomores, or rookies (5:49.66), narrowly missed out on second place, with less than a second separating the three finishers.
After the conclusion of the races, spectators, parents, and friends joined the student-athletes on the dock of Conibear for the awards presentation. The seniors were presented with the George M. Varnell Class Day Award to crown their victory. Each member introduced himself, his hometown, and his major. Head Coach Michael Callahan then announced the award for Most Inspirational and the recipient of the Schaller Scholarship, given to the athlete with the highest GPA. Senior Robert Chavan recieved the team's most inspirational award, while sophomore Aleksander Malowany was presented with the Schaller Scholarship. Callahan also announced Alex Bunkers as the 2013 team Captain, as voted on by his teammates.
Callahan was pleased with his team and thought the close second-place finish speaks to the amount of depth they have on the 2013 squad.
"I think it was really close racing and its indicative of the depth we have this year," said Callahan. "Everything is contested and that's how every practice has been since the fall. I can't imagine that we left any rock unturned and the guys have just really been grinding hard."
Callahan also thought it was a great way to end an "awesome" Spring Break as the Huskies prepare to race against other teams.
"The weather was incredible, flat water, and the level of rowing was really high [this week]," said Callahan. "This was a great way to cap off the week. I'm really excited for this year to start. We've got Brown coming in next week and we are ready to face some outside competition."
Over 100 Husky alumni and supporters filled an Argosy Cruise boat named "Goodtimes II" to catch the action from the water. Many others lined the shores to support Washington Rowing and the members of the 2013 men's and women's teams. The balcony at Conibear and the dock in front of the Shellhouse was packed for the awards ceremony.
"This is really exciting to have all these fans, friends, and family come," said Callahan. "It shows the strength of Washington Rowing , the people that support it and how important it is to the University of Washington and the rowing community here."
In the second race of the day, the "classless" boat won the Men's Varsity/Freshman Challenge over the freshmen (5:56.8) and the alumni/freshmen (6:10.5) shells with a time of 5:52.8.
Race 2: Men's Varsity/Freshman Challenge
1 - Classless (5:52.8): coxswain- Ben Degang (Sacramento, Calif.), stroke - Robert Chavan (San Jose, Calif.), 7- Matthew Milner (San Francisco, Calif.), 6- Edward Nainby-Luxmore (Middleton-in-Teesdale, U.K.), 5- Patrick Marre (Portland, Ore.), 4- Nigel Holt (Seattle, Wash.), 3- Zachary Hershberger (Los Gatos, Calif.), 2- Austen Bolves (North Bend, Wash.), bow- Sean Raffetto (Folsom, Calif.); 2- Grunties (5:56.8); 3- Classless (6:10.5).
Race 4: George M. Varnell Men's Eight
1 - Seniors (5:45.19): coxswain- Seamus Labrum (Cape May, N.J.), stroke- Dusan Milovanovic (NoviSed, Serbia), 7- Alex Bunkers (Maitland, Fla.), 6- Ryan Schroeder (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), 5- Mijo Rudelj (Kastel, Croatia), 4- Max Mannisto (Belmont, Calif.), 3- Sam Dommer (Folsom, Calif.), 2- A.J. Brooks (Costa Mesa, Calif.) bow- Brandon Taft (Firecrest, Wash); 2- Grunties (5:48.68); 3- Juniors (5:49.09); 4- Rookies (5:49.66)