Miami Rowing Primed for Success in 2005-06
Oct. 15, 2005
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – After a season of highs and lows, the <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>University of Miami rowing program has once again been infected with the kind of buzz and excitement that is often times a precursor to success. <?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
Two years removed from one of the most accomplished seasons in the program’s history, the 2005-06 rowing corps of 20 returning letterwinners and 15 newcomers is primed to write history of its own.
During the 2004-05 campaign, fifth year Head Coach Debra Morgan and her young squad had to mature quickly after graduating 11 seniors from the 2004 team all the while acclimating into the challenging Atlantic Coast Conference.
In essence, its inaugural season in the ACC was also a rebuilding year for the rowing program. With six sophomores in the varsity eight, the young Hurricanes were tested early and often allowing both their athletic and leadership abilities to mature.
“Overall I’m really excited that a lot of what we overcame last season is going to propel us into this year,” said Morgan. “The team really took some huge steps last year.”
The Hurricanes did achieve in many instances last season. Miami won five of six races to open the season in the Head of the Creek Regatta and took first place in the open quad and the open eight at the Head of the Chattahoochee.
After enjoying their first trip to the Rivanna Romp in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Hurricanes entered both their varsity and junior varsity eights in the San Diego Crew Classic. There, the varsity crew finished fourth in the Cal Cup Grand Final, while the junior varsity eight finished fourth in the Petit Final of the JV Eight.
Though it would be difficult to duplicate the results of the 2004 season where Miami swept the field, the Hurricanes walked away with gold medals in the junior varsity and varsity fours at the Florida State Championships.
The Hurricanes finished fourth in their first trip to the ACC Championships where the varsity eight was merely five tenths of a second behind Duke. Sophomore Sarah Conlon was the first Hurricane named to the All-ACC Team. The varsity eight squad was also honored during the season by being named ACC Crew of the Week for the week of April 4th.
In addition, Miami enjoyed success in the classroom with 18 rowers named to the ACC All-Academic Honor Roll.
Morgan and the Hurricanes are eager to see how their learning experiences from last season translate into success this year.
“I have a positive feeling about this year after all that they learned last season in addition to the great recruits that we have coming in.”
Morgan is enthusiastic to work with the numerous newcomers that will make an immediate impact.
Among those newcomers is Kelly Amsler, who hails from Redmond, Wash. Amsler participated in the selection camp for the US Junior National Team, becoming the first UM rower to do so.
Olivia Arkell is another touted recruit whose talent is evident, “We have a good feeling about Olivia,” said Morgan. “She is a truly athletic individual who has an excellent personality to succeed in rowing. She is a hard worker, diligent, persistent. I’m really excited about her.”
Rachel Sporko, who hails from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., should contribute as well. “I think that she is going to have an immediate impact for us,” noted Morgan. “She is really going to contribute. Rachel is tall, athletic and strong. When you look at her you see a Miami person. She’s coming to a climate and an environment that she will really thrive in.”
William and Mary transfer, Liz Skidmore who Morgan considers a “very strong athlete that will be a big player for us,” and redshirt-freshman Justine Lewis will likewise be a factor in this seasons success. Lewis was forced to sit out the year after suffering an injury, “Justine is back and ready to go. I’m really excited to see what she is going to do at the college level. She was an outstanding recruit that we were really happy to get here last year.”
The Hurricanes will open the fall season as hosts of the 13th Annual Head of the Creek Regatta, October 16th, before traveling to Gainesville, Fla. for the Head of the Chattahoochee Regatta that will take place November 5-6.
Miami will then travel to the Florida Fall Regatta, November 12th, before closing the fall season with at the Rivanna Romp, November 13th.
Morgan is looking forward to the fall season where the Hurricanes will be doing a lot of sculling to increase their speed. “We’ll be getting into small boats and they’ll be racing each other in singles. I’m really looking forward to a competitive fall semester where they will get a chance to push each other and compete against one another.”
“It’s a little bit different when you break people down into one person boats or two person boats,” Morgan added. “We’ll have a lot of intrasquad competition planned for the fall. Our staff and the team are really excited about it.”
The Hurricanes will open the spring season with a trip to Austin, Texas for the Longhorn Invitational which will take place March 17-19th. Miami will then travel to the San Diego Crew Classic, April 1-2.
Miami will host the Florida State Championships, April 8th, at Indian Creek and then take part in the Southern Intercollegiate Regatta, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., from April 15-16th. The Hurricanes will then compete in the ACC Championships April 22nd before returning home for races against UCF and Duke on April 28th. Finally, the Hurricanes will take part in the Central/South Regionals May 13-14th.
Regardless of last year’s results, it is evident that the Miami rowing program is shaping up to become one of the finest in the country.
“I feel like our program has gelled,” concluded Morgan. “Our recruiting database, our structure of workouts, our boathouse that has been able to amass an appropriate kind of fleet, our coaches, it makes it feel like this is the first year where we’ve had everything in order. On top of that, we’re really putting all our energy into developing our rowers. They are ready to come in and step up like upperclassmen. They have an idea of what it means to be at that level and that’s what’s creating excitement for me.”