News Archive from the 2009 - 2010 Season

Case Crew 2009-2010 Season Recap

Below is the academic year 2009-2010 racing schedule for Case Crew with links to the results and photos for each event. For a write up about each event continue to scroll down.

Date: Event: Location: Results: Photos:
September 19 Head of the Cuyahoga Cleveland, OH results photos
October 3 Head of the Ohio Pittsburgh, PA results photos
October 17-18 Head of the Charles Boston, MA results photos
October 24 26th Annual Jack Speakmon Memorial Regatta Columbus, OH results photos
November 14-15 USRowing East Coast Speed Order Lake Carnegie, Princeton NJ results  
February 21 Hammer Ergatta Cleveland, OH results photos
March 28 URA Championships Butler, PA results photos
April 10 Home Schools Regatta Cleveland, OH results photos
April 10 Alumni Regatta Cleveland, OH results photos
April 23-24 USRowing National Selection Regatta I (NSR I) Mercer Lake, West Windsor, NJ results  
April 24 West Virginia Governor's Cup Charleston, WV results photos
May 7-8 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta Philadelphia, PA results photos


Permanent Boathouse in Cleveland a Reality!

Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative concept drawing of the site

July 1, 2010:Rivergate Park, the Cleveland Rowing Foundation's vision for a permanent rowing and recreation center just became a reality this week. The Foundation received a total of $750,000 in donations this week from the Cleveland Foundation, the Gund Foundation, and Peter Lewis (chairman of Progressive Insurance).

The grants will enable the CRF to buy the former Commodore Club site just down river from the current boathouse for $3.2 million. A small bridge loan is required because the club is a still a bit short, but it's manageable enough to proceed with the purchase. Plus, the organizers still have hopes for a few other grants to be approved especially since the project is now certain.

Planning is now underway for the massive logistcs challenge ahead to move everything. The club has set a goal to have everything moved in time to host the Head of the Cuyahoga on September 18 from the new site. The existing builing on the site is large enough to accommodate all of the equipment for all teams. The site is 7 acres and will allow room to grow with additional buildings for all programs.

More details: CRF Announcement Letter (pdf) and a article by Steven Litt about the recent donations HERE.

Women's Novice 4+ Takes 3rd in Heat Against Tough Competition

May 7, 2010: Case Crew sent its successful women's novice four to the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta this year to see how they stacked up against the best in the country. The competition in their heat included two varsity teams Barry and Duquesne along with rowing powerhouse Purdue and UAA rivals from the University of Chicago. The women's novice team has shown speed all year garnering Case's only URA medal this year and just getting pipped at Governor's Cup. The crew showed up to Philly ready to race, but ultimately finished third behind Purdue and Chicago and didn't advance to the Saturday semi-finals.

Coach Patty Wolford launched the crew with the Philly skyline in the background knowing they had put in the effort this spring to have a great race. The cheering section then proceeded up to the grandstands and readied their horns and cameras for the action.


The weather was outstanding with temperatures in the 70's and a light 5-7 mph tailwind. Perfect conditions. Case was in the fourth of nine heats -- 40 boats in total. The announcer was giving the play-by-play before the bulk of the spectators could actually see the race. The initial report was that Case was in fourth place through the first 1000m. With the team starting in lane 5 they were "behind" on the staggered start due to the slight bend in the Schuylkill River course -- like a track with inside and outside lanes. Everything evens out eventually, but it can be challenging mentally. What most people, including the rowers, didn't know was that Coach Wolford had instructed coxswain Anna Czekaj make a call for the team to "empty the tank" near the end of the race!

Vails 2010
CWRU Crew's 2010 Dad Vail Women's Frosh/Novice 4+

...and empty the tank they did! Coming to the top of Peter's Island with about 500m to go the crew of Sarah Greenlee (stroke), Caitlin Bowerman (3), Elizabeth Brott (2) and Mallory Miller (bow) walked through Barry University into third place and were closing the gap to Chicago. But the team ran out of runway and couldn't quite capture the last qualifying spot. The qualification at Vails is fierce with only the top two crews advancing, and in this case it was Purdue and Chicago. Overall, Case's time was the 24th fastest out of the 40 crews in all heats.

Once on shore there were all smiles. The women felt like they had an excellent row and it felt great to walk through and beat a couple varsity crews. During the de-brief session with their coach they recounted their race. Apparently the crew went off the line at 40 strokes per minute (spm) and settled to a 32! Faster than they've ever raced. By the excitement and the adrenaline held them through the race. Showing their potential, this fast start didn't blow them out and when Anna called to empty the tank they were able to climb the rating back up to 36-38 for the finish. We all know this race plan can sometimes result in a "fly & die" outcome. However, from shore the crew was crisp and together through the last 500m implying there was serious speed at those ratings -- definitely bodes well for the future of the women's team.

Later Friday evening everyone met up at The Pour House -- a great little bar just upriver from the race course. Sarah Greenlee's parents, Bill & Sue, had made the trip out from Chicago to watch the race and joined everyone for drinks and dinner. Many stories about the day and plans for the upcoming fall season were shared. A great time was had by all! See you in a few months...

Race results can be found HERE.

2010 Dad Vail Regatta Photo Gallery

WV4+ Take Bronze; WN4+ in Exciting Photo Finish in WV

April 24, 2010: The 2010 installment of the West Virginia Governor's Cup saw Case Crew entering four crews. Case has been coming to the regatta every year since 1993 and this year the women led the way taking home a bronze the varsity four event and the novice women missing silver by 3 tenths of a second in a nail biter to actually take fourth! Thunderstorms threatened all day but ultimately held off to produce a steady tailwind and not too much chop. All-in-all a great day for racing in Charleston.

Gov Cup 2010

Usually we talk about the medal winners first, but the novice women took home the prize for the most exciting race of the day even though they left Charleston without hardware. Sarah Greenlee, Caitlin Bowerman, Ruth Dickey, and Mallory Miller with Anna Czekaj coxing were the last Case entry of the day leaving plenty of people to cheer. Penn State were clearly in the lead, but with about 500m to go and in front of the stunning WV capitol building Miami, Davidson and Case were battling side by side. Check out the photos from the event and you'll see a great sequence of shots with Case walking up on the other two crews with all three finishing within 3 tenths of second of each other. The photo finish took what seemed like forever to post and unfortunately Case was given fourth. However, this lineup is headed to Philly (swapping Elizabeth for Ruth who's a grad student) in a couple weeks for the Dad Vail Regatta and this should provide some nice motivation to coming work outs.

Not to be outdone, the varsity line up raced in a final with Davidson, Virginia Tech, John Carroll and Carnegie-Mellon's "B" entry. Davidson and VT were within a couple lengths at the finish and Case finished solidly in third looking very strong. The lineup of Katie Puttmann, Margaret Wilkes, Elizabeth Brott, and Caitlin Bowerman, with Anna Czekaj coxing has been strong all season with a 5th place finish at URAs and first at Home Schools.

Later in the morning the stern pair from the four picked up the kaizen to race the varsity pair event. Katie and Margaret looked long and smooth but didn't seem to have the extra gear to hang with Penn State and Carnegie-Mellon, both perennial Vails favorites in the pair. Both athletes cited the lack of water time and prioritizing the four this spring -- leaving a fun row at a great venue to end their Case rowing careers.

Nick Beese, Doug Brubaker, Michael Johnson, and Mike Baldonieri with Elizabeth Brott coxing entered the 1000m Men's Open 4+ event against Miami, Penn State, Carnegie-Mellon, Virginia Tech and Xavier. This all "A" lineup flight proved too fast for the young Case crew and they finished sixth. With a couple of the rowers picking up the sport this spring, the race helped build necessary experience in side-by-side racing. With a few of the team planning to continue rowing in the summer watch out for some fast fall results.

Doug Rathburn '97 made the trip from North Carolina and raced in the Open 1x event. He finished 2nd, which was exactly the same result to exactly the same scullers as last year (Ohio U in 1st and Charleston RC in 3rd). The good news is that he upgraded his ride this year so also brought his old Peinert 26 to the race to donate to SARA. A couple of the Case rowers were already planning their summer training sessions in the shell once they saw it. You can see photos of the dedication here.

Gov Cup 2010
Anna Czekaj launching the WN4+

Full results from this year's race can be found HERE (html).

2010 West Virginia Governor's Cup Photo Gallery

Alumna Miranda Cullins Competes in National Selection Regatta I

April 23-24, 2010: Case Crew alumna and former coach Miranda Cullins competed this weekend at the USRowing National Selection Regatta (NSR I) in Lake Mercer, New Jersey. The annual selection process for the national team starts with NSR I and runs throughout the year with the fastest and best athletes garnering a seat at the World Championships to be held in New Zealand. The NZ Worlds will be held from October 31 to November 7.

The NSR progression saw each sculler race on Friday in a time trial format. The fastest 18 would then go into a heat & semi format. Those finishing 19+ would be placed into D, E, etc. finals. Miranda placed 24th just under 7% off the winning time -- improving on her 9.3% margin from the 2009 Fall Speed Order finish. This result seeded her 6th in the D Final to be raced on Saturday.

Cullins Fall Speed Order
Miranda Cullins (far) pushing against Undine's Heather Johnson (near) to take 2nd place in D Final

In the side-by-side format of the Saturday races Miranda was able to improve her 6th seed position to finish 2nd in the D final -- for a 20th overall placing.

The National Selection Regattas help the coaches gage athlete progress at the beginning of the annual cycle, and the winners get funded to attend the summer World Cup events in Europe. NSR I is used to select the single scullers and the May NSR II selects the pairs & doubles. The selection process for the eventual national team that attends the World Championships is a drawn out affair with many events and camps along the way. The World Championships are usually held in August. However, since they're in the southern hemisphere this year, the race is still over 6 months away with a much larger gap between World Cups and World Championships making for an interesting year ahead.

Race results can be found HERE.

Alumni Lead the Way on the Cuyahoga

April 10, 2010: This year's alumni regatta events were held directly after the Home Schools races. The morning races gave alumni a chance to watch some racing before having a crack at jumping in a shell. More importantly, the students were properly tired out. A winter training by a few alums and tired undergrads meant the first-ever wins for alumni! Hey, we'll take it how we can get it...

Racing was done bracket style with three fours each for the men and women with a fun mixed 8+ to close out the racing. The weather by 11am when racing started was glorious. The sun poked out from the cloud and temperatures hit the high 60's with only a modest head wind. All races were 500m sprints from Collision Bend to the boathouse.

Alumni Regatta 2010
Alumni & students at the 2010 Alumni Regatta

The first races of the alumni regatta were the men's fours. The "A" lineup made up of alumni an inactive club members faced the same Case lineup that raced in the earlier Home School Regatta. Adam Wilson stroked the crew of Chris Shoemaker, Chris Denzel, Michael Czigler with Nina Ma coxing to a victory over the students in a scrappy affair.

In the second men's race the other "B" alumni 4+ grabbed a ringer in Nick Beese from Case to pull them down the course to victory over the "A" entry. Rounding out the "B" entry were Mike Krofcheck, Tim Marcovy and Doug Rathburn with Kate Menosky coxing. The "B" entry understroked the other alumni boat to win bragging rights by open water.

The women's races also saw two alumni entries and one from Case. In the first round the two alumni fours faced off with Patty Wolford, Rachel Liu, Agata Toborek, Lauren Boucher, and Kate Menosky (cox) as the "A" crew taking the honors. For the final race the alumni "A" crew faced the winning novice entry from Home Schools and URA medalists. The alumni blasted off the line and held the Case entry in their sights to take home overall honors. Three of the winning alumni rowers hadn't touched an oar in over a year yet their easy speed was impressive to everyone. Can you say SARA Charles entry?

Alumni Regatta 2010
Alumni mixed 8+ storming to victory over the students

The alums held their best effort for last in the mixed 8+. The all-alumni 8+ of Doug Rathburn, Chris Shoemaker, Chris Denzel, Mike Krofcheck, Lauren Boucher, Rachel Liu, Jessica Schneider, and Agata Toborek with Nina Ma coxing had an absolutely storming row leading from the very first stroke. They took off at a 38 and settled to a 33 throughout the body of the sprint to finish ahead by open water. Only a little rust was present in the stroke and there were congratulations and smiles all around. It was a great day!

At the regatta the team accepted the donation of a set of oars from SARA. These new oars allow Case to take out all of their shells without needing to borrow a set. Thank you to each of the oar sponsors! After racing concluded, alumni convened for the SARA Annual General Meeting (AGM). At the meeting they heard a report about the previous year and elected the Board of Directors for 2010 -- 2010 AGM Meeting Minutes.

Later that evening everyone met up at Great Lakes Brewery for an evening of tall tales and revelry. Yes, we used to row wooden boats, with wooden oars out of a wooden boathouse that we used to have to break into. It was a great time so please put us on your calendar for next year. Also, Erynn Rathburn spent the day in the launch taking a ton of photos so take a look.

Full results and lineups from this year's race can be found HERE (html).

2010 Alumni Regatta Photo Album

Case Ties for Home Schools Trophy; Loses Tie-Breaker

April 10, 2010: Racing for the 2010 Home Schools Trophy came down to the last race -- the mixed 8+. Cleveland State, John Carroll and Case Western Reserve each had small teams this year so the regatta primarily consisted of fours races. Five races were run including men's and women's "A" and "B" fours with the mixed 8+ thrown in at the end.

This year's installment of the regatta saw a heat and final setup to allow for maximum racing for the fastest crews. The heats were three abreast 500m dashes from Collision Bend to the boathouse. The top two boats from each heat then turned around and headed up river to race side-by-side for 1400m with the winner taking home a point for their team. Heading into the final mixed 8+ race Case was ahead with 2 points with 1 point each to CSU and JCU. For the men it was their fourth race and the crew just didn't have the legs left to make the mixed 8 final. Therefore, whichever team won the mixed 8+ would tie Case for the overall trophy. The coaches huddled and decided a race off tie breaker in the mixed 8+ would then decide the cup winner. John Carroll won the mixed 8+ final then beat Case again in a 500m dash for the trophy.

HomeSchools 2010

Case's two points came from the women's fours. In the first flight for "B" crews, Sarah Greenlee, Caitlin Bowerman, Ruth Dickey, Mallory Miller, and Anna Czekaj (cox) powered their way through the heat and won by open water going away in the final. This crew took third at URAs against fast crews from Rochester and WashU. Their coaches commented on their progress this spring, "with a fast start and strong leg drive, they swung well together. They are looking forward to working with higher ratings in the coming weeks."

HomeSchools 2010
Katie, Margaret, Elizabeth, Caitlin, and Anna on their way to the start of the women's "A" final

In the women's "A" four flight, Katie Puttmann, Margaret Wilkes, Elizabeth Brott, Caitlin Bowerman, and Anna Czekaj (cox) battled John Carroll taking second in the heat, but bested them in the final. From coach Preya Nixon:

This boat had been working hard on finding and maintaining their rhythm during the practices. It is no doubt that they were able to achieve this during both races. Lead by Katie in stroke seat, their consistent stroke rating allowed them to move efficiently-especially towards the end of the race. Coxswain Anna Czekaj did a phenomenal job steering and was very strategic. This boat will be refining its power and rhythm and looks forward to racing at West Va. in a couple weeks

The men's team didn't win any trophy points, but won tons of respect for their heart. Due to personnel changes Saturday was their first time in the line up and they entered both the "A" and "B" events in exactly the same lineup. The lineup of Nick Beese, Doug Brubaker, Michael Johnson, Mike Baldonieri, and Elizabeth Brott (cox) took second place in both the heat and final to a strong Cleveland State crew in the "B" flight. In the "A" flight, finished third in a gutsy race that saw them only a length behind Cleveland State's top line up.

HomeSchools 2010
Nick, Doug, Michael, Mike, and Elizabeth battling in the men's "B" heat

The regatta atmosphere picked up a notch when the mixed 8's launched. With their two points, if Case won the event they'd win the regatta cup outright. If not they'd tie with the winner and would have to race a tie breaker -- a 500m dash in the mixed 8+. During the heat Case caught a crab 100m into the race and just couldn't recover well enough to advance to the final meaning they would have to race the tie-breaker. CSU even did their best to help Case by taking out JCU but it wasn't quite enough.

John Carroll won the mixed 8+ final forcing the race off. In the tie breaker Case just couldn't find the rhythm they had in the fours earlier in the morning. Coach Nixon had this to say of the morning racing:

Overall, it was a great day of racing for CWRU. Often it's hard for the coaches to gauge how the races went since we only see the end of the race, but after looking at the photos, both Patty and I are pleased with the technical improvements of our rowers. And of course-how that translates into boat speed! It was great to catch up with alumni and we hope they enjoyed seeing the regatta.

Erynn Rathburn spent the entire morning in the launch with JCU's coach, Ron Dorchak, and took hundreds of photos. Be sure to check them out!

Full results from this year's race can be found HERE (html).

2010 Home Schools Regatta Photo Album

Women's Novice 4+ Take Home Bronze at URAs

URA 2010

March 28, 2010: Case Crew brought a small contingent to Butler, PA to race their conference rivals at the 7th annual URA Championships. Conditions for racing, for those familiar with the race, were decidedly mild this year. Maximum 7mph cross tail winds throughout the day kicked up a little chop, but nothing too onerous. The rain actually held off until the last hour of racing too! Overall, Case fielded four crews with three for the women and one for the gents. The Case women finished ahead of NYU for 5th place in the conference, and the one entry on the men's side was not enough to garner enough points to move up from the bottom of the table. Rochester won the Chicago Alumni Cup on the women's side and WashU won the Case Alumni Cup for men.

The women's novice 4+ lineup of Sarah Greenlee, Caitlin Bowerman, Ruth Dickey, Mallory Miller, and Anna Czekaj (cox), fresh off their medal performances at the Hammer, rowed an excellent race to take bronze behind WashU & Rochester. The Rochester women's program went varsity this year and the Case entry finished only 10 seconds off their second place entry. Rounding out the field were Chicago in fourth and Carnegie-Mellon in fifth. This medal represents only the tenth ever for Case at URAs so wear it proudly ladies. Great job!

URA 2010
Sarah, Caitlin, Ruth, Mallory, and Anna (cox) on their way to bronze in the Women's Novice 4+

The Case women also fielded a JV 4+ and a Varsity Pair. The JV race saw a field of seven crews, and Case finished in fifth ahead of both NYU and Carnegie-Mellon. Katie Puttmann and Margaret Wilkes in the pair got off to a slow start and couldn't make up the difference down the course. The URAs is a breeder for small boats that usually make the finals at Vails. The pair has a couple more months to pick up speed and one more test at the West Virginia Governor's Cup before heading to Vails in May themselves.

The men boated a crew in the JV event against line ups from WashU, Rochester (x2) and Carnegie-Mellon. The lineup of Adam Wilson, Nick Beese, Doug Brubaker and Michael Johnson with Mike Baldonieri coxing finished over one minute off the pace, but picked up some great racing experience. By the time their race went off near the end of the schedule the famous Butler Spring weather had picked up. Bow pair of the crew are true novices so we're sure to see good things in the months ahead.

Full results from this year's race can be found HERE (html).

2010 URA Regatta Photo Album

Future is promising for new boathouse - The Observer

March 26, 2010: Another article about the proposed boathouse project was run in The Observer. The article highlights an extension the Cleveland Rowing Foundation received to raise the money and a recent $100,000 donation from the MetLife Foundation.

What this means for the Spartans crew team is that they will be able to continue their 18-year legacy at Case. While they were unable to donate any substantial sums of money, the team did pull their weight, allowing the CRF to take over the annual Hammer Regatta and use it as a fundraiser. The CWRU team members helped set up and volunteered to run the event.

The end of the article also recaps Case's performance at the Hammer and prospects for the upcoming spring races.

CRF Rivergate Park Web Site: details and status for the project

The full article can be found HERE (html) or HERE (pdf).

Miranda Cullins Selected to Princeton Training Center

March 20, 2010: Case Crew rower and coach Miranda Cullins was invited to train at the Princeton Training Center in Princeton, New Jersey. She's recently picked up stakes and moved east to train with the rest of the national team athletes with hopes of making the Senior National Team for the New Zealand Worlds.

Previously she had been selected to the 2009 USRowing Women's National Team Pre-Elite Camp in Bloomington, Indiana, she participated the Fall Speed Orders and pulled a 7 flat at the Hammer just a month ago.

As part of SARA's support of Miranda and her endeavor, the Board of Directors unanimously voted to lend her the sustain for training. You would think the national team would have infinite resources, but they don't. Many athletes bring their own shells or possibly row in borrowed or unfamiliar equipment. The women's team in Princeton row with Croker oars so SARA kicked in a set for her to use as well to make switching between lineups a piece of cake.

According to her the coaches have taken it a bit easy on her the first week to get used to the training load. Miranda also mentioned, "I've appreciated having the sustain out here - having equipment I am familiar with is nice."

Miranda Cullins

Photos from Spring Break Posted

March 10, 2010: The team is spending Spring Break in Cleveland this year, and the coaches have provided some photos of a mixed 8+ row from Monday. The weather is unseasonably warm and will hopefully enable the team to gain some early season speed. We'll post more photos as they come in.

2010 Spring Break Photo Gallery

Case Wins Hammer Cup; Leads Series

February 21, 2010: Case beat cross town rivals John Carroll and Cleveland State to take home the Hammer Cup. The challenge cup is in its 16th year, and Case leads the series with 8 wins to JCU's 7 with CSU winning last year.

Current and recent team members took home gold medals in 7 of 9 events entered including the team relay. These tremendous times garnered the team the women's point trophy and the Hammer Cup for the fastest university crew in Cleveland.

Nick Beese won the Open Men's event with a 6:47.8 and assistant coach Miranda Cullins beat most of the men at the event with a 7 minute flat time. Miranda's consistently fast times have caught the attention of the national team coaches, and she'll be moving to Princeton, New Jersey to join the national team development system in March. We wish her much success with her quest to represent the USA!

Hammer 2010

Of course, the novices weren't to be outdone by the varsity squad. Caitlin Bowerman won the Open Novice Women's event with a time that would have given her 5th place in the varsity event. Mallory Miller beat three women from Cleveland State to claim gold in the Lightweight Novice event. Douglas Brubaker pulled a sub-seven minute time to take home bronze in the Men's Novice event.

After finishing up their 2,000 pieces and cooling down, the squad broke into two teams to compete in the 6 x 500 meter team relay. The relay requires each team member to pull 500m and then jump up off the machine to make room for the next rower. Case continued a long tradition of winning this event beating JCU, CSU and two teams from WRRA.

Head coaches Patty Wolford and Preya Nixon had this to say about the race:

Case Western did a phenomenal job at the Hammer this year. The women won the overall points trophy, and then the entire team brought home the Hammer trophy! Numerous personal records were set, and for some, this was their first 2k. After the individual events, the team split into 2 groups to compete in the open relay. Both Patty and I were impressed with the teamwork and encouragement from everyone - the results are a true testament to their hard work ethic. Case athletes were also assisting in running the event, and the organizers were very impressed with how diligent everyone was.
We are looking forward to seeing many alums at the Home Schools/Alumni Regatta on April 10th.
We want to thank you again for making this event possible for us-we truly appreciate your support.

Race results from the 2010 event can be found HERE.
A summary of results from all 16 years of the Hammer Cup can be found HERE.

2010 Hammer Ergatta Photo Gallery

Case & John Carroll in Head-to-head Erg Challenge

Erg Challenge 2010

February 13, 2010: In lieu of attending the Pittsburgh Indoor Sprints, CWRU travelled to John Carroll's campus for a head-to-head competition. Individual rowers from each team faced off against each other with the winner taking one point. The women raced over 5,000m and the men pulled 6,000m. Katie Puttmann pulled the fastest time for the Case Women and Nick Beese pulled 21:53 on the men's side. John Carroll ended up taking the overall competition by a score of 7 to 4.

Next weekend, Case will be competing with John Carroll, Cleveland State and Baldwin Wallace for the Hammer Cup! From Co-head Coach Preya Nixon, "We are looking to break the tie between JCU. The team has been training hard, and has started doing more interval/AT work. Having already done two 2k's this season, the athletes are looking forward to bringing the trophy home!"

If any alumni or parents are in the area, please stop by and support the Spartans on Sunday, Feb. 21st between 9am-12noon (the team will be sticking around to assist the race directors for the remainder of the day, however).

Race results can be found HERE.

2010 JCU 5k/6k Erg Challenge Photo Gallery

Adam Wilson Profiled in Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


February 5, 2010: Current men's team rower Adam Wilson was profiled in this week's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Wilson is a 2007 graduate of Jeannette High School in the southeast suburbs of Pittsburgh, and he is now at Case with a double major in mechanical and aerospace engineering. The article discusses why he joined Case Crew and his accomplishments at recent regattas. Co-head coach Preya Nixon also discusses the team and the commitment required to the sport.

The full article can be found HERE (html) or HERE (pdf).

Alumni row 1.4 million meters in Concept 2 January Challenge

  Rower Meters
1 Pete Whittaker 223,671
2 David Simpson 209,642
3 Doug Rathburn 205,965
4 Brian Chorney 200,000
5 Mark Schoenenberger 172,463
6 Craig Agricola 113,940
7 Erynn Rathburn 93,506
8 Tuck Pescosolido 90,682
9 Chris Pfahl 46,000
10 Chris Bowley 30,000
11 Patty Wolford 14,300
12 Sarah Rubin 12,738
Total 1,412,907

February 1, 2010: Twelve alumni pitched in to row 1,412,907 meters in the annual C2 January Virtual Team Challenge (JVTC). For the challenge rowers had to row as many meters as possible between January 1 and January 31 then log their daily meters using the Concept 2 Logbook. The results were then ranked against other teams. The SARA team finished in 82nd place out of 315 teams with each member averaging over 100,000m.

The SARA team also finished in second place amongst "School/University" designated teams and over 200km ahead our URA rivals from the University of Chicago. A little bit of trash talking between the Case and Chicago teams resulted in a few half marathons being pulled to extend the SARA lead. Many of the alums look forward to taking on the students at the April 10 Alumni Regatta!


Cleveland Boathouse Proposal Highlighted in The Observer

January 22, 2010: Case's student newspaper, The Observer, today highlighted the Cleveland casino project and it's affect on rowing in Cleveland. The article quotes Case Crew president, Margaret Wilkes, about details for a planned new boathouse further down river. However, the major challenge for the project is securing funds for the new home before March 31, 2010. Without this new site, rowing in Cleveland and at Case could end.

As a short term fundraising measure, Case Crew turned over the organizing of The Hammer Ergatta to the Cleveland Rowing Foundation. Historically, Case and John Carroll swap organizing duties every year and each team keep any excess funds raised for their year. Foregoing this year's Hammer funds will impact the team's budget, but it's necessary for the boathouse campaign.

CRF Rivergate Park Web Site: details and status for the project

The full article can be found HERE (html) or HERE (pdf).

Cleveland Boathouse Proposal Highlighted in The Plain Dealer

Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative concept drawing of the site

December 16, 2009: The dream of a permanent home for Cleveland rowing is upon us! The Cleveland Rowing Foundation is in talks to purchase the seven acre Commodore's Club site just down river from the current boathouse. The proposal, dubbed Rivergate Park, was highlighted in The Plain Dealer and online at

It's still early days for planning, but folks in Cleveland are cautiously optimistic about securing the site. A multi-million dollar fundraising campaign is underway to secure funds by March 31, 2010. The CRF board is calling in all of their chips for donations and approaching numerous charitable boards throughout the region to help. The mayor is behind it and many local organizations are throwing their weight into the project. The site is ideal and it currently has a building that can house all current clubs without much modification.

So what does this mean for Case Crew? Not much in the short term other than (possibly) higher rack rents and rower fees. There's a building currently on the site that can comfortably accommodate the current square footage for shells. The longer term vision (10-50 years) is to have a collegiate boathouse row with each team having their own dedicated space in a new building(s).

The full article can be found HERE (html) or HERE (pdf).

Miranda Cullins Competes in Fall Speed Order

November 14-15, 2009: Case Crew coach Miranda Cullins competed this weekend at the USRowing East Coast Fall Speed Order in Princeton, New Jersey -- part of the US National Team qualification process. The Case graduate student finished 35th out of 39 national team hopefuls in her single. Her time of 19:13.7 placed her within 10% of the winning time and ahead of current national team member Laura Larsen-Strecker. Definitely a great result for her first Speed Order.

The Fall Speed Order is meant to provide a long distance physiological test for current and hopeful national team members early in the annual training plan. On Saturday each rower pulled a 6,000 meter piece on the rowing machine. The results on the erg provided the starting order for a 4,500 meter head race on Sunday. Miranda pulled an average 1:52.5 for the 6k erg placing her in 28th.

Cullins Fall Speed Order

Miranda was invited to the USRowing Pre-elite Training Camp in Bloomington, Indiana this past summer. She has continued her training plan throughout the fall semester and hopes to make a future national squad. We wish her luck as she makes the transition from Case Crew rower and coach to the national stage!

Click here for a article about the event.

Race results can be found HERE.

Women Earn Medals in Every Event at Speakmon

October 24, 2009: Case Crew headed to Columbus for the annual Speakmon Regatta hosted by the Greater Columbus Rowing Association. The team has made the trek to Columbus for this event since the early 90's, and it usually marks the first race for the novice team. Partly cloudy weather with temperatures in the high 40's and low 50's throughout the day greeted the team making for a crisp fall day.

The low temps and brisk wind did not deter the women's team from racing to a medal in every event they entered. The women's open 4+ of Jessica Schneider, Sarah Rubin, Margaret Wilkes & Katie Puttmann with Kenji Ishida on the rudder beat Toledo high school, Anthony Wayne, for gold. Bringing sliver medals home were Margaret Wilkes and Katie Puttmann in the Open Pair and the Women's Collegiate Novice Four. The Novice Four race was an all Cleveland affair with John Carroll winning the event and Cleveland State taking third. For the women's Novice Eight, Case and Cleveland State joined forces to field a crew and placed third beating an entry from Wittenberg and two from Ohio University.

On the men's side, the Open Eight had a strong performance beating crews from Denison University and the University of Toledo to take sixth overall. In their first race ever for Case, the Novice Eight finished a strong sixth -- one second behind Ohio University and over a minute ahead of crews from Indiana University and Denison. The two Open Fours finished near the end of the pack in a strong field of regional collegiate crews.

You can read a detailed race report from the coaches and rowers in the Coach's Corner.

Race results can be found HERE.

2009 Speakmon Regatta Photo Gallery

Alumni Men's 8+ Christens Charles River

October 17, 2009: The Spartan Alumni showed up in force in Boston for the 44th Head of the Charles. The regatta organizers saw fit to offer an age adjusted Alumni Eights event for the first time ever. SARA secured the only non-East Coast slot out of the 34 on offer. Case Crew also got two entries and fielded both men's and women's club fours.

Weather threatened all weekend and arrived on Sunday, but for racing on Saturday it was a perfect New England fall day with temperatures in the mid 40's and only a slight head wind. Racing on Sunday for the Champ crews finished in a snow storm.

The alumni 8+ line up of (C) Patty Wolford, (8) Doug Rathburn, (7) Alan Valenti, (6) Tom Attenweiler, (5) Chris Bowley, (4) Ian Henderson, (3) Brian Chorney, (2) Mike Krofcheck, and (1) Nate Uber knew they had their work cut out for them on Friday for practice. Discussion quickly revolved around the other crews in the race -- Chorney lives in Boston and rows out of Community Rowing Inc. and shared insights into how many current and former national rowing team members we now rowing for their alma mater.


The SARA line up somehow was given bow number 4, which meant they were lined up between Holy Cross and the Rude and Smooth from Harvard. In total four crews from Harvard, two from Princeton, three from Williams and the rest of the Ivy League were in the race. The guys from Rude and Smooth inquired about our age at the start. Their hey-day was well before all of the SARA guys were born (except maybe Doug), and wondered if it was fair to be racing with them. However, they were still THE Harvard crew from the 70's and the boys from Case set a goal to stay ahead of them.

For the race, the alumni went off at a 33 and quickly settled into a rhythm at ~30 strokes per minute under the BU bridge. They maintained that rating throughout the body of the race and felt strong. Crews from Hobart, Georgetown, Harvard (another one) and Cornell (clashing oars under Eliot) did eventually pass the SARA crew -- including an exciting three abreast adventure under Weeks that got us on row2k -- but the old boys in Rude and Smooth stayed firmly behind. The final verdict saw SARA beating Rude and Smooth on the water, but were bested by 43 seconds due to the age handicap. Given that the handicap is meant to adjust for age, the crew was excited by the speed of the line up and how they could hang with the former national champions.

SARA Alumni Charles 2009
2009 Head of the Charles • SARA Men's Alumni 8+

Interestingly did a feature article on the alumni eights race (or pdf version), which claimed the SARA crew had the "Least Accurate Alumni Name" in the lot. You can check out the results to see some of the other creative names.

SARA finished their event in 27th place out of 34 crews. They were the highest placing crew from a club program and beat line-ups from Columbia and Princeton.

Case Crew garnered two entries into the Club Fours event -- one for the women and one for the men. The line-ups are below:

Women's Line-up:
cox: Kenji Ishida
4 Jessica Schneider
3 Margaret Wilkes
2 Sarah Rubin
1 Katie Puttmann

Men's Line-up:
cox: Grace Eder
4 Adam Wilson
3 Chris Cichewicz
2 Matt Moss
1 Nick Beese

The men's four finished in 52nd place out of 55 crews. The women were assessed a one minute penalty for interference under one of the bridges, which knocked them down to 52nd place out of 54 crews. The men were all underclassmen so hopefully this experience will encourage them to build more speed throughout the winter season for Dad Vails. For many of the women there will be no more head races in Boston under the Case banner. Graduation beckons, but don't worry because you can always row with us next year as SARA!

That evening most of the alumni, rowers and a few parents headed to the Boston Beer Works near Fenway Park for dinner and reminiscing. But it was early to bed, because many of the students volunteered for the regatta the next morning. It snowed on Sunday, and that's all that really needs to be said.

A couple alumni competed in the regatta as well for other teams. The results were:
Rich Richards CIM'99 stroked the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association team to a 14th of 24 finish in the Master Four [40+] event;
Tim Marcovy LAW'77 sat three seat for WRRA and took 25th of 31 finish in the Senior-Master Four [50+] event;
Cindy Ching '96 is a USRowing referee and was stationed near the start on BU bridge;
If we've missed any other alumni results please let us know.

Race results can be found HERE.

2009 Head of the Charles Photo Gallery

Tough Day for Fours in Pittsburgh; Regatta Ultimately Cancelled

October 3, 2009: Beautiful weather greeted the team in Pittsburgh for the annual Head of the Ohio. Three of the four crews slated to race finished before the winds picked up around 2pm. With wind speeds reaching double digits, the regatta organizers decided to cancel racing. The one crew not able to finish, the women's open 4+, was sitting at the start when the race was cancelled.

Miranda Cullins in her single won her event while besting the second place finisher by nearly a minute. In men's racing, Case Crew fielded an Open 4+ and Novice 4+, with both placing at the end of the pack. The Men's Open 4+ of Matt Moss (stroke), Chris Cichewicz, Adam Wilson, Nick Beese and Grace Eder (cox) powered through strong winds and high waves holding off two boats coming up from behind for the entire course. The Men's Novice 4+ Dan Seery (stroke), Ben Lorman, Kenji Ishida, and Ben Connell with Jessica Schneider (cox) battled for a long stretch of the course with John Carroll's Novice 4+. The JCU and Case novice boats had a large gap in front and behind resulting in a mini dual race. By the end JCU persevered placing a few spots ahead of Case in the final standings.

The Women's Varsity 4+ survived what could be called a character building outing. The crew of Jessica Schneider, Margaret Wilkes, Sarah Rubin, and Katie Puttmann with Kenji Ishida coxing in his first ever regatta headed to the start excited to race. On the way to the start the weather got worse and the cox-box failed. While waiting in the starting area two boats swamped near the finish and racing ceased. However, the team had to row all the way back to the finish area to the docks anyway -- all of the rowing without the glory. According to Sarah Rubin, "Luckily, HOTO is fun even on a bad day."

Race results can be found HERE.

2009 Head of the Ohio Photo Gallery

Great Weather and Racing Greet Alums in Cleveland

Sept. 19, 2009: Head season is upon us! 2009 marked the fourth time Case Crew alums have entered events in the Head of the Cuyahoga in dedicated alumni boats. While no SARA boat walked away with a medal this year, it was a beautiful day of racing and everyone had fun.

Case Crew took top honors in the Men's Open 8+ against cross town rival Cleveland State and in the Women's Open 1x Miranda Cullins trounced her nearest competitor by over two minutes. The fours for both men and women proved quite a challenge Saturday. The Women's Open 4+ were nudged out of a bronze by 15 seconds behind Wheaton College from Chicago. The men's split up their gold medal eight combo to race two Open Fours with the A entry finishing in 7th and the B entry finishing in 9th out of 14 crews.

The Men's Open 4+ event also had one of the SARA entries in the regatta. The line up of Chris Denzel (stroke), Fraser Hewson (3), Dan Bachmann (2), Chris Shoemaker (bow) and Erynn Rathburn (cox) held off three boats to finish 11th of 14. The Open 4+ event was won by a local line-up made up of Ignatius, John Carroll and Cleveland State Alumni. The crew, stroked by Tim Marcovy's son Aaron, won the event by nearly a minute and was certainly one of the most impressive crews of the day.

Two other alumni boats rowed under the SARA banner: the Men's Open 2x and Men's Open 2-. In the pair was Chris Denzel and Chris Shoemaker, while in the double it was Dan Bachmann and Doug Rathburn. Denzel had never been in a pair before and Bachmann had been sculling less than five times in his life so last place finishes in each event were not a surprise. However, everyone had a great time catching up with each other and enjoying the sunny, mid-60's weather.

Shoemaker, Bachmann, Hewson and Denzel at the catch

Case Crew founder and SARA Board Member, Tom Hudak, raced in a number of events for Three Rivers. We're not sure exactly how many events, but he sure got a good mental image of all the bends in the Cuyahoga. At last count he finished 1st in the Masters 8+, tied for 2nd in the Open 2x, and 4th in the Men's Master A-B 1x. Former Case Crew head coach Tim Marcovy, rowing for WRRA, won his first-ever Head of the Cuyahoga medal in the single beating out 11 other scullers in the D-F category. Great job Tom and Tim!

Alumnus Tom Hudak '92 in one of his three races at the 2009 Head of the Cuyahoga

While we did not have a formal dedication like we do for shells, taking delivery of the new trailer was still a big deal for the team. In the mid-1990's the team shared a trailer with WRRA and John Carroll. But after an accident (not by Case) the team has been without a trailer for almost ten years. To get to races they had to beg, borrow or rent space on other team's trailers. SARA bought the 2007 Vespoli 36' Transporter trailer from Lesley University who were disbanding their rowing team. The trailer had almost no miles on it and SARA Board member Brian Chorney brokered a great deal for us. Click here see photos from the new trailer.

Complete race results can be found HERE.
There is also an article about the regatta in The Observer that you can read HERE (html) or HERE (pdf).

2009 Head of the Cuyahoga Photo Gallery

Club Sports Highlighted in The Observer

Sept. 18, 2009: An article in this week's Observer highlighted the efforts student athletes put into making their sports a reality on campus. Sports club administrator, Pat Kennedy, sums up the club sports experience:

Like any state, the rise and fall of a sport depends on the efforts of its citizens. For the 20-plus years they've been on campus, club sports have come to life and been mercilessly snuffed out by student interest. Clubs are responsible for recruiting their own members, and doing their own fundraising. They are allotted supplemental funds based on what associate athletic and club sports director Pat Kennedy calls "goal-oriented budgeting." As in, how many recruits does a club think it can get this year? Will it need cash to travel?

The "goal-oriented budgeting" Mr. Kennedy refers to is smallest cash allotment of all UAA schools by over $8,000 to its next closest peer. Many restrictions on how the team uses its budget exist including not being able to pay a coach amongst others. Case is the only school of its UAA peers that is explicitly prevented from paying a coach so even though the students do everything themselves they are very limited in resources and the tools needed to be successful.

From the article:

Jessica Schneider, the president of the crew club, understands this struggle too well. She commends the efforts of the athletic department, but believes funds dispensed for varsity t-shirts and pizza at meetings could be better spent. She recently spent 12 hours selling beer at a Browns game to help fund her sport.

"While they're eating pizza, I'm serving beer to a drunk man whose making [rude] comments [...]," Schneider said.

But thanks to Schneider and her teammates' herculean fundraising (over $11,000 last year), the club has just enough income to stay afloat.

At all of the other UAA schools the money Jessica raised would go into equipment and coaching to make the team fast. At Case it just provides for their existence: travel and rack rents. The other schools set funding levels for existence and the kids fundraise for speed. Thanks to all alumni that are helping us close the gap.

You can read the full article HERE (html) or HERE (pdf).



Send mail to the webmaster with questions or comments about this web site.
Update your information HERE.
S.A.R.A. is an independent, not for profit 501(c)(3) corporation.
© Spartan Alumni Rowing Association
Last modified: August 21, 2010
Supporting Case Crew and the Spartan Navy since 2003