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Crew News Archive


Women's Team Earns 2010 NCAA Points Runner Up

A first in SPU history was achieved this May as the women pulled off with the narrowest of margins a second place overall finish in the team points at the 2010 NCAA Division II Rowing Championship. The tricky format for Division II made tracking of scores somewhat challenging, and with the SPU V4's elimination in the repechage, the Falcon's team points fate came down to whether Florida Tech's V4 would defeat Philadelphia University (for second place) in the grand final. This indeed transpired and, combined with the SPU second place varsity 8 finish, gave the Falcon team the requisite 11 points for a one-point margin over Philadelphia University. For more details on the team results click on this link. You can also see the detailed race results on Jamco online.

The varsity 8 managed a school record 6:54 on their grand final 2k but ended up falling two seconds behind Barry University who they defeated by the two seconds in the repechage. Likewise the varsity four had their best day in the heats with a solid 8:03, their best all season. The full recap can be read at the Falcon Athletics link at sports information page, but tremendous effort is recognized on behalf of the women's crews whose third attempt in five years at an NCAA title finally netted a definitive result for the record books.


2010 NCAA Championship: Women's 8 to Grand, V4 Eliminated in Second Round

L-R: Alli Agnew (bow), Lacey Sheridan (2), Katja Ibsen (3), Katy Stine (4), Lauren Anderson (5), Eleni Johnsen (6)

Emily Pitts (7), Katie Degner (stroke), Annie Mulder (coxswain)

After fine rows advancing both Falcon crews out of the heats on Friday, the ladies had two disparate results today to establish the rest of racing for Division II. The varsity 8 finished a strong 2nd in the heat four seconds behind Mercyhurst but ahead of Florida Tech by a convincing 15 seconds, and with the third fastest time of the day among Div. II 8s. The Varsity 4 finished second in their dual formatted heat to require a race-off in the repechage today.

Today's repechages met with a little more gusty conditions with an accompanying bothersome cross breeze from the starboard side, but much warmer. The V8 had to face three opponents while the V4 squared off against Florida Tech in another duel. The 8 proved very exciting with the Falcons having to row patiently through the first segment of the race not pulling through Philadelphia University until past the halfway point. With Florida Tech fading back, the SPU V8 had no to turn their attentions on closing nearly a full length of open water deficit on Barry University in the last 850 meters. Well versed in this dilemma, they marched persistently up to Barry, then crushing the remaining gap in the last 250 meter sprint sequence to defeat Barry by a full two seconds. It was a real crowd pleaser and proved one of the more dramatic finishes of the day and with a superb time of 6:54 the finish sets the team up well for the grand final Sunday 30 May at 9:30 a.m. PDT. The finals can be watched online at the webcast link hosted by the NCAA and CBS sports, and you can see the results almost immediately on Jamco online.

Having technical difficulties with the video? Click here for assistance and instructions NCAA online video




Women Earn First Team Berth to NCAA National Championship

2010 Women's Crew

For the first time in the team's history the Seattle Pacific women have secured a Team selection to the NCAA Division II National Women's Rowing Championship. This bid establishes the Falcon women's within the championship structure to actually have their placements count within the team points system for the first time in three appearances. The NCAA championship has been well represented by Falcons at the 2007 and 2009 regattas with an at large 8, the SPU crew finishing third last year in that category. Absent the varsity four however, they were not in line for recognition. This year however, the entire team advances as the one at-large team bid selected from the national pool of Division II opponents.

This year the championship is back on the west coast at the Lake Natoma course near Sacramento. A familiar "home course" for the Seattle Pacific rowers will provide some advantage as they battle some of the usual Divisional foes from around the country like Florida Tech and Philadelphia University for the points trophy. This is an exciting opportunity for these tremendously hard working women and all are encouraged to cheer them on from home while watching the live webcast hosted by the NCAA and CBS sports on May 28, 29, and 30. You'll also find the full results at Jamco online.





Women's 8 wins WIRA, Earns Bronze at Dad Vail Championship

The Falcon women's 8 rowed superbly in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship grand final earning the banner and trophy for the second time in SPU history in the Div II women's 8 race on May 2nd. With open water over the field the women showed their tenacity over their western rivals as well as over a difficult heavy crosswind the entire race. Likewise on May 8th, they had to conquer a near gale force wind gusting to upwards of 35 mph on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia to earn bronze at the Dad Vail Championship to seal a likely bid to the NCAA national championship. Defeating six of nine Div.II opponents at the Vails, the Falcon 8 is situated very well to garner an at large position to nationals for the program's third such venture. Furthermore, the women's V4 defeat over key opponent Barry University at Dad Vail in the semi-finals will greatly assist in achieving Seattle Pacific's first team bid ever to the NCAA championship in Sacramento at the end of May. Catch all the results and highlights on our results page and on the GoFalcons articles sports information page for Falcon Men's and Women's Rowing.

Above: Women's V8: L-R Katie Degner, Emily Pitts, Katja Ibsen, Lacey Sheridan, Annie Mulder, Eleni Johnsen, Lauren Anderson, Katy Stine, Alli Agnew. Lower photo: T-B: Kristi Tamaki (cox), Mackenzie Oscar, Anabelle Fristch, Dani Ferrigno, Kristin Lorenzen.


2010 First Champions!

The Falcon Crews are already into the championship segment of the season, and our first champions to be named are the Men's Novice Four who captured the NCRC conference title last weekend handily. This capped an undefeated season for the Falcon 4. Hats off to team members Dain Carley, Phil Mach, Wes Plinke, Matt Norgren and cox Jarvin Garcia. Catch all the results and highlights on our results page and on the GoFalcons articles sports information page for Falcon Men's and Women's Rowing.


Join Crew!

Did you know that SPU Crew is comprised mostly of walk-on athletes who have never rowed before? And yet these very athletes have achieved 15 national level medals including 7 championship titles in the last thirteen years. You too can be part of this winning tradition and this tremendous sport.

Come to the general Interest Meeting

Thursday Sept. 30th at 6:30 p.m.

in the lower Royal Brougham classroom to learn more about this opportunity.

You can also contact us at 281-2931 or at kpjeffr@spu.edu


2009 Individual Team Member Highlights

As can never be denied, great teams are always comprised of quality individuals who bring it all together to make it a successful season. Crew however, just doesn't carry the glamor to have these individuals really gain public notoriety. Nevertheless, this year there were multiple Falcon rowers who warranted honorable mention for their awards and recognition for the 2009 season.

This year the awards were plentiful as the fine SPU rowing athletes were recognized by all layers of the spectrum through the many associations and affiliations to which SPU belongs. The Great Northwest Athletic Conference recognized Holly allan, Katie Degner, Eleni Johnsen, Emily Pitts, and Rachel Savage for the women, and Zeke Schellberg for the All Conference Team, while Rachel Savage was further honored by the College Sports Information Directors Assocation (CoSIDA) with designation to their Academic All-District Team for 2009.  Savage, a 4.0 student, was also recognized within the WIRA All Region Team along with Katie Degner and Kim Leinstock while at the NCRC rowing conference championship in mid-April, Zeke Schellberg and Holly Allan claimed honors within that All Conference Team. Congratulations to all the tremendous rowers and their efforts to bring quality to the program in traditional fashion.

Of further note this year was outstanding outside coverage by local and school media that brought personal excellence to the forefront through fairly rare individual profiles and stories. Second-year junior rower Katie Degner, on the same day she received an SPU leadership award, was written up in an incredible Seattle Times local interest piece by Jerry Brewer. Similarly the Falcon newspaper covered crew team captains Zeke Schellberg and Rachel Savage as well as senior Holly Allan with fine retrospectives on their careers and what their four years of rowing has meant to them.

It is rare to say the least for rowing to receive much media coverage at all, but excellence within the SPU ranks seems quite capable of attracting a certain amount of attention. Well done to all individuals and the team this year.


Women's Varsity 8 Earns Third in NCAA National Championship Grand Final!

L-R: coxswain Annie Mulder; stroke seat Rachel Savage; Emily Pitts, 7-seat; Eleni Johnsen, 6-seat; Katie Degner, 5-seat;

Lacey Sheridan, 4-seat; Holly Allan, 3-seat; Katy Stine, 2-seat, Katja Ibsen bow. Not pictured Kim Leinstock and Kristin Lorenzen.

In what was an historic, first-ever qualification to the NCAA women’s varsity 8 grand final race, Seattle Pacific challenged all notions that crews selected At Large to the national championship are not intended to be competitive. Initially by nearly defeating first-ranked Mercyhurst College in their heat, the Falcon rowers then shattered the at-large myth by repeatedly pushing both Western Washington and Mercyhurst to honest first and second place finishes respectively in the grand final. The Falcons only a few seats behind for an exciting third place pull, were well ahead of Philadelphia University and set a team speed record for 2000 meters of 7:00.22 on the windless course in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Read all about it, see photos and the rower's blog at this SPU Falcons link.



Mother’s Day at Dad Vail Regatta


The women’s varsity 8 was the only crew to advance to national level competition this year, needing a cross-regional comparison as they pursue one of the top six seeds for the NCAA Rowing Championship at-large selection. Enjoying a second endorsement from both the NCAA seeding and the weekly CRCA coaches poll, their solid 5th place ranking following WIRA had the SPU ladies poised to do well. They would be facing eleven Division II crews at Dad Vail, three of which were ranked above them: Mercyhurst, Dowling, and Division II newcomer Philadelphia University. Like WIRA however, the weather again was to prove a challenge with heavy and continuous rain threatening to cancel racing altogether via near flood stage water levels on the Schuylkill. The entire river was closed to practice on Thursday and the heats Friday were converted to an odd 1500-meter, single lane time trial format with rolling starts. This proved no significant hurdle for the Falcon women however, as SPU qualified easily with the second fastest time out of 21 other competitors in category.

Seeded well in lane 3 and with the swollen river subsiding, the V8 finally got to race head to head in the second of two semi-finals on Saturday morning, now moved ahead due to threatening thunderstorms. Once past the first 500 meter mark they faced a sudden and stiff headwind but still managed a sub-7 time thanks to the still fast current finishing second but ahead of all Division II competitors for a trip to the grand final. The wind worsened and the water became more turbulent for the rest of the day and the final was arduous for everyone. The Falcon crew missed the medals stand by half a second to Rochester but nevertheless virtually sealing an NCAA bid by finishing ahead of all Division II competitors except number one ranked Mercyhurst. For more on the story click the Falcon sports info link, and find results here.


WIRA Win Eludes Women


6 May - After a needed bye-week, the Falcon crews returned to the Rancho Cordova course for the annual regional Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship with the Women’s V8 looking to defend their win from last year. The five-state, 30-member association of college and university crews can provide daunting challenges with programs large and small in hot pursuit of a banner, but the categories have evolved for all program levels and Seattle Pacific’s success here has been well established with 14 wins and many other medal performances since the early 90s. Totally uncharacteristic this weekend however, was the nasty weather that provided for cool temperatures and almost constant and heavy rain the entire two days. The winds are the most important aspect for racing though, and fortunately winds were calm which allowed for some advantage to northwest crews more accustomed to these wet conditions. Indeed that’s how the Women’s 8 race panned out with the same order of finish as NCRC seeing all northwest competitors in the medals: Western and UPS battling hard for gold, with the Falcon 8 just three seconds behind UPS for bronze, again closing the gap further to the two nationally ranked crews. This repeat finish order however, was exactly what SPU needed to seal a solid 5th place national ranking among Division II crews by closing up another few seconds on Western Washington from the previous race. This places the ladies well on track for the NCAA championship selection process on May 18th. The Women’s Varsity 4 similarly earned a bronze with superb defense of a late charging crew in the last 250 meters.


The men had a rough go of it given that three of the novice four doubled into the varsity four (with one switching sides), they performed heroically however, racing a grueling four times in one-day in the two categories. For more on the story click here, with results posted on our results page.


Crews Complete Conference Championship


18 April - The first installment of the 2009 championship segment of the rowing season was launched with the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championship regatta this year returning to the calmer waters of Lake Stevens, Washington. Highlights include a stunning come from behind win for the women’s junior varsity four and bronze medals for the women’s varsity four and varsity 8. The third place V8 finish belies the significance however, as the women continue to close on first nationally ranked Division II Western Washington, as well as the University of Puget Sound ranked 5th nationally within Division III who were only one second ahead of the Falcons. The men found the competition more formidable failing to garner a medal in either the MV4, JV4 or Novice 4. Read more in the sports information article at this link. And see results here.


Crews Earn Triple Victories at Covered Bridge Regatta

13 April - Tremendous efforts prevailed in all categories in Eugene last Saturday beginning with a resounding victory by the Men's Varsity 4. The varsity crew comprised of 3/4 novice athletes rose to the occasion to defeat both Conference and non-conference rivals from throughout the northwest at the Covered Bridge Regatta. Four-year rower and stroke-oar Zeke Schellberg led the men's four to their first sub 7-minute finish this season while staving off challenges in the final 500 meters. "We've got a scrappy and resilient group of guys," exclaimed Schellberg, "we were quite pleased to engineer a great race plan and have Matt (coxswain) execute it so superbly". This was quite a feat for a group comprised of three lightweights and three true novices, particularly with three of them racing hard only an hour prior in the novice 4. In that race the novice men made up last week's vast 26-second deficit against Lewis & Clark, finishing second with only a 7-second margin behind.

While a challenging crosswind made for some colorful race starts...and restarts, the weather overall was superb for racing and the water was nearly perfect all day, including the afternoon races for the women. The women's JV4 came in first by over a minute margin in a 3-boat field, while the V4 had to work a bit harder to win against divisional rival Humboldt State. The varsity 8 had the SPU women breaking even with the Willamette lead at Daffodil two weeks prior but still short of the win this week. The women's 8 however, still finished well ahead of Humboldt and the other finishers Pacific Lutheran, Lewis & Clark, and Portland State. See more on the story at Falcons Online link.

The three golds and two silvers on the day provide for a strong foothold for the team as they enter the championship segment of the schedule. Next up is the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference battle as the 2009 championship returns to Lake Stevens April 18th.


NCRC Invitational Finds Inviting Finish Line

SPU Men's Varsity 4 grabs the 2nd place heat finish at Vancouver Lake to qualify ultimately for the bronze in the final. L-R Zeke Schellberg, Travis

Drake, David Peterson, Carter Swanson, Matt Shi

6 April - With much better weather conditions this weekend - despite a 2-hour fog delay - Seattle Pacific crews performed marvelously finishing no less than third in any category at the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Invitational in Vancouver, Washington. Winning the women's second-varsity four outright, other noteworthy finishes included a strong 2nd from the men's novice four, a 2nd place heat finish and 3rd place final from the MV4, and the women's varsity 8 finishing third in a nationally represented Division II race. Both Rollins from the southern region, and Dowling College (3rd at 2008 NCAA Championship) from the eastern region made the long trek for this early season regatta to begin establishing the pecking order for NCAA selection. That the Falcon women defeated Rollins and finished just 4 seconds behind Dowling was tremendously positive for their selection prospects. Additionally, they overcame both DII regional rivals Humboldt State and UC San Diego to solidify a prominent leap in their western regional status as well. This finish did allow them to race in a combined inter-divisional race in the late afternoon providing a second chance at Dowling but the weather and water, in more classic Vancouver Lake fashion, turned foul instantly after launching and the gals finished sixth of six with their hull burdened by 10 gallons of water.

The men's results were amazing provided that they had minimal recovery and doubling half the lineup into three races, the third place finish bodes well for their prospects heading into the championship segment. For more on the story catch the Falcon Athletics article.

Up next is the Covered Bridge Regatta in Eugene, Oregon followed by the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championship regatta at Lake Stevens.


Falcons Two Up for Daffodil Cup

30 March - The crews battled incredible wintery conditions to fare well in the Annual Daffodil Cup regatta at American Lake last Saturday, two stellar wins from women's fours and a near win from the novice men provided an excellent start to the regular season schedule. See our Schedule & Results link for race details and the SPU Falcons Online link for the full story and what's up next at Lake Vancouver.


Crews Kick off Season with Duel Sweep

One of five foggy victories for the Falcons over Pacific Lutheran. L-R Katy Stine, Katja Ibsen, Kristin Lorenzen, Holly Allan, Lara Rediger

Read story here at this link: Media story


Homecoming 2009 - Rowers of Yore Converge

2 February - The 2009 Falcon crew Homecoming was terrific fun and thankfully warm this year with a host of distinguished alums reappearing from teams as early as the mid-70s all the way to last year's graduates. Despite forecasts for rain, God shined down upon the gathering once more with cool temperatures and a warm glow from the sun. With an accompanying light tailbreeze to aid the racing, all crews came off the line without a hitch covering a 900-meter distance in splendid fashion, and affording a mercifully brief 1.5-minute spate of discomfort for the former athletes. As usual however, the prowess of skill (especially over the short distance) rues the day and the cumulative experience of the alumni rowers displayed if not fitness then certainly mastery. All three alumni men's fours finished ahead of the 2009 novice men's four earning the Dayee Hawes Trophy yet again for the alumni men for the 10th straight year. It should be noted however, that this does not bode unwell for the novices, the only race the 2006 men's novice four lost all year was the Homecoming race against alumni. The women alumni could not muster a lineup this year unfortunately, in all likelihood due to the myriad of children running about their legs and hanging on their arms. The family representation was absolutely tremendous this year with well over a dozen kids representing perhaps the next few generations of Falcon crew athletes.

Additionally highlighting the event this year was the christening of the team's newest men's hull the Steadfast. This Pocock K5 is one of the latest and fastest designs fresh off Pocock Racing Shells design programs and should add signficantly to the confidence and acumen of our men's crews for years to come. Pastor Mark Abbott long-time pastor from the campus First Free Methodist Church blessed the occasion and the hull, followed by alumnus coxswain Dave Hamilton baptizing the bow while current Coach Keith Jefferson dedicated the shell. While this hull has already raced, it has done so unnamed until a suitable one could be determined. With no specific naming directive from the donor, the moniker Steadfast was ultimately inspired by I Corinthians 15:57-58 as an attribute of commitment to doing the Lord's work, in rowing and in life. This work and this ethos remain the foundation of both the University and the Falcon rowing program's success. Likewise, we ask that you not only pray for the purveyors of this mantra and pullers of this hull, but that you help us remain steadfast in our pursuit of excellence in all aspects: spiritual, intellectual, and physical.

The morning was capped off nicely with the formal announcement of a brand new, memorial men's rowing endowment named for Robert M. Curley. This endowment was a terrific surprise and was the result of one man's passion for Seattle Pacific and, through his own rowing history, his passion for seeing what amazing things develop in the human character through experiences like collegiate rowing. We encourage you to read more about Robert Curley at our dedicated Curley Endowment page. It is worthy of mention also that the commitment on the part of Bob Curley's wife Jann to seeing after his wishes in this regard were a huge part of making this amazing gift a reality. In light of Jann's generous and persistent care in the formation of this endowment, we as a program and family are humbly blessed and truly thankful.


Autumn Recap, Winter Forecast

Jan 21 - The autumn finished up in reasonable fashion with the team in decent form and oriented towards final exams, a welcome Christmas break and some rest time. The November off-water training period, even shorter this year with a new NCAA required week off prior to finals, made for an abbreviated but still fruitful training segment and a very long break for the student-athletes. There were many fall performance highlights and the team bonded well with the novice group joining to the varsity morning practices virtually right away rather than waiting customarily for mid-November land training..

The men's race at Greenlake provided a good sampling of about everything that can go awry and as such provided a critical learning experience for the new rowers. In standard display, mother nature sent the typical south winds to wreak havoc at the starting area causing the officials to shorten the already half course of 1000 meters down to 500. Likewise due to the impacts of a short course on the schedule the SPU men's four had to be called to the line for their race now ten minutes early. Adding to this a false start from an opponent had the seven-lane field realign with not even 300 meters of course left, the racing start sequence was barely complete when the finish flag came down. The fledgling Falcon crew was a bit perplexed by the whole affair finishing sixth of seven, barely breathing hard at all after pulling what has to be a record short crew race of 1 minute 32 seconds. Experience in any form however is experience that pays dividends in the formal racing season when mistakes and problems are more costly. All in all then it was productive and the men were thankful at least for no rain.

Winter training began with wheels turning fast January 5th and the roster strength reflected the strength of character of the tight-knit returning group as the groups braced for the ominous race training segment of the year. Men held steady at eight, while the women maintain a roster strength of 14. With menacingly cold temperatures, arduous and long workouts, winter seems endless but is deceptively short and the team has just 64 training days from the first January training to prepare for their first race in mid-March. Following that is a thin schedule of five regular season events with which to prove themselves capable of post-season championship performance. So training is business and the days count past faster and faster. Individuals transform to racers, crews emerge from this transformation and the team seems to magically form out of the darkness, fog, rain, and sweat. It is a strange cycle to many, but the payoffs are long-held as both tangible and intangible. As usual then, character transformation both individual and group is the 2009 winter forecast.


SPU Men in Autumn Race at Greenlake

Nov 4 - The SPU men will be making their first appearance of the season this Saturday the 8th of November at Greenlake in north Seattle. It has been almost two decades since SPU has attended this event, abandoning it with virtually every other collegiate team for more traditional, long distance racing venues. With SPU crew rosters highly dependent on walk-on novices, the advent of NCAA eligibility requirements in rowing combined with the SPU quarter academic calendar, has made autumn racing very difficult to achieve. Falcon rowing has basically ended autumn competion over the last few years. It has become just too challenging to get athletes through the NCAA eligibility process and have them in any kind of conditioning that would allow for safe, effective racing for those with just four weeks of orientation when most semester school schedules allow for twice that preparation time.

Often prone to tumultuous weather and water in the fall, the Greenlake venue offers only 1 kilometer of distance rather than the standard sprint distance of 2000 meters, and much shorter than the typical distances of three or more miles seen this time of year. The return to racing at this site however, allows for at least some of the new group of athletes to get a race primer of sorts, providing them some appreciation of the Spring sprint format as well as some motivation through the long winter training cycle. SPU will be racing in an open four category that allow as an "open" regatta however, the crew will be facing no collegiate competition but rather various clubs from around the northwest region. The Falcon men's four will be led by a very experienced duo of 4-year stroke oar and coxswain, but the rest, all new to the sport as of October, are learning quite rapidly and progressing well and should actually do well with some control over race jitters. The race schedule is online on our competition schedule and results page, and the athletes racing will be: Zeke Schellberg, stroke-oar; Carter Swanson, 3-seat ; David Peterson, 2-seat, Riley Mullet, bow; and Matt Shi coxing. Please try to support our fledgling Falcon crew from the southern shore of this local venue.


New Crew Assistants Named

Sept 24 - The SPU crew coaching staff has made a very positive leap forward in hiring SPU crew alums David Stalsbroten and Katie Wolff to fill the vacancy left by Jessie Pennington.

Dave is a two-year SPU rower who graduated in 2006, hailing originally out of Anacortes high school. As a lightweight Dave was a starboard in the latest series of strong varsity light men’s fours produced in SPU’s rich tradition of lightweight rowing. Even as a novice he was a 2003 conference champion in the varsity light four that then finished with silver at the regional Championship. As the team’s Most Inspirational award recipient in 2004, his leadership within that year’s light four was paramount to establishing SPU among the fastest in the nation with a sixth place finish at the DVRA Championship in Philadelphia. The ’04 lights managed this achievement on top of an undefeated regular season in category to include the NCRC and WIRA Championships. A graduate of SPU in English Literature and more recently of Every Nation School of Campus Ministry, Dave is currently working with Seattle inner city youth in the Every Nation Campus Ministry program and the Young Life ministry as well as coaching cross and track at Rainier Beach high school. In outstanding shape himself, Dave will be pursuing further certification as a Strength and Fitness Trainer as part of his career in athletics related ministry.

Katie Wolff is a 2008 graduate in Psychology and a three-year starboard who made her mark as one of the finest oarswomen in recent team history. Out of Mid Vermont Christian in Bridgewater, Vermont originally, Katie learned to row at SPU but was quickly established as an individual who possessed the whole package. A dynamo of fitness, she was always among the top scorers on the erg yet also was technically superb as a purveyor of posture and poise in the boat from the start. Katie also maintained the leadership component as a two-year captain and was voted Most Inspirational her novice year and selected All-Region as a senior in 2008. Her stalwart presence has been instrumental in the advent seasons of the Varsity 8 era, leading to the first SPU appearance at the NCAA national women’s rowing championship in 2007 and in winning the WIRA Championship banner in 2008. Katie is about to enter the intensive two-year Cortiva Massage School and is currently employed by Rejuvenation Massage of Ballard.

These two fine assistants will add tremendously to the strength of the teams and will be very terrific staff level contributors to the culture of excellence they helped espouse as Falcon rowers.



  Longtime Assistant Coach Steps Down

Sept. 2 - The all-time record holder for SPU assistant crew coaching tenure Jessie Pennington honorably left the post last June after an extraordinarily distinguished record here at Seattle Pacific, doing so to be with family and pursue other career interests. Smashing the former tenure record by over double (Wendy Stubenrauch, 91-93), Jessie began her coaching career immediately in 2001 following her tremendous rowing career also at Seattle Pacific (98-01). As a rower she was a tremendous asset to the program early on earning a national championship bronze medal her sophomore year, followed by two consecutive national championship wins in 2000 (SPU's first ever) and '01. Graduating as the stalwart starboard in the women's varsity four, she was nonetheless a versatile and dedicated rower on both sides as well as bow and stern. She served as team captain and her leadership lent greatly to her stepping up into the assistantship beginning in 2001-02.

Jessie wasted no time in making her mark as a coach alongside fellow assistant Josh Adam by contributing directly to the 2002 national championship wins from the women's varsity pair and women's novice four that year. Jessie even served as the interim head coach in the 2003 season while head coach Keith Jefferson was mobilized to the reserves. During that time she managed to coach two different varsity crews to their respective national championships; the women's varsity four and the women's varsity lightweight four (SPU's only lightweight national champions), a feat never accomplished prior or since. Her additional accomplishments include assisting the women's four to the team's sixth and seventh national championship titles in '04 and '05, as well as the Henley Women's Regatta in England, and finally the program's first and only appearance at the NCAA national championship in 2007.

Jessie has been a superb leader and an all around expert at her craft. She holds a Masters Degree in Sports Administration and Leadership from Seattle University, is a USRA Level III certified coach, and served as a Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference officer for three years. She has been held in high esteem by all her peer coaches in the west as well as by the dozens of rowers she has taught to row and race with excellence. The process of finding replacements is ongoing and continues to highlight that she will be sorely missed.


Lightweight sculling camp advances double to World Championship

30 June - For the second year in a row the SPU based rowing camp for lightweight women has qualified a double-scull to the Under 23 World Championship in Brandenburg, Germany. Whilte the two athletes are not from Seattle Pacific, their coach is. Josh Adam learned to row at Seattle Pacific and enjoyed an excellent career rowing both open and light weight, ultimately achieving a silver medal in the men's DVRA national collegiate championship, the best ever for a Falcon mens crew, in 2000. Josh went on to become a men's pair national champion in the club system and assistant coach at Seattle Pacific where he coached the Falcon's first women's novice four and women's pair national champion crews to gold. Josh then assumed assistant positions at Lewis & Clark College in Portland and then to the University of Minnesota where his JV crew won the NCAA women's rowing championship in 2007. He has just accepted a position as head novice coach at Indiana University after earning his Masters degree and is no doubt bound for great things.

You are encouraged to help fund his effort to the World Championship, and can do so at this link www.firstgiving.com/u23lightweightwomen  as well as read information on the two fine athletes at the heart of this effort.


May - In spectacular, come-from-behind fashion, the women's varsity 8 was victorious by three seats over Division II rivals UC San Diego and Humboldt State at the 2008 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in Sacramento.

Fantastic Finish for WIRA Women's 8

5 May - In spectacular, come-from-behind fashion, the women's varsity 8 was victorious by three seats over Division II rivals UC San Diego and Humboldt State at the 2008 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships in Sacramento. The crew has been improving steadily enough over the weeks so the results weren't overly surprising, the method however of coming from open water behind was. All crews came out hard at the start but the Falcons flew past nearly the entire field in the final 500 meters. The Falcons are only the third crew to win this event, a newly formed category limited to only Division II, III crews or Division I club programs. Comprised of a good mix of young and experienced, the ladies eight has five true novices including the coxswain but a solid core of experience from last year's NCAA petite final winners in the stern four.

2008 WIRA Champion Varsity 8, L-R: coxswain Kristi Tamaki, stroke Rachel Savage, Katie Wolff seven-seat, Kay Chikos six-seat, Rachel Strand five-seat, Lauren Anderson in four-seat, Eleni Johnsen in three-seat, Katie Degner in two-seat, and Emily Pitts in bow position.

The women's varsity four faced all divisions in their category but managed to meet their goal of defeating all Division II fours in the field. Again, UC San Diego was the only DII opponent and SPU four had already defeated them previously at the conference invitational in April. Their lead in the petite final was a solid 12 seconds over the Titons to help inch them closer to a first SPU at large team bid to the NCAAs. This crew had all returnees or experienced rowers in the lineup; Tricia Omoto at the tiller, Denise Filley stroking, Amy Burns at 3, Kim Leinstock at 2, and Katie Whitt in the bow seat.

The Falcon men sported a pair this year again taking a year off from the V4, with the sole returnees Justin Rowley (stroke) and Zeke Schellberg (bow) making the transition deftly. With a stiff head breeze and a stiff Division I crowd in this event the pair faired well to qualify to the final where they finished fifth just over Washington State.

The women's crews will return to Lake natoma on May 17th for the Pacific Coast Rowing Championship and the western region Division II final. Here they will make their final showing for a bid to the NCAA Women's Rowing championship also to be held at this venue at the end of the month. It should be a very exciting single shot at the championship berth.


21 April - With now all regular season racing complete, culminating with the Conference championship on the 19th, the Falcon rowers will push on into the post season with a renewed vigor and a favorable schedule. The NCRC Championship proved to be another weather-burdened event with hail, high winds, and near freezing temperatures on Lake Vancouver, all causing swamping boats, race delays, and shortening the course in half for most small boat races. The results somewhat reflect this meteriological melee though there were some positive bronze medal finishes in the women's JV8 the women's JV4, and the women's varsity 8 who managed to finally get past primary Division II rival Humboldt state and with open water to spare.

Vancouver weather however, seemed a stark contrast from the sunny 76 in Eugene the week prior for the Covered Bridge Regatta, but even that event wasn't anomalous to the season's fickle weather and doesn't tell the whole story. Indeed the entire first half of the racing schedule in Eugene was cancelled due to high wind and waves. Fortunately no collegiate races were affected and the SPU crews raced in their categories managing strong finishes in the women's varsity 8 (nearly a photo finish) and the men's four finishing behind Humboldt State and two solid Oregon State crews, but well ahead of the rest of the field.

Previous to Covered Bridge was the NCRC Conference Invitational also at Lake Vancouver though with slightly more cooperative conditions. The substantial highlight was the women's V8 closing to just a second down on rival Humboldt, but ahead of Division II rival UC San Diego. Nearly the same results were managed by the varsity four also finishing ahead of UCSD which then bodes well for a team bid selection for this year's NCAA Women's Rowing Championship. UCSD was ranked 3rd nationally going into this regatta, and the Falcon women will get two more chances to see defeat them more convincingly at both the WIRA regional and Pacific Coast Championships coming up in May.

All of the final three championship events are at the same location near Sacramento, California. Stay tuned for more updates and please join us if you happen to be in the area of any of our remaining races. For information, results and links on the events click on Schedule & Results




2007 NCAA Division II women's 8

Winner - petitie final



Keith Jefferson, Head Coach
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 301

Seattle, Washington 98119-1997
phone: 206-281-2931 fax: 206-281-2266
email: kpjeffr@spu.edu