At 5:30 a.m., the crew team is practicing before most students even wake up. Head Coach Daniel Hagelberg suggested afternoon practices this year, but there was little agreement. The consensus was that the team enjoys morning practices and wants to continue that way- not to mention that they enjoy getting a great view of the sunrise each morning.
This year marks the first year of the crew team competing as a varsity sport since its creation in the 1980s as a club rowing team. Both teams will compete in the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Association. The women’s team will also compete with NCAA Division III rowing and the men’s team will compete with the Intercollegiate Rowing Association.
Hagelberg said the decision for the team to become a varsity sport was made in 2014, as there was an increasing demand for the club to become varsity. A feasibility report was done to decide if a varsity crew team could be sustained at St Mary’s. The findings were that, because of our location in the Mid-Atlantic region and position on the St. Mary’s River, a varsity crew team could be continued.
Coach Hagelberg has been coaching crew teams for six years, and rowed for the University of Delaware in college. This year marks his second year as the head coach at St. Mary’s. This year the team has more than 60 rowers with 20 first-years joining the team. Hagelberg puts an emphasis on accepting rowers from all experience levels. Junior Ashley Zuir said, “I joined the team because I wanted to do something completely different from what I had done in high school, which was mostly running sports.” The team is made up of people with previous rowing experience as well as people who have never rowed.
Senior Captain Collin Kroh joined the crew team last year and said, “It’s the hardest sport I’ve ever played, or rowed, because it requires mental toughness and physical toughness at the same time.” Hagelberg says he puts a lot of emphasis on effort and results and wants rowers to rely less on their seniority to get into the best boats and put in more effort into becoming the best rowers they can be.
Kroh says the best part of the team is the people, “It’s a great atmosphere, great people, and I love going out there in the morning with them. It’ll make for a fun practice and ultimately a great season.”