It might not be the biggest sport in Florida, but rowing is huge when it comes to the northeast collegiate sports. Regardless, for over a decade, the Leon High Lions compete against the big Northern prep schools that feed athletes into the Ivy League. They have much deeper benches, in some cases, 100-rower teams, whereas Leon Crew has a rower per seat. If the Lions go down a rower, chances are, they forfeit.
During the National Championships, it was blisteringly hot in New Jersey, 96 degrees, a temperature the Leon rowers are used to but the Northern teams might have found a little tough to take. Ultimately, it was the Lions who crossed the finish line first, winning the national event.
The Leon Crew junior eight boat that won the gold had been rowing together for less than a month. Coach Dan Newman put the boat together after the State Championship was over. He figured Leon had a better chance to medal if we divided our varsity 8 into two boats: a men's lightweight 8 made up of the four senior rowers and a men's junior 8 (all sophomores and juniors, basically next year's team) -- a category in which all rowers must be younger than 18. His strategy paid off. The lightweight 4 won the bronze and the junior 8 won the gold.
This bodes well for next year, since all the gold medalists are returning.
These rowers train on Lake Hall which is 600 meters shorter than the race course (1,500 meters.)
What made the difference? Coach Newman and the boys will tell it's the work ethic and passion to row. The scholar athletes work out -- hard -- 2-3 hours a day, 6 days a week.
AND they are also outstanding students. Crew has the highest GPA requirement of any sport at Leon.
Winning the gold on the men’s junior eight were Leon Crew rowers James Crowley, John Sweat, Josh McLawhorn, Kenny Nickens, Seamus Bruner, Matt Smith, Kirkland O’Steen, Nathan Rillstone and coxswain Carolyn Crabtree.
Long Skinny Boat Camp ...
is an opportunity for students (rising 6th graders and older) and adults to experience the beauty and skill of rowing. This week long camp introduces participants to the basics of rowing at Maclay Gardens State Park by professional coaches and experienced Leon Crew rowers.
Session 1: July 30 - August 3
Session 2: August 6 - 10
Youth Camp Hours: 8 A.M. to 12 Noon
Adult Camp Hours: 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.
Fee: $150 per week
Please download from the Forms link to the left:
1. Release of liability Form
2. Long Skinny Boat Camp - 2007
To register, please complete these forms and send with a check to:
Leon Crew Boosters, Inc. P.O.Box 38154 Tallahassee, FL 32315-8154.
For additional information, contact Anne Lise Truman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 559-3376.
*Press release from Michelle Ubben contributed.