Fall 2022 Newsletter

Dear Alumni and Friends,

The 2022-23 season is already shaping up to be a step forward. The last three years were challenging for our team. As we emerged from two years which were interrupted (or canceled) by the pandemic, some of our Varsity crews struggled to find speed last spring. However, their leadership proved helpful to the success of our Novice Eight — which won Gold at the ACRA Championships. This teamwork is a great sign for our future, and we will be keenly focused this year on improving the overall performance of our Varsity boats.

Our 2023 goal is to win ACRA Championships medals in the Varsity Eight, Junior Varsity Eight, and Novice Eight. This may seem ambitious, but we have a promising mix of fast young guys, returning rowers from last year’s Gold Medal Novice Eight, as well as many talented and hardworking third and fourth years. At the Head of the Charles, the Varsity Eight finished eighth which was the top performance among ACRA teams. The key to our spring performance will be our winter training which will be inspired by the fall successes.

Financially, we set high expectations as well. For the first time in program history, we have an ergometer for every team member. We purchased 60 ergs from the women’s team thanks to the donation matching challenge by Jaime Myers. This matching gift inspired a tremendous response from our younger graduates, with members of the class of 2008 and younger donating a large share to meet the challenge. After buying these ergs, which are less than four years old, we are now able to maintain our erg fleet for years to come.
Your generosity over the past three years has ensured that VRA continues to maintain a solid balance sheet, and we need your continued support. To meet our budget, we still need to raise $170,000 by June 2023. Your ongoing support is critical to the financial health of our program, and sends a message to the current athletes that they have a team behind them, supporting them and our wonderful sport. In short, your gift is a testament to the common purpose we share across generations of rowers and their families.

Go Hoos!

Andrew K. Fletcher
President, Virginia Rowing Association

Frank G. Biller
Head Coach, Virginia Rowing Association

Fall 2022 Season

The team at ACRA in May after conclusion of the regatta; ready to head back to Charlottesville! Despite the struggles through the pandemic, we fielded the largest team of all ACRA teams.

Head of the Charles

The Varsity Eight at the Head of the Charles Regatta finished very good overall at eighth and top place of all ACRA teams. There is a lot of work to be done, but the guys are ready to work hard through winter training. Guys are expected to be diligent over winter break and will then report to our Training Camp in Charlottesville roughly 10 days before classes start.

Pre-race butterflies are still a thing even today; fun to see the guys nervously looking around at the beginning of their Charles warm-up. No denying that it happened! But who can blame them; the Charles is a giant celebration of rowing – there is a lot to see for sure!

Thank you Jenny and Alan

Thank you for 10 years of service: Jenny Fjeseth
Jenny Fjeseth, Team Athletic Trainer, has moved to Wisconsin with her husband Lance, who took a new job there. Generations of rowers cannot thank Jenny enough for all the work and help she had provided, hours of her listening to all things human and always made sure there was a solution. Jenny originally worked for UVA Athletics and with Kevin Sauer, then she took a long time of start a family and both her kids, Zoe and Ty, were older she came back to help us out. Thank you Jenny, for everything you have done!!

Thank you for 5 years of service: Alan Kush ’11
Alan Kush ’11 Associate Head Coach/Novice Coach/Staff Engineer/Can do anything – we cannot thank you enough for the countless projects, ideas, and creations you came up with, besides your amazing coaching! When you returned from California to Charlottesville you brought a treasure of experiences and knowledge with you, and in the process, you helped us with your own betterment and striving to be the best we can be. We congratulate you to your appointment at Dartmouth College, an absolute Tier 1 team in men’s rowing and working with Wyatt Allen ’01. Despite their lofty team and support, you will help them to move forward and do things they never even thought of. Thank you, my friend and brother!

UVA Novice Eight – National Champions 2022

Left to Right: Chris Gardner, Jack Spinnager, Brett Hogan, Alex Ballinger, Reece Anderson (cox), Ian Forrer, Noah Amato, Nathan Lindley, Philip Pedigo
Bottom Left: Walker Hauptman; worked as assistant coach and Alan’s understudy over the past two years, he has been promoted to Novice coach.
Bottom Right: Alan Kush ’11; putting together his master piece with a National Champion eight – we miss him and his loyal companion Gypsy – but we are proud of him helping Dartmouth and Wyatt Allen ’01

Thank you to Our Donors!

Thanks to a matching grant from the UVA Parents’ Fund – and the generous donations from our team parents, we were able to acquire a safe and reliable truck to tow the trailer. Logistics are critical – and perhaps not prestigious as dedicating a new racing shell, these same shells don’t get to races by themselves. Thank you parents, and thank you UVA Parents’ Fund!

Thanks to the very generous matching gift from our longtime friend and supporter Jaime Myers, which was met by almost 40 “young alumni” we now have 60 ergometers, each their own, for winter training! The previous erg fleet was coming of age, with some machines as old as 16 years. We actually owned only a handful of them, the rest belonged to the women’s team.


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