1964 Season

Norm Sonju
Norm Sonju
  Victor Johnson
Victor Johnson
 Results | Summary | Photos | W Winners 

Season Results

Cochrane 1
Eastern Sprints 4

Season Summary

In the autumn of 1963, former Badger crew coach Ralph Hunn died in Milwaukee .

In September 1963, the Wisconsin State Journal reported UW President had given the green light to a new crew house in order to clear the way for lower campus development around the lower campus (red gym). The new crew house has not been selected, but it is expected to be in University Bay .

The Badgers accepted the invitation of Coach Bradley to visit Rollins College for winter break and training.

In February 1964, the Wisconsin Crew Newsletter noted the $25,000 gift of Carl S. Reed (1905) toward the new boathouse.

April 25, on a 2,000-meter course on the Wabash River in Lafayette, Ind., UW's JV-8 (5:14.3) beat the Purdue varsity (5:19.2) by 1 ¼ lengths, with the Purdue JV (5:32.6) a distant third. Purdue's lightweight eight (5:25.7) beat Wisconsin 's freshmen (5:26.0) by a foot in a hard-fought race, with the Purdue freshman (5:29.1) boat a length behind. UW left by bus April 24 and stayed overnight at the Morris Bryant Hotel in Lafayette . UW's JV boating: William Schwaab (bow, from Oconomowoc; died the following summer as a flag man on a highway construction job), David Storm, Don Mowry, Norbert Grisar, Jon Stoddard, Lloyd Smith, Robert Boeltcher, Tom Mitchell (stroke) and Jim Hafemeister (cox).

On May 2, UW (6:55.2) defeated the Detroit Boat Club by a length and the Detroit jayvees by 2 lengths on a 2,000 meter course on Lake Mendota .

In Marietta Ohio on May 2, rowing a 2,000-meter course on the Muskingum River , Marietta (5:19.6) outrowed UW's JV-8 (5:26.1) by 1 ¾ lengths. Marietta 's freshmen (5:33.1), on the same course, topped Wisconsin 's frosh (5:36.3) by ¾ length.

In a race run near-dusk because of rough waters earlier, on May 9, on the same Lake Mendota 2,000-meter course, UW (6:55.2) topped MIT (6:12) by a length and Dartmouth (6:15.8) by 2 lengths to win the Cochrane Cup. UW's boating: Jon Stoddard (bow), Marv Utech , Kent Carnahan, Tom Kroncke, Benton Logterman, Roger Seeman, Tom Olson (stroke and Dan Schwoerer (cox).

May 16 at the Eastern Sprints in Worcester , Wisconsin (6:40.1) finished 4 th behind Harvard ( 6:32 ), Cornell ( 6:36 ) and Yale (6:37.5); MIT was 5 th and Penn 6 th . UW's JV-8 was eliminated in the trials.

On Lake Cayuga 's 2,000-meter course in Ithaca , NY on May 23, Cornell ( 6:25 ) beat UW ( 6:33 ) by two lengths and Penn ( 6:35 ) by 2 ½.

In Madison on May 23, on a 2,000-meter Lake Mendota course, the UW's jayvees (6:39.9 placed second behind UW's freshmen (6:34.9) by 1 ¼ lengths and Wayne State ( 6:44 ) took third.

June 10, on a 2,000-meter course on Lake Monona (due to rough water on Lake Mendota ), Navy ( 6:01 ) held off a closing sprint by Wisconsin ( 6:02 ) to win by ¼ length.


In the IRA's:

In the June 20 IRA varsity eight consolation race, Wisconsin ( 6:20 ) placed 1 st (7 th overall). In the grand finals, hampered by an 8 mph head wind, the order was: Cal (6:31.1), Washington (6:37.8), Cornell (6:40.3), Princeton (6:45.9), MIT (6:47.1) and Navy (6:51.5). UW's JV-8 (7:03.6) placed 7 th ; the finals finished in this order: Washington (6:14.9), Cal (6:19.6), Cornell (6:19.9), MIT, Navy and Columbia .

Freshman eight, under freshman coach Randy Jablonic, win their third (the last being 1900 and 1907) IRA title on 2,000-meter Syracuse course in 6:49.4, followed by Brown (6:54.9), Columbia (6:55.5), Washington (7:00.9), Cornell (7:01.2) and Syracuse (7:07.4).

The Syracuse Herald American under the headline Western Crews Dominate IRA Here…California Varsity, Washington JV, Wisconsin Freshman:

Badger Frosh Happy

Wisconsin 's freshman completed a “Small Slam” for the Badgers, as its varsity and jayvee crews captured their consolation races. It was Wisconsin 's first frosh victory since 1907. The winning Cubs had a 1 ½ length margin over fast-closing Brown, which just got up to nip Columbia . It was the finest Light Blue ( Columbia ) yearling performance since 1939. Washington , which led for the first half of the race, just managed to save fourth from Cornell….Syracuse's yearlings after giving a good tussle for the first 1,000 meters, faded to last. Wisconsin 's winning frosh time was 6:49.9.

Badgers Get Stronger

After a ding-dong fight for the first 1,200 meters, Wisconsin 's brilliant freshman oarsmen rowed away with the championship. The young Badgers, stroked by 19-year-old Neil Halleen from Sheboygan, Wis., wrestled the lead from Washington, the early pace-setter, with only about 800 meters to go, and drew away, winning pretty much as they pleased.


  1964 UW Frosh Class Age Height Weight
Bow David Quam ‘67 19 6'4” 188
2 Harold Thomas ‘67 20 6'2” 185
3 John Halleran ‘67 19 6'3” 185
4 Thomas Sy ‘67 19 6'3” 189
5 Jon Norsetter ‘67 19 6'4” 194
6 Don Lange ‘67 19 6'4” 195
7 William Clapp ‘67 19 6'4” 180
Stroke Neil Halleen ‘67 19 6'2” 175
Cox James Rowen ‘67 19 5'8” 112


Why Row? College Captains Provide Answers

He has sacrificed many of the renowned pleasures of college days. In the spring at least, his social life is nonexistent. No one on the campus knows physical toll as he and his teammates do. Often, his object is to drive himself beyond the known limits of his endurance. He receives few tangible rewards, but finds others.

He accepts and enjoys the anonymity inherent in his way of life. He claims moments of pleasure beyond those attainable in other sports and he believes what he is doing is essentially better than what others do. He like belonging to an interdependent group. In fact he is clannish, saying only those of his kind can know the reason why - why crew?

He is an oarsman, any of several hundred rowing on college crews this spring in pursuit of an activity that defies academic cynicism. The convertible with the top down is the springtime symbol of American youth, not the oar. Yet rowing is in ascendancy, found in more school and colleges now than ever before.

View from Marietta

‘You must almost be crazy to row,' says John Weisser, captain of the Marietta College crew. ‘People find it hard to believe that oarsmen train so hard, so many months in advance to row well for a six minute race. Many races are backed by three or four hundred hours of practice, but the reward of victory is worth it.'

Weisser was one of a group of college crew captains who recently, with considerable assent, a series of “why crew” questions.

Sacrifice, they all wrote, is the name of the game. ‘The whole year is a series of sacrifices of individual desire to the physical well-being and morale of the crew.' Said Findley Meislahn of Princeton . ‘It's hard when spring vacation nears and your friends are going to Florida or Aspen ,' wrote John McLaughlin of Dartmouth . ‘You are going to Kent , Connecticut to do absolutely nothing but row for two weeks.'

At Dartmouth sacrifice is more than symbolic. Oarsmen must pay around $100 a season to enjoy a sport that lacks full college support. This is true of crew at many colleges.

Physical sacrifice is easily found. ‘At the Eastern sprints in 1962.' Recalled McLaughlin, ‘I saw many men pass out. To pull so hard you pass out is one of the goals I hold for myself. It is a bit on the masochistic side, but I would like to push myself all out to try to win that close race.'

Rowing in Oblivion

But there is no excuse for passing out during a race, according to Harry Parker of Harvard. He wrote, ‘You must finish, which may mean rowing in oblivion.'

Crew is not for the indolent but ‘for the man willing to work,' says Princeton 's Meislahn. To Don Light of Cornell, ‘Crew is a thinking man's sport. To be good, one must think about what he is doing every single stroke.

‘One must use all the muscles: legs, back and arms. Each must be coordinated perfectly. This coordination and thinking must, in turn, be coincided perfectly with seven other men in the same boat. That's why it's such a challenge to practice.

Perfection is beyond the oarsman. Harvey Love, the late Harvard coach, once told Pollock that there is no such thing as a perfect oarsman. Cornell's Light thinks that if he ever could become perfect, he would quit out of boredom.

At the same time, Meislahn suggests, ‘An oarsman must have a burning desire to excel, the ability to push oneself to the limits of human endurance and still maintain poise and concentration.'

But where are the rewards? Meislahn knows. ‘I have never achieved a greater thrill or sense of satisfaction than the feeling of a boat swinging together and moving away from the others in a race. It combines the pleasure of conditioned physical exertion with a sensation halfway between floating and flying.'

Pollock of Harvard agrees. ‘When a boat is really moving, the rowing is not so effortful. The speed of the boat is sustaining. You feel like you can beat the wind.'

Crew is strong on values. ‘It's a discipline, a way of life, ‘ wrote John Robohm of Brown. ‘One's whole attitude changes under the value of crew. A coach once told his squad, ‘ Cary crew up from the river to the school. Don't leave behind what you learn.'

Ray Josefson of Columbia believes that crew teaches the achievement of single-minded purpose with the object ‘to win.' He added, ‘Once the action's taken, it should be pursued utterly.

Many of the captains agree with the contention of Jim Norvell of Navy that crew builds self-confidence…'self-confidence that you've got guts. There's value I knowing you can pull that last half-mile in the varsity boat when others could not.'

Pollock, who wrote 1,500 beautifully-chosen words for this inquiry, stressed the unity of an eight-oared cew. ‘It requires the most cooperative effort. The spectator does not realize the precision; that eight oars are gripping and releasing the water, all at the exact same moment, and all in the correct manner. There is one way to “catch,” but hundreds of ways not to.

‘On account of the great effort of each individual oarsman to produce a cooperative result, meaning the fastest boat, it is not surprising that the unity within the squad is very deep. There is a unique feeling of camaraderie among crewmen, not only within a particular squad but within the entire rowing world.

Some Distasteful Moments

Crew does have its distasteful moments. ‘When the junior varsity passes you in practice,' cited Pollock. Rowing on a cold windy day, when ice forms on the oars, gives McLaughlin of Dartmouth no pleasure. John O'Brien of St. John's has often climbed into an icy sweat suit at 6:00AM and wondered about his sanity. ‘But it paid of,' he said. ‘We have a winning crew.'

Crew has few trumpets and perhaps needs no more. ‘It isn't that no one cares to shout the praises of crew,' said McLaughlin. ‘It is that anyone who really knows crew does not need to shout about it.'

‘It's not a spectator sport. There are moments of beauty but the uneducated do not appreciate them. I would like to see more attention paid to crew only that others could have the opportunity to enjoy what I have enjoyed.'

‘The public,' said Meislahn, ‘is preoccupied in idolizing individuals, therefore there is little interest in nameless oarsmen.'

Then why does the gospel spread? Norvell of Navy explains, ‘There is interest in a sport that is interesting. This a pure sport. There's no money. No good deals. No glory. The unity of the boat, the fanaticism and religious ardor of oarsmen all attribute to crew's growth.'

O'Brien of St. John 's said simply, ‘Crew teaches you to do a thing for the love of doing it rather than wondering how you can get a buck out of it. This seems to be a little lacking in incoming freshman. You can almost feel the need for this sport in the United States .'

-Wallace, William D., “Why Row? College Captains Provide Answers,” New York Times, April 26, 1964, p. V-7


UW coach Norm Sonju served as co-manager for the U. S. Olympic Rowing Team at the Olympic Games in Tokyo . The eight and pair with coxswains each won gold; the double skulls and the four-oared with cox won silver and four without coxswain won bronze.



1964 Junior Varsity

1964 Junior Varsity



Robert Boettcher
William R. Clapp
Michael Danley
George R. Emerson
Dennis W. Gillespie
Steve Goodman
Norbert Grisar
Neil C. Halleen
John D. Halleran
Thomas H. Haworth
Robert Krolnik
George Thos. Kroncke
Thomas G. Mitchell
Donald W. Mowry
John I. Norsetter
Thomas O. Olson
David J. Quam
Charles A. Ruedebusch
Daniel W. Schwoerer
Roger Seeman
Lloyd S. Smith
David J. Storm
James H. Tonn
Willard E. Witte


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