1985 Season

Randy Jablonic
Randall Jablonic
  Matt Brown
Robert C. Hougard, Jr.
 Results | Summary | Photos | W Winners 

Season Results

San Diego 4
Midwest 1
Cochrane 1
Eastern Sprints 7

Season Summary

October 27, the Adrienne Carnahan shell (donated by Kent Carnahan, a “W” winner in 1964 and 1965) was christened on top of the boathouse. At the Purdue-Wisconsin football half-time, the John and Ellen Morgen shell, donated by the Morgens and David C. Falk - a contemporaneous rower with Morgen – was dedicated.

At the Head of the Charles, UW’s varsity placed 12 th.

November 10, at the Purdue vs. Wisconsin (won by UW 30-14), two shell, the John and Ellen Moran and the David c. Falk were presented at halftime on the Camp Randall football field before 70,000 fans. The shells took up forty yards of the playing field.

December 27 - January 13, the crew went to Florida to practice for the first time in 18 years.

On February 9, approximately 350 participants from seven Midwestern states competed in nine events in the Third Annual Midwinter Crew Classic in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union. Rowers twelve at a time competed to finish five miles on their ergometers. In the open men’s final, K. Kiser (7:47.01) from Purdue was first, teammate M. Peters from Purdue was second (8:01.72) and Dan Gehn (8:03.63) from UW was third.

March 9, the Wisconsin Rowing Banquet was held at the Sheraton Inn.

Spring recess (March 16-24) was spent rowing in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

In April, Wisconsin places 4th in the San Diego Classic. The team’s winter workouts leading up to the spring’s first contest in San Diego are described in a cover story of The Milwaukee Journal Magazine headlined “In Training for UW’s Toughest Sport.” Written by Dan Olesen, with photos by Ned Vespa, the piece continues:

A confection of snow, waist-deep, decorates the shore of Lake Mendota and frosts the motley old and modern buildings that make up the proud University of Wisconsin campus. It is 4 p.m. on a January day. The temperature is 10 degrees. Six men are running backward up a lakefront hill in waist-deep snow, carrying other men, piggyback. Other men are playing leapfrog through the snowdrifts on frozen Mendota. What goes on here?”

‘This is our newest boat,’ says Jablonic, lifting one end of this monster splinter with both hands. ‘It weighs 220 pounds. In the old days, 285 pounds was light. Some boats weighed as much as 320.’ This particular shell is 58 feet long, almost the length of Milwaukee County’s new articulated superbuses.

Meet another modern miracle: the ‘cox box,’ a device about the size of a 3-pound coffee can. It is located just in front of the coxswain, the ninth member of an eight-oared shell, and the only light-weight. The cox steers the boat and sets the “stroke” - the number of oar strokes per minute.

In the past, the cox shouted directions through a non-electric megaphone. Mow he or she has a head mike wired through the cox box to three light loudspeakers scattered along the boat. Not only that, but the device under the sliding seat of the No. 8 oar - the stroke - picks up the stroke rate and records it continuously on the cox box, which also bears an electronic timer. Old-timers would flip.

April 27th the Midwest Championships on the 1,800-meter Lake Wingra course. As reported in the Wisconsin State Journal of May 3, 1985 (Section 2, p. 6),

Jablonic gets upset when UE athletic director Elroy Hirsch tells how George King, the Purdue athletic director, chides him with questions like, “What’s wrong with your rowing program, Elroy? I’ve got an intramural program and we’re kicking the (expletive) out of your $100,000-a-year program.” Jablonic said, “That kind of grabs me a little bit.

UW’s varsity eight (5:30.9) defeated Purdue (5:41.9) and Wisconsin “B” (5:46.6). The frosh eight from UW (5:56.4) easily won over Purdue (6:02.8) and Wisconsin “B” (6:10.6). Wisconsin also won the Open 4 + t he Freshman 8 + (5:56.4)and the freshman four +. The weather was again miserable. UW’s frosh boating: Griesback (bow), Filip, Ryser, Perland, Duray, Gehn. McDonough, Tucker (stroke) and Mejia (cox). UW’s Open 4 + boating: Thornton (bow), Rongstad, Knickrehm, Evenson (stroke) and Rugolo (cox).

May 4, UW’s varsity eight won the Cochrane Cup and set a course/collegiate record 5:59.27 in out-rowing MIT (6:07.97) and Dartmouth (6:08.27) over a 2,000-meter Lake Mendota course. The Badgers, in a quartering tailwind, took the lead after 400 meters. UW’s varsity boating: Bryan Hanson (bow), Kevin McKleese, Hans Borcherding, Bob Hougard, Tom Tryon, Mark Berkner, Randall Reiner, Duncan Kennedy (stroke) and Dave Rugulo (cox).

In the JV race, UW’s second eight (6:22.0) defeated UW’s third eight (6:24.5) and Dartmouth’s JV-8 (6:38.2).

In the Eastern Sprints, Wisconsin won the petite final (7 th overall. The JV-8 event saw this finish: Harvard (6:07.8), Princeton (6:11.1) and Wisconsin (6:11.8). The frosh eight finished 8 th overall.

May 25, UW’s varsity eight (5:55.0) beat the defending national champion Navy eight (5:55.9) by ¼ length to win the Buck Walsh Trophy. UW also won the freshman eight and open 4 + events. Navy won the JV-8, varsity 4 -, varsity pair and freshman 4 +. This was UW’s first varsity eight win since the Buck Walsh Cup was inaugurated in 1981.

In a series of 1,000-meter warm ups with Syracuse (around May 27), UW’s varsity eight won two heats against Syracuse; in the JV-8 competition, UW lost the first heat, then won the next two; in the freshmen eights, UW won the first two heats; open 4 +, UW won twice; varsity 4 -, UW won twice; frosh 4 +, Syracuse won two and in the pairs, Syracuse won both. “I thought we were ready until we raced Wisconsin over the weekend,” Syracuse coach Bill Stanford said later in a pre-IRA interview.


In the IRA’s:

High winds postponed the races, with Syracuse’s alternate course used for some of the races. IRA winners in the varsity eight - Princeton (5:49.9; their first IRA varsity eight win), Brown, Navy, Penn, Wisconsin and Cal. Duncan Kennedy rowed in the varsity eights as a sophomore. Kennedy, a prep schooler from Salisbury School in Connecticut, is the son of Moorhead Kennedy, , the economic officer at the U.S. Embassy in the Iranian capital of Tehran when the embassy was overrun by Moslem extremists in November 1979. Kennedy was one of the 52 Americans hostage taken hostage for 444 days. “I was the only one in the family who was lucky enough to actually get some of his letters,” said the younger Kennedy, a freshman at Salisbury at the time.

In the JV eights, the results were: Princeton “B,” Princeton “A,” Navy, Cal, Wisconsin and Cornell.

Wisconsin’s freshman win at IRA’s in time of 6:01.1. Neither the New York Times nor the Syracuse Herald-American had coverage of this race, which, with the other two eight events, had been postponed by heavy winds to early Sunday morning, June 2. Following UW (6:01.1) in the frosh eight event was Navy, Syracuse, Princeton, Penn and Columbia.

June 16, on a 2,000-meter course on Harsha Lake in south west Ohio at the National Intercollegiate Varsity Eight Rowing championships, Harvard (5:44.4) won the Herschede Cup, with the rest of the finish: Princeton (5:44.9), Washington, Cornell (5:49.1), Wisconsin (5:50.7) and Cal (5:51.0).


  1985 UW Frosh Class Age Height Weight
Bow John Tucker ‘88 19 6’4” 170
2 Pat McDonough ‘88 18 6’5” 180
3 Dan Gehn ‘88 22 6’5” 210
4 Pat Duray ‘88 19 6’5” 195
5 Jim Perlard ‘88 19 6’4” 168
6 Brian Griesbach ‘88 19 6’1” 220
7 Sam Huntington ‘88 19 6’3” 165
Stroke Dan Hilliker ‘88 19 6’1” 185
Cox Ray Mejia ‘88 19 5’5” 115
    Average   6’3 ½” 185



Frosh 8 IRA winners

Frosh 8 IRA winners


Ground breaking for boathouse expansion

Ground breaking for boathouse expansion



Steve Adamski
Mark A. Berkner
Patrick Duray
David Evenson
William Filip
Daniel Gehn
Bryan Griesbach
Robert C. Hougard, Jr.
Samuel Huntington
Christopher Johnson
Jon Jonsson
Kevin McAleese
Raymond Mejia
James Periard
David Rugolo
John Tucker


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