1997 Season

Chris Clark
Chris Clark
  Beau Hoopman
Aaron Bergor
 Results | Summary | W Winners 

Season Results

San Diego 4
Midwest 1
Cochrane 2
Eastern Sprints 5
IRA 4, Ten Eyck

Season Summary

The UW Women’s Varsity Lightweight rowing program began in 1996.

September 7, the Governor’s Cup on Lake Mendota was scheduled.

On October 6, the Tail of the Fox, in Green Bay, WI, was canceled because of high winds.

October 13, at the Head of the Rock, UW’s open eight (14:33.17) and open four (16:10.17) won; the frosh did not attend.

At the Head of the Iowa, the freshmen won every event entered and brought home the all-points trophy.

October 20, at the Head of the Charles was, for the first time in its 32-year history, was canceled in the face of gale force winds and the threat of flood conditions. The Badgers had arrived in Boston, only to turn around and go home without a race.

October 26, Class Day Races were scheduled on Lake Mendota.

In January 1997, former Badger rower Robert Espeseth, Jr. was inducted into the US Rowing Hall of Fame in New York. Espeseth rowed for the Badgers from 1972 to 1975, winning four IRA first place medals as a freshman and all three years on the varsity, as well as helping Wisconsin win the Ten Eyck Trophy all four years. (The four eight’s victories at the IRA’s was equaled by two of his crew mates, Louis Schueller and Jim Dyreby. Coincidentally, a major source for this history, Clayton Chapman, former Director of the ECAC, is also became a member of this elite group, while rowing at Cornell))

Espeseth was inducted along with members of the four-oared shell that won the World Championship in 1986 and was third in 1987. Espeseth was a four-time member of the U.S. Olympic team (1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988). As of the summer of 2000, Bob Espeseth is the head rowing coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

March 15, 1997, the Rowing Banquet was held in conjunction with Coach Jablonic’s retirement party at the Dane County Exposition Center.

April 6, Wisconsin “surprising Penn and Harvard, won its San Diego Classic qualifying heat to join the seven-boat final field competing for the Copley Cup.” The final finish: Washington (6:06.98), Cal (6:13.73), Penn (6:14.16), Wisconsin (6:14.36), Yale (6:17.8), Temple (6:23.2) and Harvard (6:25.3). Wisco dropped to fourth after a review of a dead-heat finish for second showed Cal and Penn had nosed-out the Badgers.

April 12, the Merrill Lynch Classic Regatta was scheduled.

April 19, Washington visited Madison for a varsity dual meet. Washington (5:58.9) defeated Wisco (6:02.1).

April 26 at the Midwest Rowing Championships, Wisconsin won the men’s eight for the 15 th consecutive time and 23 rd of 25 tries. Only Purdue’s wins in 1981 and ’82 have spoiled the Badger’s coronation. The UW varsity eight (5:16.2) defeated Grand Valley State (5:27.2) and Cincinnati (5:30.2). Madison’s JV-8, boat “B,” won the event in 5:30.9, followed by UW “A” (5:31.0) and Ohio State (5:40.9).

The freshman eight entry of the Badgers (5:22.9) defeated Ohio State ( 5:31.8) and Michigan (5:33.8)

In the varsity four event, UW “A” ( 6:00.0) defeated Minnesota (6:01.8) and UW “B” (6:08.5).

May 3, the Cochrane Cup race was held in Madison on Lake Wingra 1,850-meter course.. With the Badgers unable to overcome a poor start, the varsity eight finish: Dartmouth (5:34.7), Wisco (5:36.8) and MIT (5:47.3). The JV-8 finish: Wisco “A” (5:40.8), Wisco “B” (5:43.5), Wisco “C” (5:51.2), Dartmouth (5:54.9) and MIT (6:20.0).

May 4, Boston University raced UW in Madison. The varsity finish: UW (5:14.) and BU (5:25.9). The JV-8 finish: UW “A” (5:27.4), BU (5:311.8), UW “B” (5:41.0) and UW “C” (5:45.4). the frosh eight finish: UW “A” (5:26.0), UW “B” (5:36.0), BU (5:36.7) and UW “C” (5:40.8).

May 11 at the Eastern Sprints, Princeton (5:46.8) “broke out of the pack with 800 meters to go on Lake Quinsigamond and eventually won by more than a length, with Yale (5:50.5) edging Brown (5:50.6) by inches - and 0.10 seconds - for second place. Harvard (5:52.2) finished fourth, Wisconsin (5:53.3), which had hoped to give retiring coach Randy Jablonic a big going-away present, was fifth and Northeastern (5:56.6) finished last.”

The JV-8 finish: Princeton (5:57.3), Yale (6:00.1), Penn (6:01.3), Wisconsin (6:01.9), Brown (6:02.2) and Harvard. The frosh eight finish: Penn (6:01.6), Princeton (6:03.0), Wisco (6:04.9), Harvard (6:05.2), Yale and Brown.

May 24, the Walsh Cup was scheduled at Annapolis, MD. The results are thought to be: Varsity eight: UW (6:05.8) over Navy (6:07.4); UW’s JV8 (6:16.4) over Navy (6:20.2); UW’s frosh eight (6:14.8) defeated Navy (6:19.2); V4 + was Navy (7:09.1) over the Badgers (7:13.9); V4 – had Navy (7:04.5) beating Wisco (7:12.0); Open 4 + was Navy (7:09.1 over UW (7:13.9); the Frosh 4 + was UW (7:02.1) over Navy “A” (7:09.9) and Navy “B” (7:27.1) and the Pairs – were UW (7:58.0) defeating Navy “A” (8:07.8) and Navy “B” (7:27.1). Wisco won the Fisher Cup 33-12 over Navy as well as the Walsh Cup.

Seniors on the UW crew were sighted rowing past the Memorial Union one Thursday in mid-May in their tradition of “The Grand Row,” (in the buff) for their last row on Lake Mendota.


In the IRA’s:

Finals in the varsity eights - Washington (5:51.0; their last victory was in 1970), Brown (5:54.1), California 5:54.3), Wisconsin (5:55.0), Princeton and Dartmouth. The JV-8 event saw Wisco (6:13.2) place 3 rd. The Frosh eight (6:12.8) was second. The Frosh four (6:57.7) were 2 nd. UW’s Varsity Four + placed 6 th (5:55.0); the Varsity Four - was 4 th (6:56.1) and the Open Four + was 4 th (7:05.8). The Pairs – were third at 7:25.6).

UW won the Ten Eyck Trophy at the IRA with no gold medals in any of the eight heavyweight events. The Wisconsin men and women also won the Robert E. Mulcahy III Trophy, introduced this year for overall supremacy in both men’s and women’s events.

Under the footnote “Crossed Oars,” sportswriter William N. Wallace writes in the June 1, 1997 New York Times, “Losing oarsmen at this event continued the tradition of surrendering their rowing shirts to the winners. But bureaucrats from the NCAA are seeking to end the venerable custom, deeming it an act of gambling in violation of NCAA bylaw 10.3. Clayton Chapman, director of the IRA regatta, is attempting to find a compromise that will enable it to continue.”

The matter was resolved when the NCAA agreed that since the betting shirt tradition started long before the NCAA was born, and could therefore be labeled as “a long standing tradition,” the NCAA adopted a waiver for any activity that fell into that category. The tradition began in 1908 when the Syracuse cox challenged his Columbia counterpart, and their rowers, and won.

After the IRA regatta, the team voted Paul Bolstad as the “Pickle Boat Captain.”

The end of the season 1997 is remembered nostalgically by many UW rowers because of the retirement of Coach Randy “Jabo” Jablonic, who had done so much to bring the Badger program to a nationwide notoriety in the U.S. rowing world. Jabo’s departure ended a long and successful association with UW as rower, assistant coach and head coach in the UW crew program.

There was a sense of loss at season’s end with the departure after 8 years of Dan Gehn as UW’s freshman coach; Gehn left to become head crew coach at Gonzaga University in California.

Chris Clark, already Head Coach, assumes responsibility for the varsity squad for the 1997-98 season. Greg Myhr is named freshman coach at Madison.

Mike Teti was named coach of the U. S. National team.


Boats that recieved a medal:

  JV 8+ Freshman 8+ Freshman 4+ Pairs -
Points for First 81 81 27 18
UW’s finish 3 2 2 3
Bow seat Roberts, Duncan Smith, Matt Noordsij-Jones, Matt Woerner, Pat
2 Danahy, Mark Rudert, Gabe Fulghum, Craig  
3 Neumann, Steve Hagen, Mitch Pollack, Zack  
4 Brian Hertzberg Marlotte, Rob Baumann, Justin  
5 Berger, Aaron Cummings, John    
6 Westergard, Ryan Cappel, Dylan    
7 Tegan, Paul Moody, Jed    
Stroke Leonardi, Mike Callahan, Dennis   Bolstad, Paul
Coxswain Spakowitz, Andrew Torgerson, Rolf Dymond, Devin  



Aaron Berger
Paul Bolstad
Peter Denk
Nathan Dowd
Edward Kakas, III
Kristian Knutsen
Nicholas Latona
Mark Lee
Jeffrey Maples
Ben Pofahl
Alexander Ressi de Cervia
Jason Rezell
Duncan Roberts
Nicolis Schilling
Andrew Spakowitz
Matthew Tucker
Paul Tegan
Nikolai Wedekind
Nelson Williams


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