Jack Cornelius, Craig Amerkhanian & Stanford Men's Rowing

By Helen Tompkins | July 22, 2013

“As coaches our job is to educate, and the commitment to work is a lesson that will follow these athletes long after they graduate.” Jake Cornelius is a 2006 Stanford Alum, 2012 Olympic Rower, and recently completed his first year as assistant coach to Craig Amerkhanian, Head Coach of Stanford Men’s Rowing. The first step for prospective Cardinal rowers is to establish a “commitment to academic and intellectual excellence,” as stated by the Stanford University Admissions Office. For all Stanford students, this continues all four-years. “Most students [and perspective athletes] choose Stanford for the academics.” Once admittance is earned, intra-squad, conference, and national-level rowing competition begins.

“We are fewer in number than many programs, usually about 4-5 athletes per class; we continue to get good walk-ons; the athletes are very academically driven.”

With only 5.7% of Fall 2013 applicants gaining acceptance, the pool of recruits can be small. “It's important to note that the numbers on this site include athletes. If we don't think a student has a good chance based on the statistics, we let them know.”  This drops the pool down to the men of a 1,690-student class. “We are fewer in number than many programs, usually about 4-5 athletes per class; we continue to get good walk-ons; the athletes are very academically driven.”

“Stanford student athletes go on to do big things later in life. Whether it's competing at the Olympics, working at the White House, serving in the military, launching a start-up, or fighting diabetes, our alums take the lessons they learn here out into the world.”

Rowing in California is different from the East Coast and Midwest programs they see at the IRA.  “We spend a lot of time in singles, pairs, and fours, because it allows for better intra-squad competition. We try to establish a culture of work and fitness as the base of our boat speed.” Being able to access the water year-round has its benefits. “Not to say that we don't erg, but staying in touch with the boat is important.” The success of rowing against teammates is measured several times throughout the season.

“We tend to race the same teams several times in the same season. This year we raced Cal four times including the San Diego Crew Classic, a duel, Pac-12 Championships, and IRAs. That helps build good friendships and rivalries because our athletes race the same guys over and over during their collegiate careers.” The 2013 PAC-12 Regatta was worthy of a silver for the Cardinal Eight. “It can be tough, the programs we face have a history of fielding very fast boats.”

On the national stage, Standford stands up to larger programs from larger universities. The top eight took 8th overall at the IRA Championship on Lake Natoma and 13th in team points for the Ten Eyck Memorial Trophy. “Our boat this year was not substantially different from last year's, so the fact that they performed as well as they did speaks to the individuals in the crew moving forward as a team.” Last year’s crew also placed 8th in the Varsity Eight category.

...four Stanford Alums rowed for the US Men’s Olympic Team in London last summer. “That stands as a testament to the lessons head coach, Craig Amerkhanian, teaches.”

From the national stage, Stanford rowers continue to succeed in the sport, four Stanford Alums rowed for the US Men’s Olympic Team in London last summer. “That stands as a testament to the lessons head coach, Craig Amerkhanian, teaches.” The most prevalent lesson is commitment. “We do feel very strongly that when you present yourself as a recruit, you are making a commitment to the team. I would urge all potential recruits to consider this wherever they are applying.” That commitment begins with practices every afternoon and two mornings per week. It extends to academics and more. “…it is not uncommon for student athletes to be absent [from practice] because of an academic conflict.”

The commitment to rowing lasts only four-years with success extended well past the last IRA Regatta.

“Stanford student athletes go on to do big things later in life. Whether it's competing at the Olympics, working at the White House, serving in the military, launching a start-up, or fighting diabetes, our alums take the lessons they learn here out into the world.”