Pete Rosberg & Penn State Men's Rowing

By Sparks Editorial Staff | August 23, 2013

KNECHT CUP, COOPER RIVER, NEW JERSEY (April 13th, 2013)—The Penn State Crew Club was formed in 1994 by a group of students with one boat and a van, which transported both rower and equipment. Since its initial formation, the club has introduced hundreds of students to the sport. The speed and success of the men and women was typically measured boat-by-boat.

"The novice classes are shifting towards students with high school experience. Previously, we had one or two with high school experience, we now have ten or more rowers with high school experience on both the men’s and women’s sides.”

“This weekend, the expectation is for all varsity entries to make the grand final,” calmly states Head Coach Pete Rosberg. “There has been a shift in the expectations of the program. The latest ACRA rankings have given us a boost to the national spotlight.” The ACRA poll for April 10, 2013 ranked the Women’s Varsity 8+ as 4th of club programs. The Men’s Varsity Eight also received votes in the initial poll.

“The goal of the program is to remove the boating question by 2014. We plan to compete for medals in the eights and establish a tradition in the big boats.” The continuing momentum of the ACRA National Championship is becoming the main focus for Rosberg’s Crew. “Dad Vails will always have the tradition, but we are seeing more speed at ACRA every year. Last year’s results proved that.” Rosberg’s tenure at Penn State and the American Collegiate Rowing Association began the same year, 2008. Both have steadily grown stronger and faster in the years since.

"We plan to compete for medals in the eights and establish a tradition in the big boats.”

The Penn State Crew also placed well at the 2012 Head of the Charles. Them men’s and women’s collegiate four placed 11th and 14th, respectively. The men’s club four entry also qualified for the 2013 event. “Other expectations have also increased. Last fall we were disappointed we didn’t leave Boston with a boat in the top 10 at the Charles. The performance goals have definitely shifted for the better in recent years.”

“Personally, I think the program’s single biggest change is that I’m now coaching full time.” Rosberg was recently promoted to full time head coach, the first in club history. “It has given me time to settle into a training plan that is my own and start recruiting from high school programs. The novice classes are shifting towards students with high school experience. Previously, we had one or two with high school experience, we now have ten or more rowers with high school experience on both the men’s and women’s sides.”

Recognition recently came to the club when Natalie Dell (’07) won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls. “Natalie legitimized us within in the school and to our recruits,” adds Rosberg.

“The magic number I want to hit is ten workouts every week. We row big boats in the mornings, small boats in the afternoon, and have out-of-practice requirements that we track.” A brief pause, “Also, remember there is on campus recruiting, board meetings, part time jobs, and course work. We seem to have several engineering, pre-med, and nutrition majors on the team.”

“We still meet at the White Building at 4:45 every morning, like always.” Thirty-miles of road must be covered before crews walk their boats into frigid mountain lake. After the row, boats are returned to the trailer and cars are loaded to reverse the 30-mile trek. Without scheduling privileges, 8:00 am classes are a given. This is the norm for a Penn State rower. By way of London, one alumnus recently accentuated the possibilities of the club sport.

“The magic number I want to hit is ten workouts every week. We row big boats in the mornings, small boats in the afternoon, and have out-of-practice requirements that we track.”

The Penn State Crew remains student-organized and student-funded. Recognition recently came to the club when Natalie Dell (’07) won a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls. “Natalie legitimized us within in the school and to our recruits,” adds Rosberg.

Seven varsity entries competed on Saturday and seven boats raced in Sunday’s Knecht Cup finals.

- Ryan Laudermilch