The Wire @ WPI Online
VOLUME 13, NO. 1     DEC 1999

Golden postseason for crew


Beaton and Wilhelm celebrate their victory at the Reading Regatta

A quintet of WPI students had an "oarsome" summer. In July, seniors Matthew Beaton, Scott Hamel and Carl Messina, along with Eric Wilhelm '99 and coxswain senior Malinda Danforth, competed in the Royal Henley Regatta. The team won the Reading Regatta and made it to the quarterfinals at Henley.

Beaton and Wilhelm returned to the United States, borrowed a boat, and began training as a lightweight double crew. They competed in Lowell and Providence and in the USRowing Club National Championship Regatta in Syracuse, N.Y, where they brought home gold and bronze medals in the lightweight intermediate double and lightweight senior double. The victory was the first time WPI won a national championship since 1978, when the University picked up a medal in the intermediate four+. The intrepid oarsmen added another gold and a second bronze with victories at the Canadian Henley in Ontario.

"Conditions at the national championship were challenging," says F. David Ploss III '70, who coached the rowers. "A quartering head wind was blowing during the gold medal race. It was so bad, Eric said he kept getting hit in the back by the waves breaking over the bow." After the Ontario race, Ploss said, "Right now we are clearly the best intermediate double in the United States or Canada and at the back of the pack in the senior double."

Beaton and Wilhelm are rowing on their own under the WPI banner. This fall they raced in the Head of the Connecticut in Middletown, the Textile River Regatta in Lowell, Mass., the Head of the Charles in Boston, and the Schuylkill River Regatta in Philadelphia. They are also rowing with the WPI eights and training for the U.S. Olympic Trials next summer.

Crew director, women's coach named

WPI recently appointed the first director for its new varsity rowing program and a head coach for the women's crew team.

Rowing director Lawrence Noble, below left, is responsible for the men's and women's varsity crew programs and is the head coach of the men's team. "Larry has an excellent background that includes coaching, teaching and administration, along with the leadership qualities to serve as our director of rowing," says Raymond R. Gilbert, director of physical education and athletics.

Noble earned a bachelor's degree in history at Columbia University, where he was a member of the varsity heavyweight crew team. He was director of Columbia's novice/freshman crew team from 1985 to 1991, then spent one year as the men's novice coach at the University of Virginia, where he completed a master's degree in European history. He comes to WPI after five years at the United States Coast Guard Academy, where he served as head rowing coach and administered the men's and women's crew programs.

Jason R. Steele, below right, is the new head coach of the women's team. His involvement with crew began at St. John's High School in Shrewsbury, where he was a varsity oarsman. He stayed with the sport at Emory University, where he helped establish the varsity crew club and was its vice president and president and where for the past five years he served as head crew coach.

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Last modified: Jan 20, 2000, 15:49 EST