Head Coach’s End of Year Remarks and 2011 Award Winners

Welcome to our 8th annual awards banquet. Our thanks go to parents who have helped put this together in particular Julia Klammer, Kim Schale and Shawna Gehres for organizing this entire event. I remember when the end of year awards was twenty or so people. When Julia emailed me yesterday to let me know that she had 126 people coming to the banquet, it struck me how far we have come as a program and what a community we have built.

I have invited graduates of our program to be in attendance tonight, and I would like to ask them to stand at this time. I thank you all for being here to celebrate another year of Tulsa rowing. Among their ranks are college scholarship recipients, world record holders, and past award recipients. They are wonderful examples of the club’s overarching mission to create young men and women who know how to work hard and support each other. Thanks to all of them for helping to spread the lessons learned from our program into the community at large and into the world beyond Tulsa.

We are going to start the proceedings with our captains Molly Schale and Nathan Klammer saying some words.

Thank you for some great speeches from our captains. I’d like to take the time to recognize our captains with these awards.

We have made much progress this year as a club. Our spring roster featured 57 student athletes, the most that we have ever had rowing in a single season.

We have been successful in raising money for new shells, new launches and scholarship funds. I wish to thank all of our benefactors, including the Stone Family Foundation, for their generous support of our program. It is an important part of our mission as community rowing continues to grow. In addition, our Row-A-Thon fundraiser raised $12,206. With our athletes rowing an average of 40km during the day’s activities.

Our spring break trip has expanded from ten athletes to thirty athletes in just two years. It is a time-honored rowing tradition to give up spring break vacations for spring training trips, and I am proud that so many of the TRC juniors have made this sacrifice to help them to be the best that they can be.

It’s true that we struggled to get water time. The kids kept their sprits up despite our inherent handicap. We’re going to keep working at it, because that is what we do. We hope that the situation improves and I have faith that we have laid some good seeds and our crop will grow next year. There’s much to look forward to in the coming seasons.

The varsity boys showed great spirit all year long. Despite the inherent frustrations with lack of water time, our varsity boys always brought their best and led by example throughout the year. We learned about the importance of balancing schoolwork with practice, how to be accountable to one another and what it takes to get on the medal podium at central districts. I was impressed with their attendance record and their strong feeling of team spirit. I know that our boys are poised for great success and I know that they understand the challenge ahead of them. Above all else, our boys have demonstrated that they know that they need to do the right thing, win lose or draw.

We are graduating five seniors this year. I am sad to see them go, but know that our loss is some else’s gain. I know that they will take with them the lessons that they have learned during their time with our program.

Seniors, please step forward to receive your gift as I read your name.

Ben Gehres (going to work before he decides what comes next)

Abby Jones (William Jewel, MI)

Amy Richardson ( University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK)

Molly Schale (OSU, OK)

Josh Smith (OSU)

Thanks For Your Support!

I need to thank my wife for her support and help throughout this year. It would be very hard to balance all of my responsibilities if I did not have great support from home. Emily has now figured out what a rowing boat is and she still giggles at me when I get on the ergometer at home.

Thank you to all the boosters for supporting us through a very challenging year. I appreciate the sacrifice that we have all made to help the kids get to where they need to be. In addition, I’d like to thank the University of Tulsa for supporting us all year and allowing us access to their facilities. It is important that everyone in this room understand that our relationship with TU is definitely not the norm between a juniors program and a Division I college program, but is further evidence that the larger rowing community in Tulsa has a strong foundation, is very successful, and is poised for much more achievement in the future.

I need to start by thanking Stephanie Royce and Jennifer McSweeny for their help in the fall. These two ladies have stepped up to help support our program time and time again, and our continued gratitude goes to them.

Liz Hegenbart has worked tirelessly keep all of our paperwork up to date. Liz was fantastic at ensuring that all athletes had filled out the required forms. Christie Carstens helped with the waivers for this year’s events, making sure that no athlete arrived at a regatta without the proper permissions.

Beth Vitali has been wonderful as our travel coordinator. She also came on the spring break trip with us and we really appreciate all of the support that she has provided our team this past season. Thank you for your tireless support and for being so giving of your time!

Susan Jones has worked hard to ensure that all of our boosters meetings have been well documented. Thanks go to Susan for her organization.

Vaugn Esper has once again been very supportive of our program. The videos that he makes of the kids rowing have been a very important part of our approach to getting faster. He has been a great friend and supporter and I’ve been happy to share the journey with him.

Eric Sack has brought another level of professionalism to our club. We all love his photography and it has helped us raise our game in a number of areas. Not only has it allowed our families to see their athletes row at far away races, it has dramatically improved our appearance on the website and in advertising. Eric has done it all, and we thank him for all of his work and support.

Jennifer Terry has worked extremely hard to ensure that our athletes have the right uniforms and that we look the part on race day. Jennifer has been fantastic in her support and efficiency, and we also owe her a debt of gratitude for her time and effort.

Kim Schale has helped with regatta food and dozens of other organizational tasks. Kim has been with us for a while and so I take this opportunity to thank her for her four years of service to the program.

Shawna Gehres has done an outstanding job as our treasurer this year. There has been no stoned left unturned, and our thanks go to her for organizing our trips and funds.

Julia Klammer stepped up just two weeks before the season started to become our boosters president. We can’t run Tulsa Rowing Club Juniors without a strong parental support network, and our gratitude goes to Julia for helping us in our time of need.

I would also like to acknowledge our athlete leadership council this year. Nathan Klammer, Logan Gilstrap, Mason Fuller, Molly Schale, Anna Royce, Anne Philpot, and Caden Broussard.

Coaching Staff

My sincere thanks go to our coaching staff. These guys give the best of themselves to help our kids get to where they need to go.

Travis Brown (Coach B2) – Coach Brown stepped up in our time of need a couple of years ago. I would be amiss if I did not thank him for helping us through the first part of the year. Coach Brown was always looking to help out, he was great for the athletes and he will be missed, but we hope he returns soon!

Micah (Coach H) – Coach Hartwell leads by example and is also a national medalist. I know the boys look forward to the days that he fills in for yours truly. Micah has excellent knowledge of the physiological principles that make champions. I know we will need even more help from him as we move forward. Thank you Coach Hartwell.

Sarah Younger (Coach Y) – Coach Y is passionate about her coaching and her rowing, leading her girls by example. She will compete in master’s nationals in OKC this coming August. Coach Y is a very organized coach and does a great job bringing the girls into the program and making the novice girls feel a part of a team.

James Simmons (Coach S) – Coach Simmons is the backbone of our program. Giving up vacation days to haul trailers to and from regattas, spending his days off practice repairing equipment, you name it. And I don’t think that he has missed a single practice all year. We truly could not do this without him.

Adam Stoermer (Coach S2) – Coach S is an experienced coach and brings a level-headed perspective to his coaching. He has made quite an impact on the Tulsa scene in just one year. He has now landed himself a job at Cascia Hall, which can only improve our recruiting. His positive attitude and obvious passion for rowing are great assets to our program. Thank you Coach Stoermer.

As a token of my appreciation for all of their hard work, I would like to present each coach with a book. I hope that they find the reading of this book as enjoyable and informative as I have.

Now, I turn to our athletes once more as we award those who have made significant accomplishments both in a humorous way and in a more serious manner.

Fundraising awards (Row-A-Thon)

The award winners for most funds raised at our row-a-thon goes to four athletes, one from each section of the program.

Sarah Mailot, Alex Mears, Victoria Richter, Antony Vitali.

“U-Boat Commander” Award (Ronnie Baker)

The U-boat commander award can be given to an athlete that flips the most during the course of the season, or it can be given to an athlete that has one or two really high-quality flips. One year we awarded it to a pair of athletes who were winning their doubles race and then proceeded to flip their shell five strokes before the finish line. This year recipient falls more into the quantity category.

Awarded to the athlete who flips the most during the course of the season. Athletes may only win this award if they capsize unintentionally during the course of a practice or a race. (Awarded by coaching staff)

“Tuff as Nails” Award (Nathan Klammer)

Awarded to the athlete who has proved himself or herself to be mentally tough and resilient above all else. (Awarded by coaching staff)

This rower is one of the most consistent rowers that I have had the pleasure to coach. He rowed 100km at the Row-A-Thon. In the interests of keeping it in the family, this year’s Tough as Nails award goes to Nathan Klammer.

Most Improved Male Rower (Antony Vitali) Novice (George Rabe/Warren White) Varsity

Awarded to the male athlete, who by his contribution, commitment and performance has improved his rowing over the course of the season. (Awarded by coaching staff)

The novice award goes to a student athlete who has come a long way this year. It’s been a great year for him in terms of the physical and mental development. He made great gains each time he got on the ergometer beating his personal best time each time.

The varsity award was a difficult choice this year because there were many worthy student athletes that could have qualified to win. However, we narrowed our choice to two young men who were worthy of most improved. Both of these young men have come a long way in a very short period of time. It’s good to have these guys around and they are just beginning their journey as competitive rowers and young men. It gives me great pleasure to award the most improved award for the varsity rowers to George Rabe and Warren White.

Most Improved Female Rower (Bailey Robison) Novice (Victoria Richter) Varsity
Awarded to the female athlete, who by her contribution, commitment and performance has improved her rowing over the course of the season. (Awarded by coaching staff)

The novice winner for the most improved female has come a long way over the past year. She has found a real passion inside of her and her enthusiasm for the sport is infectious. From consistently high levels of attendance to high ranking finishes at the SWEAT ergometer competition and the Head of the Hooch this student athlete has thrown her whole self into her rowing and is very deserving of this award. It gives me great pleasure to award the most improved novice award to Bailey Robison.

The varsity winner for the most improved female award goes to a young lady who has developed into a leading force on the girls varsity program. She has achieved a great deal and has realized the potential within for even greater things in the future. She is a lively young lady with a fierce competitive drive. It is gives me great pleasure to award this year’s most improved female award for a varsity rower to Victoria Richter.

Most Hardworking Award (Anne Philpot/Mason Fuller)
Awarded to the athlete either male or female who has proved in the estimation of the coaching staff to have sustained a high degree of work ethic both on and off the water. (Awarded by coaching staff)

This year’s most hardworking award goes to athletes who have been consistent workers both on and off the water. They bring their best to practice and also to things such as loading and unloading trailers and our fundraising efforts this year. Both of these athletes have gained the respect of the athletes and the coaching staff. It was not difficult to decide this award given their generous nature and support of their fellow athletes.

“Golden Coxswain” Award (Destany Cushman)

Awarded to the coxswain, who has demonstrated leadership, organization and commitment to the program. (Voted and Awarded by athletes)

The recipient of this award goes to an athlete who has learned a great deal in a very short period of time. I’m hard pressed to think of an athlete who sets the bar so high for themselves and therefore sets the bar high for other athletes in her crew. I am confident that this young lady has a great future ahead of her in this sport. It gives me great pleasure to award this year’s golden coxswain award to Destany Cushman.

King Oar/Queen Oar Awards

Queen Oar Award (Molly Schale)

Awarded to the rower or coxswain who has demonstrated his/her commitment and leadership over the course of the season and therefore has contributed greatly to the success of the program. Athletes must have competed in both fall and spring seasons to be eligible for this award at the end of the year.

This year’s queen oar award goes to a young lady who is gracious both on an off the water. This athlete has demonstrated loyalty to the program and has been a consistent performer in the top boats on the varsity team. She has been the pacesetter and has won regional championships and represented the club on the national level many times. When the ballots were counted, she won this award by a landslide. For her leadership, her positivity, her team player attitude and her gracious, selfless nature, this year’s Queen oar award goes to Molly Schale.

King Oar Award (Logan Gilstrap)

This year’s King Oar award goes to an athlete who has given considerable service to the program over the past few years. He’s always early to practice and lends a helping hand whenever it is needed. He cares about this team and is always looking out for his teammates. He has represented our program at the national level, and although he likes to play practical jokes on his coach, I suppose I give as good as I get – we appreciate him all the more for it. It gives me great pleasure to award this year’s king oar award to Logan Gilstrap.

Congratulations to all of these student-athletes.

Captains and Leadership Council

The athletes voted a couple of weeks ago to elect captains and the leadership council. I am pleased to announce that Anne Philpot will be girls varsity captain and Nathan Klammer/Logan Gilstrap will serve as the boy’s co-captains for the 2010-11 year. Supplementing their leadership will be a leadership council comprised of Mason Fuller, Destany Cushman, Megan Hegenbart.

As we look to the future, we have 25 athletes signed up for our experienced camp with another twenty signed up for our learn to row camps. It is going to be a busy summer as our athletes get the water time necessary for them to succeed in upcoming fall season and what lies beyond.

Congratulations to these athletes and I look forward to working with them as we take the next step.

My thanks go to everyone for a wonderful season. It has been a pleasure to serve you all.

Thank You.

Coach Neil Bergenroth.
Tulsa Rowing Club Juniors – Head Coach.