On Sunday May 6th, the team held its annual banquet at the Illini Student Union. The event signified the coming end to the 2016-2017 season. We celebrated a successful year with stories, family, and food. Illini Rowing has seen the team expand its capacity with a new site at Lake Clinton, our first full time coach, Cameron Carter, and growth in numbers. The team would also like to congratulate our graduating seniors: Team Captain Owen Skelding, Team Men’s President Curtis Bezault, and Team Women’s President Dana Brecklin. All of whom were dedicated four year rowers. Their presence will be missed. The following awards were given to some of our most exemplary members:
Novice of the Year: Alyse Bondarowicz Alyse was chosen by the coaches for having a great attitude, demonstrating leadership, and always putting in extra work. In just her first year she became one of the team’s fastest women. She served as the novice women’s captain this year and will be the varsity captain next season.
The Golden Skeg: Veronika O’Donnell The Golden Skeg is given to a diligent coxswain each year. This was Veronika’s first year coxswaining. She won this award for her dedication to the team and hard work as a coxswain. She steers straight and scares the women into pulling their hardest.
Amy Cade Award: Lindsey Cusack Third year rower, Lindsey has held up the varsity women with her can-do attitude. She learned to row, race, and win in a single in just two months. She managed the team’s finances this year during some difficult times with leadership. Lindsey has been a model rower for the novices.
Chris Marr Award: Mike Coumans Chris Marr was one of Illini Rowing’s fastest and most dedicated members. This award is named in his honor to recognize a varsity man who showed his skill and speed as a rower. Mike always has a smile on his face and fat ergs. He also serves as our team’s Vice President.
Dan Walsh Award: Will O’Klock Named after our team’s founder, the Dan Walsh Award goes to someone who went out of their way to support the team both on and off the water. Will has sacrificed much of his own free time to organize the team, raise money, and get gear. He is a crucial member of the executive board serving as treasurer this year and will be the men’s team captain for 2017-2018.
Senior Legacy Awards: Chosen by the team’s seniors, this award is given to a rising star on the men’s and women’s novice team.
Women’s: Heidi Pierce: Heidi is a powerful rower and a wonderful novice. She makes each practice better with her uplifting attitude and great form. Keeping the boat set in bow looks easy when Heidi is doing it.
Men’s: Raymond Pu: Sitting in stroke, Ray is a leader on the novice men’s team. He never missed a practice and always goes out of his way to make the boat faster. Ray sets novice crew’s stroke rate and attitude.
Thank you to everyone who came out Sunday night to support the team!