Men’s Crew Rows Towards Greatness

Since the summer of 1981, the University of Rochester Crew Team has seen over three decades of support and growth.  The team’s historical identity has roots that connect it to both the River Campus and the Greater Rochester Community.  Beginning with just three undergraduates with interest in rowing, the early financial and coaching support from faculty, alumni, and community organizations allowed the team to develop into the competitive force that it is today.

I sat down with Keith McCutcheon ‘16, who is majoring in microbiology, with minors in history, philosophy, and chemistry, and his fellow rower, electrical and computer engineering major Jeremy Warner ’15, to find out more about how the men’s crew team operates.

Prospective new members for both men’s and women’s rowing need not have any prior experience.  “Recruitment is open and very much encouraged for completely inexperienced people,” said McCutcheon.  The rising junior was one of many rowing novices that came into the sport as a novel experience.  “I didn’t row at all in high school, and neither did a majority of the rowing team.”

The team rows out of the Genesee Rowing Club Boathouse, located roughly a mile from the River Campus at the intersection of the Genesee River and the Erie Canal. U of R owns and races a fleet of top quality eights, fours, pairs, doubles, and singles, as well as a dedicated ergometer room in the Athletic Center used during winter training.

This year, the team also gained access to a new, indoor training center on the bottom floor of The Flats at Brooks Crossing.  “We used to be limited to a workout room in the basement of the Goergen Athletic Center, but now we have a swing-u-later, a weight lifting area, and a massive ‘erg’ room,” said Warner.  The original plan promised a new boat house available at Brooks, but due to rushed construction, the plan became unviable.  Instead, the Department of Athletics provided new, top-of-the line equipment for the team’s use.  “It’s a very nice upgrade from where we were before in the basement of the GAC,” said McCutcheon.  “Access to new equipment is a big step forward for both the men’s and women’s programs.”

The head coach of the men’s rowing team is John Burnfield, who used to be the head trainer at River Campus.  “At the Head of the Genesee, the open four is called the John Burnfield trophy. It’s got his name on it,” said McCutcheon.  Burnfield, a renowned local rower, is a driving force that pushes the team to competitive excellence.

Men’s and women’s rowing teams compete in major Fall regattas such as the Head of the Charles and the Head of the Schulykill.  Spring championships include the New York State Championship Regatta, Dad Vails, and the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) Championship Regatta.

One high-profile regatta the men’s crew team has recently done very well in is ACRAs.  The national competition, held in Gainseville, Georgia, includes an Olympic course.  “It takes place on this gorgeous lake, where the Olympic rings are still up,” said McCutcheon, who credited the course as one of his favorite rowing experiences.  The team competed last May, staying in Rochester even after commencement to train.  “We’ve had some pretty good successes in small boats, especially in pairs,” said McCutcheon.  “We also raced at head of the Charles this year,” he said.  “It’s the second biggest regatta in the world, after the Henley in Thames. The Charles is a longer Head race — head race season takes place in the fall, with sprints in the spring.”

As far as recent races go, the team has been pretty active with its competitive schedule. “This last week, we were at Ithaca, racing against Ithaca College and RIT.  The week before that we were here, racing against St. Lawrence at home. Starting off this spring, we beat St. Lawrence, pretty handily, by a couple lengths of open water, which is a good start to the spring season,” said Warner.  Other races this year have brought the team to the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Worcester where they competed against schools like Colby, Worcester Polytechnic, and Bates.

The month of April found the team competing for the Kerr Cup on the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania.  The men’s rowing team took home a few individual awards for their performance.  For the first time in history, the team will be going to the Liberty League competition, a race usually reserved for only varsity teams.

When asked about his favorite race of all time, McCutcheon shared a story of one of his first experiences on the team.  “We ended up getting second at one of my first races,” he said, still recalling the toothy grin on his coach’s face.  “It was a very new experience. That’s one of the things about being a novice: you don’t know how good you are, so you often surprise yourself.”

Warner, on the other hand, most valued the network of support that he gained through crew.  “One of the biggest benefits that I’ve gotten from being a part of the crew team is the tight-knit community that I’ve embedded myself into. It speaks to how well you get to know everyone on the team, and how close you become to each other,” he said.  “All of that is external from the actual boats and sports. It’s really nice to have a group of people that I know I can always depend on and talk to for something.”

For more information about the Men’s Crew Team, visit their website.

What Clubs Are You In? Campus Clubs Galore

With over 250 different student organizations to choose from, it’s no wonder that UR undergrads are always so busy!  The many opportunities offered by the various clubs and sports provide the campus population an outlet to share their interests and channel their passions. Listed below are some examples of the diverse and involved undergrads that embody the quintessentially Rochester student body.


Name: Alyssa Wolf
Major: Epidemiology
Class Year: 2015
“I’m in Blue Crew. Blue Crew is a school sports spirit organization. We go to sporting events, and we cheer a lot and scream.  We go to games for basketball, football, soccer, field hockey, and cross country.

Name: Nicholas Scacchetti
Major: Chemical Engineering
Class Year: 2015
“I’m with the American Institute of Chemical Engineering here on campus. Right now, I’m heading up the ChemE car competition, where we build a small car to run in a competition that runs off a chemical reaction. We’re going to be building a hydrogen fuel cell car. We have all the parts and we’re putting it together right now.”

Name: Will Burns
Major: Business
Class Year: 2015
“I Rock Climb. I got into it when I was younger, and I wanted to continue it into college.”

Colleges against Cancer

Name: Julia Weisman
Major: Psychology and Business
Class Year: 2018
“The CAC (Colleges against Cancer) does a lot of advertising about certain types of cancer. Each month is focused on a different disease. We are focusing on lung and pediatric cancer; it was breast cancer month in October. We have lots of different events going on. We have had dinners in Douglass, and we do fun things on campus. We just like to promote awareness of the disease.”


Name: Dan Hoffman
Major: Music
Class Year: 2015
“I’m not in a club because I spend so much time dancing. That in itself is almost like an extracurricular thing, and I’m always choreographing and working with dancers in other classes. I just don’t have time for clubs.”

Name: Horacio Quezada
Major: Undeclared
Class Year: 2018
“I’m in a couple of them. One is called Salsita, which is part of a major organization called SALSA. It’s a leadership club, we learn about leadership positions. I’m also in Newman, which is the Catholic community here on campus. In Salsita, I’m the business manager.”


Name: Orkhan Abdullayev
Major: Chemical Engineering
Class Year: 2016 (Grad Student)
Club: BPG is the Ballet Performance Group, it is a club that is dedicated to preserving classical technique on campus, as well as allowing students to choreograph their own pieces in a variety of styles such as contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, and tap.

Name: Carola Figueroa
Major: Biology
Class Year: 2016
Club: Yes, I’m in Alpha Phi Omega, it’s a community service fraternity. I’m also in the Society of Undergraduate Biology Students. I joined APO because I love service.

Name: Evan Mclaughlin
Major: Computer Science
Class Year: 2016
“I’m in Chi Phi fraternity. I was the secretary last year which was fun. I did all the paper pushing in the background.”

Track & Field

Name: Bobbi Spiegel
Major: Health, Behavior, and Society
Class Year: 2017
“I’m on the varsity track team, and I’m on grass roots. I’m also involved in Jewish life, like Chabad and Hillel. For track, we have practice six days a week, because the NCAA mandates that we have one day off. Once we hit January 1st, we have a meet every weekend until the end of school. We actually stay past the end of school, because our meets go into late May/ early June. It’s a big dedication, since we also have weight room time. My main event is long jump. I also sprint and do triple jump.”

Name: Alex Samuelson
Major: Neuroscience and Political Science
Class Year: 2017
“I’m in Delta Gamma, one of the sororities here on campus.  What we’re doing right now is supporting our philanthropy, which is Service for Sight, which supports blinded veterans who have been wounded, and also their families. We’re selling bracelets for the blinded veterans’ association, and later, we’re going to have an event, this coming Saturday, where we wrap gifts for the families of soldiers who are currently deployed.

mariachiName: Marcia Des Jardin
Major: Molecular Genetics
Class Year: 2015, 2016T5
“UR Mariachi is really cool group of people. I don’t speak Spanish at all, but I sing in Spanish. It’s a lot of fun to get out of your comfort zone, and get to know people you wouldn’t necessarily know before. You can play violin, guitar, bass, trumpet, flute, accordion – whatever you want, just come to our rehearsals on Wednesday at 4:30.”

Name: Molly Goldstein
Major: Music, BCS
Class Year: 2017
“This past weekend, the Frisbee team actually went to Montreal, and we had a tournament there. We did pretty well. We won a few games and had a lot of fun. It was a very rewarding experience with the team. It’s a nice balance between being very serious about our playing, but also having a good time on the field as well.”

Name: Hadley Brown
Major: English Language/Media Communications, Psychology
Class Year: 2015
“For U of R’s Alpha Phi organization, I’m actually the parental and alumni affairs coordinator, so I work a lot with outreach to the outside community, trying to bring them back to the school, get some school spirit, and to introduce the girls to some people they can network with after college.”

Name: Milagros Garcia
Major: Psychology, English language/Media Communications
Class Year: 2017
SALSA, the Spanish & Latino Students Association, is basically a community, you don’t have to be Hispanic of any type to join, basically, we just discuss issues that affect the Latin-American community as well as try to make ourselves known that we’re a part of campus.


Name: Liza Gerwig
Major: BCS
Class Year: 2016
Sihir is the belly dancing group, and it’s really fun.  There’s a lot of cool, wacky people, and we do cool, fancy things, and put on nice shows.”

Name: Shelby Corning
Major: Environmental Science
Class Year: 2017
“I’m on the varsity Softball team. We went to nationals last spring for the first time in school history, which was really cool. It was a big step for the program. I’m a left fielder.”

Name: Rachel Milner
Major: Biology
Class Year: 2015
“The Strong Jugglers were formed in 1995, and we started off as a bunch of kids who went over to Strong Memorial Hospital to juggle for the patients. It’s evolved into a fine circus and performing arts organization. We like to perform on and off-campus. It’s very casual: anyone can join!”

Name: Duncan Graham
Major: Economics
Class Year: 2015
Mock Trial is a club that does what the name implies, we put on trials. There are attorneys, there are witnesses, and we compete with schools across the east coast and the south. We’re even thinking of going to California. We compete, we have attorneys, witnesses, and it’s a whole lot of fun.”

ArcheryName: Allison Colarusso
Major: Chemical Engineering
Class Year: 2016
Archery right now: we shoot arrows… at targets.”

Name: Paul Gabrys
Major: Chemical Engineering
Class Year: 2014, 2015T5
Newman Community is where people who identify as Catholic want come together to grow as a community.”


Lauren Bailey: Star Swimmer is a Shark in the Classroom

Lauren Bailey, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, was one of 10 University scholar-athletes recognized for their abilities “on the field” and in the classroom.

Bailey, from Ossining, NY, holds the University records for the 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, and is a part of all the record-holding relay teams.

During the football team’s season opener, she and nine other athletes were presented Garnish Awards during a halftime ceremony. Bailey said she was nervous at first to go out to midfield and accept the award in front of the whole stadium of football fans. “It was definitely never-racking,” she said. “It was a huge honor though. My whole team came out to support me, which was really nice of them. It was super exciting!”

The Garnish Award program was created in honor of Lysle “Spike” Garnish, who consecutively served as an assistant coach for the University’s basketball, baseball, and football teams from 1930-1948.

According to the Athletic Department’s webpage, “Friends of Rochester Athletics, through an alumni committee, reviews nominations of students from varsity teams who have achieved at a high level in both their athletic and academic pursuits through their junior year. From these nominees, a small number are selected as Garnish Scholars.”

It’s definitely not easy

Bailey, who has a GPA of 3.87, says that balancing athletics and academics is “definitely not easy. But I think if you’re really passionate about both things—I really like chemical engineering, and I really like swimming—but I think it’s also about time management,” she said.

“For me, I do homework with a group of people or with my friends, so it makes it more enjoyable. Plus, I don’t really dread doing homework, so that definitely makes it easier to work with other people.”

During her senior year, Bailey says one of her goals is to have fun this season. “I’m really not going to put any pressure on myself,” she claimed. “I want to do well, obviously, but I also want to make sure that I’m really having fun. This is probably the last year I will swim competitively on a college team where we all share a common goal.”

Bailey’s best advice to student athletes? “Don’t stay up too late the night before you have practice in the morning.” According to her, “Mainly you’re here at the University to do well in school and succeed.”

Another important piece of advice Bailey offers is to prioritize, and “make sure to realize when you’re struggling to balance school and swimming, or school and any sport that you’re doing, because you don’t want your academics to slip. Don’t take on too much, though, because it can be a really rigorous schedule, and you want to make sure you have free time to enjoy yourself still,” she says.

In her time here at the U of R, Bailey has taken many classes, but the one in which she learned the most was the chemical engineering class, Reactor Design. Bailey says “It’s a really important class, because it has so many applications with so many jobs, and I think it’s really important to understanding what’s going on. It was definitely challenging, since we did a lot of coding with MatLab, and I’m not excellent at that.” Starting from the most basic reactors, the class covered many fundamental chemical engineering concepts.

This year, the senior says that instead of stressing about swimming times and tests, she wants to “have a good time, and make sure I’m getting done what I need to get done…but I’m definitely going to enjoy myself.”

As graduation gets closer, Bailey says she’ll start looking for chemical engineering positions, and at some point, she may consider getting an MBA.

By Joe Bailey and Monique Patenaude

Senior Swimmer Named Academic All-American

By Bob Marcotte
University Communications

“If you really enjoy something, you are going to find time to do it,” says Lauren Bailey, a rising senior in Chemical Engineering and star of the University of Rochester women’s swimming team, after being named an Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

This is one of the highest academic awards that a student-athlete can earn. And that is no small achievement considering the difficulty of her major and the time commitment involved in being a member of the swim team. Team members practice about 20 hours a week during the swim season, but during competitions, swimming sometimes takes up 30 hours a week. And yet Bailey has managed to excel in both the classroom and the pool.

Bailey, who is also pursuing a minor in mathematics, carries a 3.87 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.00 scale). That earned her a place on the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team. She is a Second Team Academic All-America selection after earning First Team Academic All-District honors. She is just the third Rochester women’s swimmer to earn Academic All-America honors from CoSIDA in the past 29 years.

She also has been breaking swim records left and right. At the 2013-14 Liberty League Championships, she won seven league titles, broke seven league records, and six Rochester records. In three years (freshman through junior seasons), she has won 17 Liberty League titles and set 14 Liberty League records. She earned All-America honors in four events at the NCAA Division III National Championships this spring: the 100- and 200-yard butterfly, the 200-yard freestyle relay, and the 200-yard medley relay.


So how does she balance a rigorous course load with the demands of varsity athletics? “College is all about priorities,” Bailey says. “I try to plan ahead, and if I have assignments due the following week and a swim meet over the weekend, I will try to do my work on Thursday or Friday to avoid stress over the weekend.” It helps that the swim team’s coaches understand that school comes first, she added. “If I am behind on school work, they can work with my practice schedule to make sure I get my assignments completed. My good friend, Zoe McCauley, is also a chemical engineering major and is on the swim team, so worst case scenario, we will do work together on the bus rides to away swim meets.”

“Being on the swim team keeps me very disciplined with my school work and helps me manage my time very efficiently.” As much as she enjoys setting a new swim record, the most important thing is being part of a team, Bailey added. “I know that every time I am in the water competing, I have 50 fellow swimmers rooting for me and cheering me on. At the end of the day, it feels great to know that you are part of a team where people have your back and show you continuous support and love.”

Bailey said she was “slightly unsure” about which major to pursue when she arrived at UR as a freshman. But after taking a few chemical engineering classes, she knew what she wanted to do. “My interest in chemical engineering stems from how versatile the field is. It is a great background to have, and getting a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering shows that you have great discipline and work ethic due to the difficulty of the major.”

“Also, the chemical engineering professors at the University of Rochester demonstrate a great understanding for the material they teach and show sincere respect for their students, which solidifies my choice to be a chemical engineer.” After graduating next spring, she plans to start working. “I may work for a couple of years and then go back to get my MBA or masters in chemical engineering,” Bailey said. “I am still unsure of where I want to work, but I know that when I retire one day, I want to run an alpaca farm.”

Photo courtesy of University Athletics.


Can’t Touch This

Softball Sweeps Skidmore, Freshmen Eleni Wechsler Pitches No-Hitter

Rochester ran its softball winning streak to eight in a row as the Yellowjackets swept Skidmore College, 11-3, and 12-0, in a doubleheader at Southside Field on Sunday afternoon. Freshman Eleni Wechsler spun a five-inning no-hitter in the nitecap. It is the third no-hitter in softball’s history. Kathy Gagne did it in 2002 vs. D’Youville and Brittany Grage did it vs. RIT in 2013.

The Yellowjackets improved to 13-7 overall, 6-0 in the Liberty League.

Rochester accumulated 12 hits and seven walks in game one. The Yellowjackets jumped in front, 9-0, after four innings. Skidmore scored a pair of runs off Rochester’s Sarah Wayson in the fifth, then added one more in the top of the sixth. Rochester scored twice in the sixth to end the game on the mercy rule.

In the nitecap, the Yellowjackets took advantage of 13 hits – all singles – plus six walks. Rochester put together a seven-run rally in the bottom of the second to take command. Six players had RBIs.

Wechsler walked three and struck out four. Grage picked up the game one win. In a total of 4.2 innings pitched, Grage allowed two hits, walked two, and struck out five. In 1.1 innings pitched, Wayson gave up five hits, three runs (two earned), and walked two.

The DH was deemed Senior Day since it was the final Liberty League weekend at home for the Yellowjackets. They play at Union on Friday, at RPI on Saturday. Rochester closes its Liberty League regular season at RIT on April 26.

Rochester will host Nazareth on Tuesday afternoon in its annual PINK game to raise money for the battle against cancer. The first game of the twinbill begins at 3 pm.

Baseball’s Strandberg Fires No-Hitter In Sweep of Bard

StrandbergOn the baseball diamond, freshman David Strandberg threw the first recorded no-hitter in the University of Rochester’s baseball history on Sunday, helping the Yellowjackets to a two game sweep of Liberty League opponent Bard College on Sunday.Rochester (14-12, 10-6 Liberty League) won game one by an 11-2 score and captured game two in a rout, winning 18-0.  Bard drops to 3-14-1 overall and 0-8-1 in league play.Strandberg pitched seven innings of hitless ball, allowing two runs in the fifth off three walks and a wild pitch.  He ended the day with six free passes and four strikeouts and earns his first collegiate victory.

At the plate, jumped out to an early lead with five runs in the first inning.  Junior Brendan Garry drew a bases loaded walk and that followed by a 2-RBI double from sophomore Lance Hamilton and another 2-RBI hit from classmate Brian Munoz.

In the fourth, UR tacked on four more runs on three bases loaded walks and a Nolan Schultz sac fly.  Overall, Rochester drew eight walks in game one off the Raptor pitching staff.  In game one, every UR starter recorded a run scored and seven of the nine earned an RBI.

It was more of the same for UR in game two as the Yellowjacket offense exploded in a 18-0 victory, completing the weekend 4-game sweep at Damaschke Field.

Rochester scored one run in the first when Josh Ludwig scored on a fielding error by the Raptors.  In the second, the Yellowjackets sent 14 men to the plate in an 8-run frame.  Munoz, Garry and Tyler DeClerck all had RBI doubles in the inning and Ludwig added a two-run single as well.

On the mound, sophomore Matt Todd was outstanding, throwing seven innings of two-hit ball while only issuing two walks and striking out six batters.  Sophomore Andrew Crean allowed one hit in two innings of work to close out the game while also fanning four batters.

The score remained 9-0 until the ‘Jackets tacked on nine more runs in the seventh.  Sophomore Dan Warren had two separate RBI singles in the inning while Ludwig had another RBI base hit and freshman Will Conroy added a sacrifice fly.

The Yellowjackets next game is scheduled for Tuesday at Ithaca College at 4 pm.  The next Liberty League contest for UR is when they host Vassar in doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.

Article and photo compliments of Scott Sabocheck, Athletic Communications Asstistant and the Rochester Athletics Department.