By Hayden Welty ’19
Varsity Crew enjoyed their most successful season so far last year and took home the state title once again.
Second-year coach Mr. Thomas Minogue said that his tenure in charge of the team’s roughly 50-man squad has been a great learning experience.
“I’m thrilled to meet all these guys,” he said. “It’s a fantastic group of kids that we get to work with.”
Recently moving from Virginia to coach, Minogue said he started rowing in high school in Mathews County, V.A. and participated at the collegiate level at Virginia Commonwealth University for three years.
In his first season at the helm, the team had their most successful campaign to date, placing first in Arizona, sending three boats to Scholastic Nationals and another two to Youth Nationals.
Although Minogue said he coached the entire crew team alone for a good portion of last season, he now has a new assistant coach, Shems Beblawi, a current Arizona State University student and first-year coach.
Minogue said he wants to build off their best year yet.
“I’d like to expand on that; I want a few more,” he said. “I don’t want to give our trophies back that we got last year.”
He said their main goals are to win state again and to send more boats to national competitions.
“That’s kind of a little bit of pressure but also exciting,” Minogue said. “We got that little bit of momentum, and we want to try to build on that.”
Senior Jack Spitza ’18 reiterated the notion that the squad wants to build off past success.
“That’s a standard that we set last year, which we want to follow again this year: Last year our sophomores were really competitive, but this year they have another edge that’s going to set them up there…,” he said. “They really grew a lot, and this year they’re gonna bring it.”
Spitza is one of the three crew captains along with Jett Curley ’18 and Cameron Donley ’19. He was also a captain last season as a junior.
Spitza said that the freshman class looks promising.
“We have a really really good, fast group of freshman this year, really focused, almost ahead of the learning curve,” he said.
Donley echoed the sentiment and said he was excited to see how the new team members were going to perform in real boats at the team’s practice site, Tempe Town Lake.
“It’ll be interesting to see how they take what they’ve learned–form wise–and apply that to the boat,” he said. “They’ve been doing good, so I’m excited to see what they can accomplish.”
Spitza also said that the team chemistry this year is especially good.
“This year the team dynamic–it’s been good in past years–but I think this year it’s really special,” he said. “Between the freshmen, sophomore, junior, and senior classes, there’s a really good bond: We just came off our retreat at Manresa, and it was a really productive weekend… This year it’s something special.”
Donley said they encourage anyone to join and that it’s not too late to start.
“We’re open to everybody,” he said. “Regardless of what people say on campus…, come out, check us out; you can join whenever you want.”