Viking Crew gears up for season of back-to-back regattas

Miranda Smith, Campus Carrier Sports Editor

The Berry College Viking Crew is taking off this year in preparation for four regattas. They are currently trying to gain more funding and proper coaching guidance for the future.

The Viking Crew is involved with Berry’s club sports and recreation and is not an official NCAA sport here at Berry. The team will compete in four 5K regattas this year, including The Music City Head Race, Secret City, Head of the Hooch, and Head of the South.

The team’s mission statement is to “promote athleticism, teamwork, time management and leadership through the sport of competitive collegiate rowing, available to all Berry College students regardless of experience level or financial ability.”

The team is student-run with junior Coleman Ott and sophomore Peyton Carden both serving as presidents. Sophomore Phillip Alexander is vice president of logistics, junior Joshuah Woodard is vice president of marketing, sophomore Trey Deberry is treasurer and sophomore Allison Rhodes as the team’s secretary.

Ott and Carden’s function as presidents of the club is to coach and lead the team.

Ott said how the addition of Stephen Wyatt as the team’s adviser is a good step towards proper guidance in the near future. As one of the two presidents, Ott described how he has to set a good example and precedent for hard work.

“Proper funding and proper coaching would make all the difference to compete on the level that we do,” Ott said. “We strive to ‘row for fun and race to win’ against even the Division I teams that continue to be our competition at our events.”

Ott said the number of rowers has increased from last year.

With many of the new members being new to the sport, the water time and gym time have also had to increase from last year to compensate for the lack of experience.

Though the team does not currently have a professional coach, Woodard explained that a coach or proper guidance could help the team with administrative tasks, training and funding to develop the team even more from what it is now.

Woodard said that the amount of newcomers to the team has boosted the team’s opportunities to succeed and further improve on teamwork on the water.

“The officers are trying to push our members to be model representatives of the school whether we are at a regatta, walking down Broad Street in Berry apparel, or working out in the Cage,” Woodard said. “We want them to have pride in being on this team and buy into what we are doing. We want to revive this club and make sure that when we leave this club, it’s stronger than when we joined.”

According to Woodard, the new workouts and water practice schedule allow each boat team to set its own workout times so each member can be in attendance and they put in the work as a team. He emphasized building on the team camaraderie in the gym and in the water to create opportunities both in the water and in team workouts.

“It helps build that family feel because you are sweating next to those people, pushing each other and knowing who they are when the going gets rough,” Woodard said. “We are excited for our upcoming regattas and are feeling that we will do a great job representing our school.”

The next regatta for Viking Crew is the Music City Head Race in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 13.

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