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Honored and Humbled: IRA Crews and Coaches of the Year Awarded

by Andrew Rainville, Andrew@usrowing.org | Jul 01, 2016
As racing drew to a close on the final day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, the University of California men’s eight was rowing for something more than a national title - they were rowing for Mike Fenelly, the Berkeley boatman of 30 years.

PRINCETON, N.J. -- As racing drew to a close on the final day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, the University of California men’s eight was rowing for something more than a national title - they were rowing for Mike Fenelly, the Berkeley boatman of 30 years. As the boatman, Fenelly was the head of rigging and repairs for the Cal shells, tasked with keeping the boats working to their highest standard.

Fenelly’s retirement at the end of the year inspired the team to dedicate this spring05CrewM c-Fennelly boat prep-MP[2] season to the man who had served their program loyally and, with this in mind, they launched for the A Final with a clover leaf bearing Fenelly’s initials sewn to their jerseys. Not long after, the Cal eight would go on to win the men’s eight title by nearly two seconds over second place Yale University.

The IRA Championship title capped off a successful spring season for the Cal men who, just two weeks prior, took first in Pac-12 Championships in Sacramento, Calif. Their season made the Cal men’s varsity eight the choice for the men’s heavyweight Crew of the Year.

At the helm of the Cal men’s team, head coach Mike Teti guided the heavyweight team to earning James Ten Eyck Team Points Trophy and earned a title of his own: men’s heavyweight Coach of the Year.

“I recognize that the coaching level of the crews at the IRA Championships is high and I am honored that they would vote for me,” said Teti. “I owe a lot to my team and the staff. We had a good team with talented athletes that performed when they needed to. I am very humbled.”

In a statement victory of their own, the lightweight men’s varsity eight from Columbia University took the IRA title by over two seconds, securing the Columbia crew as the lightweight men’s Crew of the Year. Nich Parker, head coach of the Columbia lightweights, was honored with the title of lightweight men’s Coach of the Year on the heels of strong performances by all Columbia lightweight men’s boats which resulted in the lightweight men’s team trophy at IRA.

On the women’s side, the Stanford lightweight women’s varsity eight held a nearly three second victory at the IRA Championships, earning them both the lightweight women’s Crew of the Year, as well as the IRA team points title. As a result of these victories, Brynes was awarded lightweight women’s Coach of the Year.

“Mike, Nich and Derek – along with their crews are extremely deserving of this recognition by their peers,"  said Katie Boldvich, IRA Executive Director. "Their high-level of commitment to excellence and dedication were evident at this year’s National Championship regatta, with each crew earning their respective National Championship nods and each coach guiding their programs to the overall team title in their respective class. This recognition puts an exclamation mark on another successful season and championship event.”

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