History of Wakefield Crew
As compiled by
WHS Crew Alumna
Wakefield High School Crew History 1990-1995
The preface to this history is that in all cases it was the generous commitment of time, resources, and energy by Charlie Butt Jr., head coach of Washington-Lee HS. Crew that made the team possible. Charlie is one of the fathers of high school and junior rowing in the Washington D.C. area, and helped to start numerous teams, as well as establish the Occoquan race course at Sandy Run, in Fairfax, VA.
Wakefield Crew started in the late 50's and then quickly disappeared. Little history is known about this time. In 1990 a Wakefield exchange student named Mohammed Abdullah persuaded the father of Charlie Emery '93, to coach them in a pair (2-). Charlie’s dad was a former rower and he approached Washington-Lee Crew coach Charlie Butt who helped with a boat, oars, and launch. The guys raced and rowed locally and at Stotesbury.
This simple start caused a wave of interest from Wakefield students, both at the school and from students attending H-B Woodlawn. The next year, 1991, a group of guys including Justin Mattice '92, Steve Fredericks '92, Shane Curnyn (W-L '94), Colin Anday '93, and coxswain Nate Crouch '93 joined Charlie Emery '92 in a four that practiced alongside W-L crews coached by W-L Asst. Coach George Kirschbaum (W-L '87). The 2nd boat rowed Novice, and had an undefeated season. A small group of women, Lahela Perry ('92), Lyda Mitchell (Captain)('94) and other students introduced the development of the women's team, through the guidance of W-L Coaches Beth Burns (W-L ‘86) and Ginny Crouch (W-L ‘86). Lots of learning and growth ensued. (Team captains: Lyda Mitchell ‘94, Lahella Perry ‘92, Charlie Emery ‘93)
1992 saw the expansion of the team, which now included a strong group of novice young women again coached by W-L Asst. Coaches Ginny Crouch (W-L '86) and Beth Burns Kramer (W-L '86). Lahela and Lyda were joined by Jessica Oppenheimer '93, Lena Wang '94, Jena Kotler '94, Tara Eng '94, and Leora Cohen-McKeon '94 to lead this strong group. The men continued to develop alongside the W-L men and coach Kirschbaum and included Shiloh Bates. Many of the women competed in the off season with the junior women’s team at Potomac Boat Club. (Team captains: Lyda Mitchell ‘94 & Lahella Perry ‘92, Charlie Emery ‘93, Steve Frederick '92, and Justin Mattice '92)
1993 was a turning point for the team as it became a more independent team with their own coaches. Still rowing out of Potomac Boat Club alongside W-L, and using borrowed boats from W-L, the team grew to two 8's of rowers per side, one novice and one experienced. Coach Kirschbaum was selected to lead the women's team, and Wakefield teacher Mark Rendel took on the men's team, with volunteer coach Matt Girard (W-L '81) acting as asst. novice coach for both sides. The women saw the best success that year making the finals of the regional championship regatta, bumping off local power Wilson HS. of D.C. and made their first appearance at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta. The stage was set for continued success and growth. (Team captains: Lena Wang ‘94 & Leora Cohen-McKeon ‘94, Charlie Emory ‘93 & Nate Crouch ‘93)
1994 continued the team's progression and it became fully independent by moving from under the wings of W-L to rowing on their own out of Thompson Boat Center. With two 8's and two borrowed fours they set their sights high. After organizing the team through the fall of '93, coach Kirschbaum handed the reigns off to Derek Parsons (W-L '87), who was joined by Erin Hall (W-L '83) as assistant. The girls showed their competitive spirit rowing as a V4 and JV4. The girls V4 made grand finals finishing 6th at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta and qualified for the grand finals at SRAA. The JV4 did really well this season too! The boys raced a varsity four at Stotesbury and a JV8. (Team Captains: Tara Eng ‘94 & Lena Wang ‘94, Colin Anday ‘94 & Nate Crouch ‘94)
1995- Coach Parsons stepped down after the '94 season and Coach Hall stepped in as head coach and was joined by Soren Carlson (W-L '87) as asst. (Team Captains: Aleesa Pardee ‘95, Nichole Mihnovets ‘95 and Aaron Parker ‘95)