By DAVID MERCER
Words as simple as “All In” can be very important to sports teams. For the University of Mary Washington’s crew teams, these words are everything. As the teams head into their first season since having their status changed from varsity to club, they willing be leaning on these words to propel them forward more so than ever before.
“Everyone is working hard to transfer all of the teams’ attributes from a varsity team to a club team,” head coach Kelley Tice said. “I think it’s a shame that our team status has been changed.”
Tice, a UMW alumna, was an All-American rower every year she attended UMW. She has a strong tie to the university’s crew teams, which is why she cares so much and pushes her team members so hard.
The teams have made several NCAA appearances and have proven to be very competitive. Last year, the men’s team finished second overall in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Despite losing their varsity status, Tice is expecting the teams to perform just as well as last year, or better.
“Club status won’t deter us,” she said.
UMW Club Rowing President Morgan Keerans said she is “working hard to complete the nitty-gritty administrative stuff.”
Keerans, a psychology major, said she is doing everything possible to make the transition as easy as it can be for everyone.
“I’m trying to highlight all of the positives that can come from the situation,” Keerans said. “It definitely has been a lot of hard work, but the teams are becoming unified, and we have made great progress.”
The rules and guidelines for clubs have provided some obstacles for the crew teams, the biggest being that the teams can’t practice as much as they need to.
“It’s been hard to maintain our schedule and practice, but I’m encouraging both teams do more work outside of practice,” Keerans said.
Sophomore crew member TJ Muratore, an environmental science major, does not think that the changing of the teams’ statuses will hurt them.
“Club status has motivated the team,” Muratore said. “It has brought the men’s and women’s teams together, and I have noticed a total team improvement. It makes us work harder and forces teammates to rely on one another.”
Muratore is the vice president of Individual Fundraising and said that he sees every one of his teammates doing as much as possible to be successful.
“Crew provides a community where anyone can join and be successful, and that’s what makes us stick out,” Tice said. “Even though we are in an awkward position, there is still a positive atmosphere.”
This positive community has drawn a lot of people to the crew team.
“There is a very large novice group and a lot of hope for the future,” Tice said.
One of the new members on the women’s team is freshman Katharine Barry, an environmental science major.
“I decided to join the rowing team because it seemed like a welcoming community of hard workers,” Barry said. “Being a member of a hard-working, passionate team has pushed me to overcome mental and physical barriers and I love it.”
Kerrans said she is confident in what the new members can bring to the team.
“We’ve been able to advertise more and therefore we have a lot more new members,” Keerans said. She said she loves the fact that more people have come out and thinks both teams will be just fine and have notable success.
“Seeing how successful the women’s rugby team is made the teams more optimistic about the transition,” Keerans said.
Keeping a positive and hopeful mindset, Keerans said she is excited to see how well the teams will perform this year.
The teams have a scrimmage against the College of William and Mary on Oct. 25 and will be competing in the Head of the Occoquan on Nov. 1 and 2.