GPS rowing talent on Ivy League radar
A SCOUT from the prestigious Yale University surveyed a Nudgee College practice on Monday, as powerhouse American universities cast an eye over prime Australian rowing talent.
The Nudgee open first eight, who this morning go to the second GPS regatta of the season at the Wyaralong centre, trained on the Brisbane River under the eye of Yale scout Mike Gennaro.
Patrick Long, Nudgee's national under-17 single scull champion, said he had discussed with his parents continuing in the sport after high school with a view to contesting an Olympic Games one day.
"Maybe we can use rowing as a base to go to other things, at a university in Australia or one overseas - it can be a good way to get a better education,'' said Long, who had the six seat for Nudgee in both their two wins in the open eight last Saturday.
"I want to row and hopefully one day make a junior or open men's crew for Australia.''
On his trip for the well-resourced Yale, Gennaro is also visiting the school rowing programs at Shore in Sydney and Scotch College in Victoria.
"It's probably only in the last four or five years we have arrived on the radar of those elite universities in the US,'' said Christian Oneto, Nudgee's dean of boarding who was formerly director of rowing.
"We've had Washington University, Brown and now Yale specially to see the Nudgee eight and see if they may be some boys interested. It's a terrific opportunity to use rowing to get into a university in the US.''
Former Nudgee coxswain Isaac Schmidt is studying at Oxford Brooks Unversity (correct) after becoming only the third boy to row in three winning Head of the River open first eight crews.
The second regatta of the GPS season is hosted by Brisbane Boys' College, who placed fourth in both open first eight races in the first regatta, by margins of 8.33sec and 8.46 behind Nudgee.
BBC will today have an unchanged crew of Benjamin Fenwicke, Angus Hedberg, Lachlan Barry, Morgan Jones, Henry Doe, Samuel Kelly-Knowles, Jack Kelly, Sam Braithwaite and cox Bradley Bloom.
"The boys have maintained a very positive attitude to their rowing and they worked hard at our (January) camp at Pine Rivers,'' BBC director of rowing Zoltan Shepherd said.
"They have training six times a week and we have a good coaching group too.
"Our target for this regatta is third place and for the Head of the River (on March 17) it's third. It's a possibility we can fight for second. We are very close.''
Two BBC Year 11 boys, Hedberg and Doe, have stepped up to open competition this season in impressive fashion.
The Southport School, winners of the Head of the River crown last year, came fifth in both open first eight races last Saturday.
"I wouldn't be writing Southport off. They are a strong school in rowing and they'll be better,'' Oneto said.
"I know a couple of the first eight Head of the Rivers that we won, we came fourth in the first race. It's not uncommon for teams to move around a little (in the placings through the season).''