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Valley well represented in 'Coug rowing program
PULLMAN - The Washington State Cougars rowing program boasts a strong Valley flavor, as local athletes are well-represented on both the men's and women's teams.
There are four Valley residents on the men's squad, and one on the women's team. On the men's team are seniors Mike Poth and Danny Brevick from Fall City, senior Ken LaBelle from Carnation, and Danny's brother, junior Peter Brevick. Danny and Peter Brevick's younger sister Karin, a freshman, competes on the women's rowing team. Karin was a successful center the last couple of seasons for the Mount Si Wildcats girls' basketball team.
The men are coached by first-year coach Arthur Ericsson. All three Brevicks, LaBelle, and men's coach Ericsson commented via e-mail about their experiences together in the Cougar rowing program. LaBelle has enjoyed his experience with his Valley teammates.
"Rowing crew with these guys has been a load of fun," LaBelle said. "I would not trade it for anything."
Ericsson offered praise for LaBelle.
"Ken is a very direct and hardworking team member. His emotions are an important part of who he is," the coach said.
According to Ericsson, leadership has been a big part of Danny Brevick's contribution.
"Danny is the classic leader who leads by example. He is in his second year as the team captain and sets a mature and high standard for the team," Ericsson said.
Rowing is a family affair for the Brevicks, with three siblings together on the two teams combined. Danny Brevick is excited to have his sister around.
"I love seeing her every day at practice and we all get along really well so we have fun being friends too," Danny said.
His brother Peter added that they all get together for dinner often outside of competing. Danny also thinks that family unity is a wonderful thing.
"We all like to work hard and win races, so being here together is just the icing on the cake," Danny said.
"I love having them [brothers] here to push me," she said.
The men's team has struggled a little bit. Recently, the Cougars finished fifth at the Head of the Lake Regatta in Seattle, behind first-place finisher University of Washington. Washington State, however, finished ahead of their rival, Gonzaga.
The same can be said for the women. Their boats finished in the back of the pack in all except one race at that same meet, including one disqualification. Their varsity four-person boat finished second.
Both teams take the winter off and will not compete again until next spring.
Danny had advice for Valley athletes who might be interested in the sport.
"You only get out what you are willing to put in. The hardships are the stepping stones to enjoyment, and the pain is a testament to the pleasure derived," he said. "Rowing is the ultimate team sport. It brings your entire crew together into one seamless machine where everyone is fully accountable to each other."
Peter added that the majority of the team had experience prior to college, so it is important to start early. All three Brevicks recommended the Sammamish Rowing Association for those interested in getting a start in the sport.
"SRA is an excellent program and provides a very competitive environment," Karin said.
She added that there are many scholarships available for committed high school age rowers.
The two teams' funding sources are very different. According to Danny, it can be frustrating. While the women are fully funded by the university, the men, who compete as a club sport, are not. They have to raise all of their money from outside sources. According to Ericsson, 80 percent of their funding comes from fund raisers and donations, so every dollar raised is greatly appreciated.
For those who want to donate to this team, make your check out to "WSU Men's Rowing," and mail it to: WSU Men's Rowing, UREC, P.O. Box 641830, Pullman, WA 99164-8097. Also consult their Web site at http://cub.wsu.edu/wsumensrow.
The women also have their own Web site as part of the official Cougars athletic site, http://wsucougars.collegesports.com. On the site's home page look under Women's Sports, then find Rowing.
For more information on the Sammamish Rowing Association, visit the SRA Web site at www.srarowing.com, or call them at (425) 653-2583.