Head coach Andy Teitelbaum's 2009-10 rowing team will have a characteristic it has somewhat lacked the past couple of seasons - a large contingent of upperclassmen. The 2008-09 roster was comprised of 21 juniors and seniors, but also 24 freshmen and sophomores, while in 2007-08, the Buckeyes were a fairly young team, made up of several first and second years. Overall, Teitelbaum is looking forward to the mesh of the experienced and youth movement.
Representing the Scarlet and Gray's only head coach since women's rowing became a varsity sport at Ohio State in 1996, Teitelbaum also discusses the Buckeyes' secret to their successful consistency during the postseason, the rowing program's presence in the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame and what the telecast of the Big Ten rowing championships mean for the sport.
PARITY IS KEY
Some coaches love having a roster chalk full of seniors. Who would not want a team that encompasses exclusively a group of student-athletes who have three years of collegiate competition to their credit? However, most coaches would argue having a careful balance of "old and young" is the preferable route. What do you do when all those seniors graduate or exhaust their eligibility? Although the roster this year has 21 juniors and seniors, the underclassmen still possess a fair amount of experience to keep Teitelbaum's mind at ease. However, he recognizes the caveat of relying too much on one certain group.
"There will always be an adjustment period," Teitelbaum said. The freshman and sophomores definitely add to the talent pool, but there is no substitute for experience, so we will look to our juniors and seniors at the beginning of the season."
Last season, the First and Second Varsity Fours experienced unprecedented success in the postseason when for the first time in program history both boats were crowed Aramark South/Central Region champions. The 1V4 also captured a Big Ten title. The best part about this news? Seven of the eight student-athletes from both boats: 1V4 Bow - Anniken Ellingsen, Ellen Heister, Claudia Schiwy, Farrah
Edwards and coxswain Kristin DiJosie and 2V4 Bow Mandy Merritt, Jill Mohr, Cleonice Renzetti and coxswain MacKenzie Pecor all will return this season and ideally will move into the varsity eights.
"Our depth has been quite strong," Teitelbaum said. "The fours did a nice job last season and were highly competitive and demonstrated their skills. We would like to move those student-athletes to the eights this season to help get those boats going."
Of note as well are some of the novices from a season ago who have been promoted to varsity status for this upcoming campaign. Teitelbaum and his coaching staff never downplay the significance of the novices as they are the group who two and three years down the road will make a prominent impact on the success of Ohio State rowing.
"We are excited about the group of former novices rowing this year," Teitelbaum said. "This group has varsity power and is even more developed. They have had a taste of success and I am looking forward to them becoming the backbone of this program in the future."
That success Teitelbaum is referring to? Inexperienced rowers at the beginning of the 2008
fall practice season, the First Novice Eight was third in the Grand Final of the 2009 Big Ten championships, while the Second Novice Eight won the Petite Final.
For the third-consecutive year, a rower was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. After Conny Kirsch (1999-02) became the program's first inductee in 2007, 2000-03 letterwinner Maxi Meissner solidified her place in Ohio State athletics history with her 2008 honor. In 2009, Karla Fiserova (2001-03) became the third rower to earn the coveted status.
"The induction of Conny, Maxi and Karla speaks to how great they are as athletes in such a relatively young sport," Teitelbaum said. "The succession of talented rowers to be recognized is special and gratifying."
Natives of Germany, Kirsch and Meissner's Ohio State careers crossed paths as both were part of the 2002 Big Ten Conference Championship team. Kirsch concluded her Buckeye career as a three-time CRCA All-American, including a first-team selection in 2002. She also earned First Team All-Central Region laurels all four years of her career. Kirsch's Big Ten Rowing Athlete of the Year in 2002 honor complements her status as a three-time First Team All-Big Ten award winner. Academically, Kirsch was a two-time academic All-Big Ten and four-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.
Meissner is one of three Buckeyes to earn two First Team CRCA All-America accolades (2001, 03). During those same seasons, Meissner also was honored with First Team All-Central Region honors, as well as First Team All-Big Ten awards. She was a second team all-conference selection in 2002. Meissner was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and Ohio State Scholar-Athlete. The 2002 Ohio State Most Valuable Rower, Fiserova was part of that 2002 league championship team. A 2003 First Team CRCA All-American, she was a two-time First Team All-Central Region and First Team All-Big Ten selection. She was a two-time CRCA National Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree, as well as three-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.
VIEW FROM THE TOP
For the first time in Big Ten Conference history, the 2008 league championships, hosted by Ohio State at Griggs Reservoir on the Scioto River was broadcasted on the Big Ten Network. Not only did the Network strive to provide viewers with varying degrees of camera shots, but the Goodyear Blimp also provided aerial views in high definition. With the opportunity to showcase rowing on HD television, Teitelbaum, as well as other Big Ten coaches recognize the significance it has on educating the general public about their passion.
"The level of production by the Big Ten Network made the telecast even more special," Teitelbaum said. "It was wonderful to watch and it is exciting to see the coverage and get that level of exposure."
Chuck Rodosky was named an assistant/novice coach in July. Rodosky returned to the Buckeye state after serving as the Scarlet and Gray's volunteer assistant coach from 2003-05.
"I am looking forward to getting started at Ohio State and working with the entire rowing staff," Rodosky said. "I am also very excited about the return to Columbus and Ohio State and I am confident I will make the positive impact Andy wants."
Teitelbaum is equally excited about bringing Rodosky on board and expects him to make an immediate impact in the Buckeyes' recruiting efforts.
"It's great having Chuck back at Ohio State," Teitelbaum, who has entered his 15th season as the Buckeyes' head coach in 2009-10, said. "He's done wonderful things for every program he's ever been associated with and we are excited about adding him to our staff. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious and his presence will immediately be helpful for our recruiting efforts on and off campus, as well as leading our novice program on the water."
Rodosky served as the assistant coach at Iowa (2006-08) and Trinity College (2005-06) in between his time in Columbus.
Owning a US Rowing Level III Coaching Certification, Rodosky also has experience coaching at U.S. national development camps. He participated in the 2000 NYAC U.S. Development Camp, as well as the 2001 Nereid U.S. Development Camp.
A rower at Bowling Green State University from 1995-1999 and team captain from 1997-1999, Rodosky earned his bachelor's degree in accounting in 1999.