May 2006

Tempe Junior Crew Members Earn High Marks

Photo Credit: Tempe Junior Crew

READY TO ROW -- From left to right, Erin Crawford, Coach Dan Duxbury, and Katie Erhart pose before one of Tempe Junior Crew's events. Crawford and Erhart rowed outstanding races in the C.R.A.S.H.-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships at Boston University earlier this season.

In the world of competitive rowing, Arizona may well be out of the mainstream, but members of the Tempe Junior Crew are making their mark in this Ivy-League sport. 

Team members Erin Crawford and Katie Erhart rowed outstanding races in the C.R.A.S.H.-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships at Boston University.  Erhart placed 22nd out of 82 in the Junior Women's Lightweight event with a time of 7:57.00, and Crawford placed 38th out of 196 in the Junior Women's Heavyweight event with a personal best of 7:39.80. 

The scores represented an outstanding accomplishment from a rowing club that is flourishing in the unlikely setting of the dry desert.

Crawford is a junior at Tempe Prep Academy who has been rowing competitively with Tempe Junior Crew since 2004.  "I originally joined crew as something to do during the spring because I didn't want to do track or play baseball," she said.  "I absolutely love it now, and I can't imagine doing anything else."

Katie Erhart, a senior at Xavier, competed in the lightweight category, which required very careful monitoring of her pre-race weight.  "At Crash-B's I had the most frustrating and exhausting pre-race experience of my life trying to make weight in time to compete, while still trying to allow some time to hydrate and eat some sorely needed food," she commented.  "Still, it was an exciting event to attend."

"I'm really proud of how the girls rowed in Boston at the C.R.A.S.H.-Bs [in late February]," said Head Coach Dan Duxbury.  "It's never easy to go up against the best in the world of rowing - especially when you're from some small club in Tempe.  However, Katie and Erin just walked in like they owned the place and left a big, old Tempe Junior Crew stamp on the event!"

Although it is a relatively new organization, Tempe Junior Crew, a non-profit, competitive rowing club for young women and men in Arizona, is attracting considerable attention in this traditionally Ivy-League sport.  Since its inception in 2000, Tempe Junior Crew has competed successfully at the local, regional, national and international levels. 

Members of the team range in age from 13 to 18 and attend schools throughout the Valley.  Dedicated athletes all, they practice five days a week after school for 2.5 hours.

The sport instills a sense of teamwork, commitment, and accountability in its members. As they train and compete, athletes from diverse backgrounds come together with one purpose and one goal: to be the best junior rowing team in the nation.

Tempe Junior Crew also represents an avenue to college.  Several of its athletes have gone on to row at prestigious colleges and universities including Harvard, Vanderbilt, University of Miami, U.S. Naval Academy, University of San Diego, U.C. Berkeley, University of Pennsylvania, University of North Carolina, and Loyola Marymount.

Many received partial or full scholarships for rowing.  At the C.R.A.S.H.-B competition in late February, both Crawford and Erhart attracted the attention of several college coaches, including Jack St Claire, head coach at Villanova, who had an impromptu recruiting chat with Erhart in the stands.

The C.R.A.S.H.-B event grew out of the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics.  Olympic rowers, wanting to break up the monotony of winter training and maintain their edge through the boycott, began competing with one another on rowing ergometers that had been introduced at about the same time as the boycott. 

Within a few short years, CRASH-B grew into the international world indoor rowing championships it is now.

For further information about Tempe Junior Crew, contact Kristin Iannini, (602) 488-5882 or visit  Potential crew participants should contact Membership Director Anne Huges at (602) 494-0066 or Head Coach Dan Duxbury at (602) 750-5287.