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2019 LCAA Spring Newsletter

LCAA Alumni

A Message from the LCAA President Doug Nelson

Rowing Traditions

Each spring, when college students are studying for classes and preparing for final exams, the rowing teams from Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound are getting ready for their annual duel races on American Lake in Lakewood, WA. First contested in 1964, the Meyer Cup between the Men’s Crews of PLU and UPS (later joined by the Women’s Lamberth Cup in 1977) has become one of the oldest and most celebrated rowing traditions on the West Coast.

Rowing “historians” will remember that the first intercollegiate athletic contest in the United States took place in 1852 between the heavyweight crews from Yale and Harvard. More than 160 years later, other collegiate sports like Basketball, Football, and Soccer have gained in popularity, but none can claim the rich histories and traditions of the sport of rowing.

When I began my college rowing career in 1987, it was a time-honored tradition for members of the losing crew to hand over their racing shirts to the winning boat. This most definitely happened at head to head races, but got even better at championship level races, where the winning boat received shirts from ALL the losing crews. If you were one of these fortunate crews, your prizes for winning included an event medal or trophy, along with a color palette of competitor jerseys. This tradition of shirt trading was also a great way to develop camaraderie amongst the crews by getting together after to talk about the races and other college experiences.

And speaking of shirt trading, another great tradition was the design and production of a souvenir crew shirt, and it seemed every college crew was in on the act. Call me biased, but I always thought the PLU crews had some of the most creative trading shirts. As you can imagine, or many remember, the PLU trading shirts were some of the hottest on the market! From designs like; “If it was easy, everyone would do it. JUST CREW IT!” to one of my favorites that our Novice Men came up with, “Even Your Mom Cheers for our Boat!” and then there was the classic, “Feel the pull, feel the swing, ain’t no value ‘til you treasure it.” This shirt trading tradition was another fun way to bring athletes from different teams together and build camaraderie within our sport.

Having rowed at PLU for three years, and coaching another ten, there are so many other great PLU rowing traditions that come to mind; painting the bridge, crash/dash races, team skits on spring break, rallies on the eve of Meyer/Lamberth, sleeping on church floors, van rides to Sacramento, crew parties, and so on…..

Today, I value reunions with my former teammates and fellow PLU rowing alums, so we can reminisce about the good ‘ol days. Accounts of these traditions oftentimes turn into “fish” stories, and get bigger and better with every telling. As President of the Lute Crew Alumni Association, I encourage you to reach out to some of your former teammates and find ways to get together. Maybe you will decide to get together at the 2019 Meyer/Lamberth races. Maybe it will be the next PLU Homecoming Weekend. Whatever the case may be, traditions stay alive from the gatherings we create and the stories we pass on from generation to generation. The traditions of teamwork, camaraderie, competition, and excellence are being carried on by our current PLU Men’s and Women’s Crews. I hope that you will come witness it for yourself!


Doug Nelson
LCAA President

Doug Nelson, LCAA President

Stay connected! The PLU Crew wants to stay better connected with all of its fans, friends, and family. Please use the following link to connect with us on Facebook.

PLU Rowing Alumni Facebook

Fundraising Update

At the time of Newsletter production, the Men’s & Women’s Crews are in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the cost of travel to WIRA Championships in Sacramento, CA. If you are interested in contributing or need more information, please contact LCAA President, Doug Nelson @ damnelson1999@gmail.com.

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars with these important dates:

  • Saturday, March 9: PLU Invitational, first race of the season*
  • Saturday, March 30: Husky Open, men only
  • Sunday, April 7: Meyer/Lamberth and Alumni Cup Races at American Lake
  • Saturday, April 20: NW Conference Championships/Rainier Cup in Vancouver, WA
  • Saturday, April 27 & Sunday, April 28: WIRA Championships in Sacramento, CA
  • Saturday, May 4: Windermere Cup/Opening Day in Seattle, WA. Meet up with fellow PLU Rowing fans at the old UW boathouse on Montlake Cut. Races begin at 10:20 am, bring a snack to share.
  • Friday, May 31 & Saturday, June 1: NCAA Division III Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana

*Alumni are encouraged to attend this regatta, which includes the honoring of the 1970 crew with a boat dedication.

If anyone plans to attend an event, and would like to volunteer to be the host of a tent, please contact Kathy Corey at katcorey1@gmail.com.

Spring Race Schedules

Come cheer on the PLU Men’s and Women’s Rowing Teams as they clash with northwest, west coast, and national rivals. If you live in any of these road regatta cities and would like to host a PLU Alumni gathering at the races, please contact the LCAA!

Men’s Team Schedule

Women’s Team Schedule

Coaches Q&A

LCAA: “What are you most excited about for the upcoming spring season?”

Coach Andy Foltz, Women’s Crew: As a whole I am most excited about our process and where we are at along the journey. We talked 4 years ago about “Winning a National Championship” and we have been able with this year’s senior class qualify boats each year to the NCAA Championships. This year we are really looking forward to the journey that will take us one step closer to that goal. This year we also looking forward to taking a Spring Break Training trip – the athletes decided they wanted to go some place warm so they have rallied the group and are paying for the majority of the trip to just outside of LA to train and race in Southern California.

Coach Dave Harvey, Men’s Crew: I am excited to see continued increases in our speed on the water. That is a critical measure of our progress. During the Fall 2018 season, our results indicated that we are track to be much faster than last spring at both the novice and varsity levels. Much of that improvement has to do with the group’s willingness to work hard mentally and physically each day. The sense of commitment and accountability is higher this year and that has had a huge impact.

LCAA: “Which race on your schedule would you say carries the most significance?”

Coach Andy Foltz, Women’s Crew: The most significant race on our schedule has to be the race we have directly in front of us. However, the Northwest Conference (NWC) Championships always carries a significant importance for us. We have been fortunate enough to win the last three years and want to keep that rolling. This year as well we have to put the WIRA Championships as a regatta of large importance – this will be the last time we face a DIII opponent during the regular season and will need to beat all DIII opponents that weekend to have a shot to qualify for the NCAA’s. Plain and simple we need to be the best in the west at the Division III level to qualify. Of course we always always place a high significance on the Lamberth Cup races – you don’t train next to someone all year long to not want to beat them head to head. The beauty of our schedule though is that we get to see the Loggers at both the NWC Championships and the WIRA Champs.

Coach Dave Harvey, Men’s Crew: The WIRA Championships are obviously our flagship event. That is our focus all year. Our training cycles are based on being fast on Lake Natoma on the final weekend of April. Along the way, we do have other important markers. The Collegiate Covered Bridge Regatta offers a great opportunity for the team to adjust to the demands of travel and lining up against several good teams for the first time that season. Success at Covered Bridge bodes well for our chances at WIRA. With the 2018 edition of the regatta being cancelled due to high winds, the athletes are excited to get back on the water in Dexter.

LCAA: “The PLU Rowing alums have many fond memories of rowing at American Lake. What do you like most about coaching and rowing at American Lake?”

Coach Andy Foltz, Women’s Crew: My favorite things about coaching/rowing on American Lake have to be the views of Mt. Rainier. I spent a lot of time coaching away from the Northwest (my home) and went crazy with no mountains to have remind me that we are truly a part of something much greater than our 20 second moment in front of our face. The views in the winter time as the red sun is rising can’t be beat. I also love the size – it’s perfect for volume of work and the quietness that is needed to focus in and check out from the busy world around us.

Coach Dave Harvey, Men’s Crew: It is hard to beat the view… when we are not in the dark or the fog or the rain… or some combination of the three.  Watching the sunrise with Mount Rainier in the background is amazing and I try not to take that for granted. As a coach, I don’t particularly like stopping the boats during practice unless it is necessary.  But, occasionally, we will give the athletes a break and let them soak in the view of the mountain and sunrise. The bald eagles are fun to watch as well. They are majestic and incredibly efficient at catching fish.

LCAA: “What would you say is your BIG team goal for the 2019 Spring Season?”

Coach Andy Foltz, Women’s Crew: Our Team Goal every year is to Win a National Championship. We have benchmarks and checks along the way to make sure we are on the right path – some might call those “sub goals”? Those this year are to Win both the Varsity 8+ and 2nd Varsity 8+ at the NWC Championships as well as WIRA Championships (against DIII opponents). Specifically at WIRAs it is to medal all boats racing which this year should include two varsity 8’s, a novice 8+, and two fours. Secondary some of our other team goals have been to continue to raise money in a long term effort to afford a proper turn over plan to continue to be competitive with our large equipment (our second newest shell was made in 2000 – which also happens to be the same year our freshman were born).

Coach Dave Harvey, Men’s Crew: The goal we have been discussing since May 2018 is competing in the Grand Finals at WIRA. All of the other goals and priorities for 2018-2019 were set with that ultimate goal in mind. It is a simple, clear way to focus our energy and help guide our decision making. We know that it will be a challenge and we know that it will have to be earned. We also know that focusing on what we can control and doing the right things day in and day out on the water and off is the best way to achieve it.

LCAA: “Is there a specific crew or athlete you would like to highlight?”

Coach Andy Foltz, Women’s Crew: Within our squad we talk a lot about how there isn’t one person who is more important or above anyone else on the team. We are all equal and we are working for each other. In that spirit I want to highlight our group who studied away this past Fall. This past Fall we had 10 of our 22 returners studying away, a crazy number. Many of whom were in the boats that raced at the NCAA’s this past May. Of the 10, 5 were at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and all 5 were rowing in some capacity or another! They even got to race a few times. We had one rowing for a program associated with Oxford, England (no not the Blues!). We had two of them who were studying away in Oaxaca, Mexico and searched high and low to find an erg and finally found one.. just one… that they named and shared that beast! We had another one studying outside of London and truly found her way to grow as a person and ultimately as an athlete. Lastly, we had our senior captain studying away in Denmark truly learning how to lead when she is not near her team. Trying to create ways for her to stay engaged with the team and also get to know all of the many first years we had on the squad in the Fall. The group was incredibly hardworking, encouraging of the team at home and now that they are back are leading and driving the pace.

Coach Dave Harvey, Men’s Crew:
Name: Isaiah Banken
Hometown: Wenatchee Washington
Major: Biology / Math
Graduation Year: 2022
Year Rowing: 1st

Why did you start rowing?
I had talked with my uncle about his rowing career at PLU and I was interested in trying something new. I saw rowing as an opportunity to push myself both mentally and physically in a way that no other club or sport at PLU could.

Favorite thing about rowing?
The feeling when everyone is completely present in the boat is incredible. What I enjoy most about rowing is the challenge of achieving that feeling as a team.

Best memory from Fall 2018?
Rowing through the Montlake Cut was a true privilege and one of my favorite memories from the fall.

What are you most looking forward to about the Spring 2019 season?
I’m looking forward getting back on the water and improving upon the foundation that our team built this fall.

Coach’s perspective:

Isaiah is a hard worker and a dedicated teammate. He lets his effort and focus speak for itself. At end of Fall 2018, the novice did their first 6K test. Isaiah planned his piece in advance and calmly put in a great effort- earning a spot on the program’s 6K leaderboard. I could tell that he was pleased, but he did not celebrate or go recover. Instead, he got off the erg and encouraged his teammates to finish strong. It was great to see!

Isaiah comes from a long line of Lutes. His parents are Julie (1990) and Joel Banken (1991). Three of his uncles attended PLU: Jeff Ostenson, who rowed, and Dan and Paul Banken. His aunt Cynthia Iverson and grandfather Harold Ostensen are also alumni. Finally, his great grandfather, Burton Ostenson, was a professor at PLU.

Alumni Spotlight

Katie (Schlepp) Zatorski (‘06)

To say that rowing at PLU changed my life is far from an understatement. I have the distinct memory from the age of 11 first learning about PLU rowing from my cousin, Ann (Ostlund) Boucher (PLU Crew 1988 – 1992), and her stories hung in my memory until I started with the team as a novice in the fall of 2002. Rowing under Tone Lawver and Sarah Halsted, what I valued the most was the work of the sport – the focus to learn the technique, the time and dedication to train, and the persistence to stick with it. PLU Crew provided me a community, lifelong friends, and the love for a sport that I have never been able to shake.

Following my time at PLU, I continued to train and compete with the competitive women’s teams at Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle, WA and Community Rowing Inc (CRI) in Boston, MA. While at CRI, I had the opportunity to train and race with fellow PLU alumni, Andrea (Schroeder) Webster, taking home gold at the 2010 Masters Nationals in the Women’s AA 2-. It remains one of my favorite racing experiences ever!

While in Boston, I met my now husband, Matt Zatorski, and our mutual love for the sport has taken us from coaching rowing in Bermuda to launching our own rowing services company, Long Term Rower Development (LTRD). LTRD and our competitive rowing team, Seattle Scullers, launched in July 2018. In the first 6 months of operations we’ve journeyed to Buenos Aires where one of our athletes represented Team USA at the Youth Olympic Games; we’ve hosted a Croatian rower on her pathway to representing her country in the Olympics; and we’ve built a foundation for athletes of all ages to train and compete to meet their performance goals. LTRD is founded on the principles of an athlete-centered approach, designing and developing training plans customized to meet individual performance goals for athletes of all ages. Our team currently spans U19, U23, and Senior level rowers. We leverage innovative drone technology to support technique acquisition and LTRD will be launching local and destination training camps come Summer 2019. We are on an exciting new adventure and I credit my rowing foundations built at PLU Crew. Follow along at @seattlescullers on Instagram and Long Term Rower Development on Facebook.

Outside of co-founding and serving as COO of LTRD, LLC, I have a 2-year old future rower and I continue to follow my other passions of working to drive social change through cross-sector collaboration. Current projects include working as a contractor with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on issues related to global digital health and vaccine delivery as well as postsecondary education and student success.


Katie Schlepp Zatorski (’06)
406-579-4995 | schleplk@gmail.com

Katie (Schlepp) Zatorski
Katie (Schlepp) Zatorski ('06)
The Johnson's
The Johnson's Poolside
The Johnson's Large Group

Golden Oar Award 2018

The LCAA is pleased to announce the newest recipients of the Golden Oar Award: Dave & Patsy Johnson, who hosted our crews in Sacramento for the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships beginning in 1984!

As you may be aware, at the 50th Anniversary of PLU Rowing in the spring of 2013, a new award was conceived. Each year, the Lute Crew Alumni Association elects a valued member of our past to be inducted into the Golden Oar Society. The award was created “to honor those who have committed considerable time, talent & resources in making lasting contributions to the PLU Rowing Program”.

Here are the previously inducted Golden Oar Society members:

2013 – The Row Down Crew, consisting of Jim Ojala “Commodore”, Norm Purvis, Jim Wiitala, Bill Brinkmeyer, Rich Holmes, George Wood, Bob Torget, Curt Pearson, Jim Bartlett, Mike Kido, Rolf Morstad, Roger Hansen, Gary Van Hoy & Bob Sullivan.

2014 – Dave “Smed” Peterson
2015 – George E & Linda C Gordon
2016 – Doug “Herly” Herland
2017 – Roger Shanafelt

Dave and Patsy, 1969 alums of PLU, began their close association with PLU crew in 1984 when they offered to host our men’s lightweight 4 (silver) for the weekend of the PCRC’s in Sacramento. Dave Peterson was the coach, and the crew was invited back the next year – Dave’s last year coaching – when we brought the women’s light 4 (gold), men’s novice 4 (gold), light 4 (bronze), & heavy 4 (4th place) to Sacramento.

Dave and Patsy continued their incredibly generous partnership for the next 2 decades, directly contributing to the great success at that championship regatta for literally hundreds of Lute oarsmen and oarswomen. All the coaches of the ensuing years – Elise Lindborg, Bob Trondsen, Jeff Glenn, Kim Morter, Doug Herland, Knut Olson, Karen Maxwell, Sara Halseth, Eric Hanson, Jerry Olson, Sean MacIntyre, Doug Nelson, Tone Lawver, and others – continued to be blessed with the service and hospitality the Johnsons offered. And, as the numbers of Lute rowers grew, Dave and Patsy called on their friends and neighbors to help host, thus creating a whole community of support over many years in the Sacramento area.

Dave and Patsy recruited many other families in their community to help in hosting over the years in Sacramento, becoming such a close-knit part of our PLU family that eventually we held official PLU graduation ceremonies for the senior rowers while at the Rowing Championships! Our honorees were also instrumental in the hosted PLU tent at the races, including incredible catered meals for the athletes and spectators. A huge bonus for all the competitors and coaches was the time to relax around (and in!) the outdoor swimming pools of the Johnson’s and other host families’.

For their ongoing commitment and altruistic service to the rowing crews at PLU, we are excited, humbled & proud to honor Dave and Patsy Johnson with the 2018 Golden Oar Award!

In Memory

It is with heavy hearts we share news of the passing of Fay Fenske (‘74), former PLU rower. Fay was born Feb. 22, 1951 and died Jan. 3, 2019. Our thoughts are with Fay and her family.

If you have current news to share about our rowing community, please e-mail Doug Nelson at damnelson1999@gmail.com.

Boat at sunset

Dedication of the Nate Schoening Center for Student Success

On February 8, 2019, members of the PLU community gathered at Mortvedt Library to dedicate the Nate Schoening Center for Student Success. University Pastor Reverend Jen Rude provided the invocation before Nate’s parents, David and Chris, both members of the class of ‘68, provided a heartfelt message. Other speakers included Acting President Allan Belton, Chair of the Board of Regents Ed Grogan, University Provost Joanna Gregson and several students and staff.

The Nate Schoening Center for Student Success is a campus-wide network of units dedicated to helping students succeed at PLU by providing them with individualized academic and personal support. The center will utilize a collaborative, student-centered approach with a particular focus on helping first year students build solid foundations at PLU.

The Nate Schoening Center for Student Success was established in memory of Nathan Schoening (‘01) for the strength, love and care he provided his family and for his commitment to the PLU community. Nate began rowing at PLU and quickly developed a love for all that the sport offers. Nate passed away in 2017 at 38 years of age. In addition to honoring his legacy at the center, his oar is hanging in the erg room as a daily reminder of the common bonds we share as members of the PLU Rowing family.

Former coach Doug Nelson remembers Nate as a very smart young man who was a hard worker and a great teammate. Nate was a technically sound rower and, while a lightweight, was good enough to compete in PLU’s top openweight boat.

Over 30 members of the women’s and men’s teams attended the ceremony and toured the facility afterwards.

LCAA Leadership Team

Doug Nelson | LCAA President
(E): damnelson1999@gmail.com
(P): 253-314-2968

Kathy Corey | LCAA Vice President
(E): katcorey1@gmail.com
(P): 253-686-8057

Dave Peterson | Historian and Recognition Chair
(E): davepeterson@betterproperties.com
(P): 253-222-8480

Sheri Koehn | Web Guru / Facebook
(E): sheri.koehn@gmail.com