by Taylor Baird
During this year’s Family Weekend, members of the Crew Team along with their family members, friends, and administrators celebrated the team’s achievements and formally dedicated the newest boat, El Lobo de la Noche. The boat dedication and christening was held on the lawn of the McGriff Alumni House and included speeches from Vice-Chancellor John McCardell, Coach Donnie Jones, and Team Captain Taylor Skalka (C‘14). With gracious funding from the Activities Fee Committee the team was able to purchase a Hudson 4+, which is a great addition to the boats available to the team. El Lobo de la Noche currently belongs to the Men’s Varsity 4+ where it was raced for the first time at the Chattanooga Head Race on October 12. El Lobo de la Noche is coxed by Skalka with rowers Karl Afrikian (C‘16), Scott Tully (C‘14), Parker Stoker (C‘14), and Taylor Oscar (C‘17).
The Hudson boat is a special addition the the Crew Team due to the story behind the name of the boat. El Lobo de la Noche was named in honor of Coach Donnie Jones and his time as a Navy Chief. The name translates to “The Night Wolf,” representing the bond between Coach Donnie’s unit in the Navy. As Taylor Skalka noted in her speech, Coach Donnie is accustomed to working with a close-knit group of individuals and just as he had his team in the Navy, he now has a team here at Sewanee. The Crew Team challenges and supports each other to work hard and to work together. Each rower has to trust each other and listen to their coxswain, functioning as one complete unit. Sewanee Crew is a club team but competes against many Division I schools across the South.
The team is extremely grateful to have the new Hudson 4+ and is looking forward to racing it again during the first week of November at The Head of the Hooch. The Head of the Hooch is one of the world’s largest rowing regattas, with 2,000 boats racing over the course of one weekend. It attracts teams from all over the country as well as some international teams. Sewanee Crew is looking forward to a beautiful weekend on the water and is hoping to bring home some hardware.