A Promising Future for the Xavier Crew Team


Rick Dubie

By Hyun Lee, Assistant Reporter

The Xavier Crew Team is currently in a period of rebuilding. Two years ago, in the spring of 2017, the varsity eight boat met widespread success under the guidance of Mr. Peter Belmonte, the former crew coach. That year, the varsity eight secured an outstanding 12-1 record and won not only the Mahoney Cup but also the Founder’s Cup, an annual race between Xavier and Fairfield Prep to recognize the coincident births of the two crew programs in 2006. Xavier’s hard-fought victory in the Founder’s Cup race held a special significance because it was the first year that Xavier won it since 2006. Thus, Xavier beat Fairfield Prep not once but twice that year, by an exhilarating 0.5 seconds at the Founders Cup and later by a comfortable 10 seconds at the Mahoney Cup. The exuberance from the success of that year faded however, as the crew team came to terms with the loss of not only the large group of graduating seniors, but also Coach Belmonte, who left Xavier in 2017 to pursue his studies in becoming a Xavierian brother.

Fast-forward to 2019. The Xavier Crew Team has just wrapped up its fall season. The present crew coach, Mr. Kyle Powell, is now in his second year of coaching, and because of his greater experience and more lucid goals, he is confident in the potential of the crew team. Although normally all of the attention is on the varsity boats, Coach Powell highlighted the success of the novice eight (composed entirely of freshmen), which came in at 9th place out of 23 boats at the Worcester Northeastern Regional Regatta, adding that he “was really impressed with the athletic ability of some of the younger guys coming out for the team as well as the dedication of some of the older guys.” With the large pool of raw talent among the underclassmen and the leadership and passion displayed by the upperclassmen – especially those seniors who had witnessed the glory of the crew team their freshmen year – there is a lot of excitement and an optimistic outlook for the future.

Already, there have been noticeable improvements from last year. For instance, thanks to the interest and support of the new Xavier athletic director, Mr. Matthew Martorelli, the crew team was able to get brand-new footboards and shoes to help rowers have more efficient and successful performances on the water. Coach Powell commented that new equipment such as the footboards and shoes helps “draw kids in and get them excited about the program.”

To prepare for the spring, which is the main season for crew, there will be optional pre-season training during the winter for rowers who are not playing another winter sport. This will give everyone the opportunity to stay in shape and be at the top of their game in the spring through erg workouts and weight training. Personal notebooks will be implemented into the workouts to promote accountability and motivation. Tryouts for crew were held for the first time this year due to the substantial number of interested freshmen and the limited number of seats available in the boats, as well as the impracticality of transporting and organizing large teams for practices on the river. Winter training will provide those rowers who were cut another chance to be part of the team in the spring.

As Coach Powell emphasizes, the crew team “still [has] a lot of ways to go,” but he is confident that the team will step up to meet his expectations.