Bidding the United States “cheerio” on June 16, the 2009-10 men’s crew team traveled to England to earn a spot in the Henley Royal Regatta, a rowing competition dating back to 1839.
In the days leading up to the qualifying race, the USC team, known as the Trojan Navy, prepared by training in Cambridge University’s renowned facilities as well as participating in the Marlow Regatta at Eton. Despite thorough training, however, team members knew they faced tough odds in qualifying for the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley.
Eighteen teams had qualified to compete for the Cup based on their performances during the season, but 14 open spots remained.
“Traditionally, the Temple Challenge Cup sees the top 32 clubs and universities of the world,” said Danny Johnson, head coach of the Trojan Navy. “To qualify, the USC team had to beat out 47 crews for the coveted 14 remaining spots.”
After completing the time-trial race, the USC team felt it had already won.
“We came off the water, and everyone knew that it was the best we’d ever done,” said team captain Ryan Hasvold. “So we were extremely happy with our race, even before we knew any of the results.”
Thirty minutes later, the team had even more reason to celebrate. The Trojan Navy would be one of only four American teams to participate in the Temple Challenge.
“We went nuts,” Hasvold said. “We were just thrilled and legitimately felt like we belonged there.”
Though the team didn’t go on to win the Cup, the Trojan Navy was proud of its accomplishments and hard work.
“The trip was definitely a success,” Hasvold said. “It was an amazing experience, and we represented ourselves and USC really well.”
The members of the men’s crew team who raced at Henley, from bow to stern included Steven Kent, Austin Delana, Jeff Nelson, Collin Evans, Harrison Taylor, Kellen Proctor, Ryan Hasvold, Trent Oliver and Myles Gutenkunst.
The team is coached by Johnson and volunteer assistant coach Chelsea Eckelkamp.