Senior’s time to row away

first_imgMatt Donoghue knew he wanted to go to a university where he could be near the water and continue rowing. When he came to the University of Wisconsin four years ago after his senior year at St. Ignatius Prep in Chicago, he knew this was the right place for him.”I love the lake,” Donoghue said. “I love this campus and being on the lake.”Donoghue is in his fourth and final season as a member of the Badger men’s rowing team, and he is hoping to go out with a bang.”We’ve got a strong senior class,” Donoghue said. “When we came in here as freshmen, they had just graduated a strong senior class. So our freshman year the team was really down. But gradually over our four years, we’ve become better and better and are looking to finish strong.”Donoghue along with fellow seniors Andrew Kaufman, Ben Szymanski, Max Vice-Reshel and Scott Wallen were all members of the varsity eight last season. That boat finished fifth at the Eastern Sprints and ninth in the varsity eight at the IRA, which is the national championship of rowing. Overall, the Badgers finished sixth as a team at the IRA.There is no Big Ten conference when it comes to the sport of rowing. The Badgers compete in the EARC, the Eastern Association of Rowing, and the Eastern Sprints is the conference championship regatta.”Andy, Max and Scott were all members of the U-23 national team,” Donoghue said. “So having guys that can compete on an international level like that helps out our team tremendously.”With 12 seniors and 16 juniors all competing for eight spots in the varsity boat, Donoghue feels that this year could be a great year for Wisconsin rowing.”This year it will be much harder to make the top boat,” Donoghue said. “The team as a whole is much better. Everyone is pushing up. For us seniors, we know that this is our last chance to cement our legacy here at Wisconsin.”Donoghue spent much of his summer rowing with fellow teammate Derek Rasmussen. The boats that they raced never finished lower than third at several events, while the two of them won the pairs at nationals and Canadian Henley. With the summer over and the fall almost past, Donoghue and the Badgers have shown that they’ve got a pretty good start on the season. But with winter indoor conditioning yet to come, Donoghue knows everyone will still have to push themselves to have a successful spring season.”That’s the thing about rowing at Wisconsin,” Donoghue said. “We do a lot of indoor conditioning, but the facilities we have are great for the indoor stuff. Rowing has boomed in the Midwest within the last decade, and I would say that Wisconsin is the establishment of rowing in the Midwest.”With rowing a huge sport on both coasts, Donoghue says he is used to the stereotypes of Badger rowing.”The coastal schools are known for rowing, not the UW,” Donoghue said. “When we get the chance to race the teams from the coast we always want to beat them for a lot of reasons; not the least is that there is bit of a ‘state school vs. private’ thing going.Mainly though, we just want to win because that’s why we are in the game.”With the spring season not too far away, Donoghue believes this is the time for the Badgers.”The spring is huge for us,” the senior rower said. “We’ve got some big races before the Easterns and the IRA. This is the last shot for the seniors. If we are going to make a run, this is it. I don’t want to leave anything on the table or have any regrets; we’re all in.”last_img

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