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From Walk-on to Cambridge
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 04/16/2014

STANFORD, Calif. – April 6 was the culmination of five years of hard work that led Jason Lupatkin from being a Stanford walk-on with no rowing experience to competing for Cambridge in The BNY Mellon Boat Race against Oxford.

Lupatkin sat four seat with the goldie boat at the BNY Mellon Boat Race. Even though Cambridge lost to Oxford, the experience was one Lupatkin will never forget and one made possible by the opportunities he took advantage of while at Stanford.

Although he played baseball and basketball at Hunter College High School in New York City, Lupatkin was not a recruited athlete. His academic prowess is what led him to Stanford. His parents are both doctors and instilled in him a drive to succeed. When he got to The Farm as a freshman he decided to join the rowing team.

“I remember walking into the Ford Center as a freshman for the first time, totally new to the sport, and hearing coach Craig Amerkhanian and assistant coach Pete Giese tell the success stories of previous guys such as Silas Stafford, Jake Cornelius and another walk-on David Banks who went on to be a two-time Olympian,” said Lupatkin.

Hearing those stories put a spark in Lupatkin to work hard and try to add his name to the list of Stanford rowers who made the most of their Stanford careers.

During that first year, Lupatkin worked his way into the freshmen boat that made the Grand Final of the IRA National Championships, finishing sixth. He was also a member of the bronze medal frosh eight at the Pac-12 Championships.

As a junior he was placed in the varsity eight as one of the top eight rowers in the program. After making the top boat during his junior year, Amerkhanian awarded Lupatkin with a scholarship for his senior season.

Jason Lupatkin at Stanford

His senior season was a special one as the varsity eight defeated rival Cal at the Big Row for just the second time in 20 years and won silver at the Pac-12 Championships. Lupatkin was honored at the end of the year by the Stanford Athletic Baord with the Jake Gimbel Award for being the most competitive male athlete at Stanford.

While competing for the Stanford men’s rowing team he was majoring in history. He earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors each of his last three seasons.

“Jason’s career at Stanford followed the mission of our university,” said Amerkhanian. “He grew exponentially through his years and each year he grew stronger intellectually and athletically. He developed a confidence to train at a high level and make the most of his Stanford experience. What he did was incredibly inspiring for me and my team.”

Lupatkin graduated in 2013 and used his academic achievements to get into Cambridge, where he has also continued his rowing career. The past year he has been pursuing a master’s in philosophy in history. He is exploring the American gun culture in San Francisco and North California during the second half of the 19th century.

“I chose to attend Cambridge because of the unique opportunity it provided me with an opportunity to write an academic dissertation, to row for the prestigious Cambridge University Boat Club and be a part of the BNY Mellon Boat Race.”

Jason Lupatkin at Cambridge

Lupatkin’s leadership was recognized early on at Cambridge when he was selected as the vice president of the rowing club. He won gold in the IM1 4- event at the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours race and then continued Stanford’s tradition in the BNY Mellon Boat Race, becoming the sixth Cardinal to row in the race and fourth to do so with Cambridge.

“My time at Cambridge, in an environment in which millions follow the lead up to the Boat Race and watch on television, was an incredible capstone to my rowing career,” said Lupatkin. “Coach Amerkhanian's program continually provided those who worked effectively and diligently at the sport with the opportunity to grow as an athlete and a person, which led me to where I am today.”

The other Stanford rowers who rowed at Cambridge were James Pew in 1986, Jake Cornelius in 2007 and Silas Stafford in 2009. Jamie Schroeder (2006) and Kevin Baum (2012) each rowed for Oxford.

“I am incredibly thankful and feel very fortunate to be an alum of the Stanford men's rowing program and to have continued the Block-S legacy at Cambridge,” said Lupatkin.


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