June 9, 2008
Complete Release from the Pac-10 in PDF Format
STANFORD, Calif. - Six members of the Stanford rowing teams earned Pac-10 accolades today, as Commissioner Tom Hansen announced the Coach, Athlete, and Newcomer of the Year awards, along with the All-Conference teams, for both the men's and women's sides.
Senior Jessi Reel was named the 2008 Women's Athlete of the Year along with earning a spot on the All-Conference team. Reel, a member of the varsity eight crew for three seasons, guided Stanford to two consecutive second place finishes at the 2007 and 2008 Pac-10 Championships. After finishing 10th at last year's NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, the Cardinal surprised the rowing community with a silver medal performance in the 2008 edition of the varsity eight grand final. Reel is a leader in the classroom, as well, qualifying as a Pac-10 Women's Rowing All-Academic First Team member each of the last two seasons.
"Jessi is a phenomenal athlete and very deserving of this honor," commented Head Coach Yasmin Farooq. "She really developed as a team leader when senior Kerry Birk was lost for the year with an injury. From the stroke seat Jessi was fearless, and helped this team get to the next level. Pound for pound I think she's one of the best college rowers in this country, and the fact that she learned to row and walked on to the team at Stanford makes this achievement that much more amazing."
Also on the women's side, Farooq was named the 2008 Co-Coach of the Year, sharing the honor with California's Dave O'Neill. In only her second season as head coach of the Stanford Women's Rowing program, Coach Farooq guided the Cardinal to an astonishing second place finish in the varsity eight grand finals at the Women's NCAA Rowing Championships. The runner-up feat was achieved after the same crew nabbed silver for the second consecutive year in the Pac-10 Championship race. Meanwhile, the second varsity boat added a second podium finish for the Cardinal, as that crew raced to a third place finish at the Conference championships.
"It's a tremendous honor to receive this award, but the credit really goes to the student athletes in this program," said Faroooq. "Every able-bodied person on this team rowed in a varsity lineup at one point or another this year. The end of the season achievements only happened because they truly believed in their potential and one another, and for that I will always be grateful."
Along with Reel, Stanford placed two more members of the women's varsity eight boat on the All-Conference team, as senior port Steph Morrison and senior coxswain Jen Brown were both honored.
On the men's side, senior Silas Stafford and junior Alex Osborne were designated members of the All-Conference team. Stafford and Osborne were essential in the Cardinal lineup, helping the men's varsity eight recapture the Schwabacher Cup against rival California for the first time since 1991, a sweep at the Pac-10 Challenge, a third place finish at the Pac-10 Championships, and a fifth place finish at the IRA Regatta.