The accolades keep rolling in for Fordham University rowers.
First, the women’s team captured a bronze medal in the lightweight four at the IRA Regatta on June 6. Next, two rowers on the men’s lightweight eight boat were named All-Americans, capping off a stellar season.
Junior Ryan Kirlin received a 2008 All-American First Team designation from the American College Rowing Association (ACRA). Senior Andrew Leonardi was named to the 2008 ACRA All-American Second Team.
The rowers were nominated by Fordham rowing coach Ted Bonnano, who noted that ACRA includes roughly 100 teams with 20 to 100 members on each roster.
“They only pick 27 All-Americans out of about 1,000, so it’s a pretty significant achievement,” he said.
He wasn’t shocked, though, considering the team’s lightweight eight boat started the 2008 season unranked but won each of its competitions, including the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia on May 9 and 10. That led to an invitation to the IRA Regatta, collegiate rowing’s de facto national championship, where the boat placed fourth in its heat.
“Ryan is just phenomenally good; he’s probably one of the top lightweight rowers in the country,” Bonnano said.
Although this was Leonardi’s last year on the team, Kirlin will return in the fall, as will a third rower who Bonnano nominated to be an All-American. The coach said he expected Kirlin to be the center of another strong, focused and motivated team next season.
“We always have a good mix; these guys came in with four years of solid high school experience,” he said. “Rowing is a sport where skill is important, but it takes both power and endurance. It’s not like cross country, where it’s all endurance, or football, where it’s all strength. Some of these guys can run six-minute miles.”