One year to the next, there has been nothing but improvement for Fordham Rowing. 2018 saw a fourth-place finish in the Atlantic 10 Championship. A third-place performance would follow in 2019, as the Rams made steps toward winning the conference once again. The 2020 spring season lies just a few months away, and there is nothing but excitement for the team that has continually shown it can compete with the best.
That third-place squad has seen some losses in the likes of last year’s seniors Erin Parker and Caroline Roncinske, two of those named to the all-conference team, but a third member of that group remains, junior Aleksa Bjornson. As a significant contributor to that successful performance and the first varsity boat that medaled for the first time in thirteen years, Bjornson describes last season as “an extremely special moment … we truly came together to achieve something larger than ourselves.” The past two years have proven quite a lot to these Rams, and Bjornson comes into the spring season motivated with sights set on another top performance in the A-10 Championship.
Four meets in the fall season were an excellent way for Fordham to put that goal into motion. One of the primary concerns of the past season was consistency, as the Rams seemed to find their groove as the year went along, but struggled in the early going. The fall aimed to change this reality, putting talented competition in front of the crew and providing a first-look at the A-10 opponents of the future. As expected, there were results on both ends of the scale, but most importantly, rowers of all levels witnessed valuable growth. Especially so for the incoming freshmen: with multiple top finishes, they performed at a high-level in the warm-up to the season.
Returning rowers such as Bjornson valued the opportunity to get on the water early and scout the competition. However, improvement is critical. Bjornson says the fall “helped us assess the areas in need of improvement in order to be competitive with our rivals.” If that improvement remains a central focus moving forward, Bjornson knows “great things are going to happen.”
From here, the crucial word becomes consistency. If one were to critique the past year, it was partially stifled by imbalance, with struggles in the early portion of the season. The Rams would soon find their stride, especially against conference opponents. Still, they want to exit the gates at 100% this season. With the performances in the fall and confidence of the team, that looks to be exactly the case.
Each race has brought improvement for the rowers, while each year has produced a better conference finish than the last. For the Rams, they believe that both trends will continue and that 2020 will be even better than before, culminating in a finish at the top of the A-10.
The Rams will embark on their spring campaign at the San Diego Crew Classic beginning April 2. A scrimmage with La Salle will follow, along with the Cooper River Race Series from Pennsauken, New Jersey and the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Cooper River will play host once again for the A-10 Championship on May 16.