In a boat christened in the name of a dedicated Warhawk Crew volunteer earlier that day, the Madison High School men’s first eight commandeered the “Glenn K. Burger” to a come-from-behind first place victory over Washington-Lee Saturday at the Smokey Jacobs Regatta.
The men’s first eight win, in a time of 4:36:2, was just one of five first place finishes for Madison boats at the regatta. All Madison boats placed.
The team named its new boat for Glenn K. Burger, a long-term volunteer who has been with the team since his daughter Jessica joined squad in during its second season.
Madison's Crew team is now in its 10th season.
“It really amazes me where the team is now,” Burger said from the water's edge on the Occoquan, who noted it was now a nationally competitive team with 72 athletes. “Madison has one of the top crews in the Washington, D.C. metro area. I am so honored to have a boat named after me. I know what it takes to put a team on the water, I know how my daughter benefited. I just wanted to play it forward” to help out other kids.
In many races Saturday, Washington-Lee proved to be Madison’s toughest competitor: In another tight finish, the men’s second eight poured on the power in the final stretch to race past the Generals in 4:43:8. The men’s third eight also earned their first victory of the season over the school, edging ahead with a time of 5:06:9.
In the women’s junior eight, the Madison girls finished a clear first several seconds ahead of Lake Braddock (5:29:4). The women’s novice four, in their first race as a four, powered to a strong second place finish behind Washington-Lee. The Madison Women’s First and Second Eight, racing together in the same flight, finished No. 1and 2 respectively, the women’s second eight racing an “exhibition status."
Many parents share Burger's experience becoming part of the crew family, he said: While he said he remembers watching many a race along boathouse row during his childhood in Philadelphia, Burger never imagined he would one day be a crew parent.
But his daughter Jessica joined the team in just its second year of existence, going on to row with the University of Texas on a full athletic scholarship.
And Burger has never left, or looked back. Currently, he serves as the critically “Erg Master” managing Ergometers. “Ergs,” in rowing jargon, are stationary rowing machines critically important to training.
"It is not every day that you have a parent volunteer who is as hardworking and committed as Glenn has been over the past 10 years," Coach Paul Allbright said. " He is a walking example of the selfless dedication required to run an organization like James Madison Crew. Naming a boat after Glenn is not only a token of appreciation. It is a daily reminder to every kid that rows and everyone who sees it to be more like the shell's namesake."
Treeby Brown contributed reporting for this story.