RAY SWANSON | Keystoner Wilmington grad Erika Fairies leads Brown rowing team
Rowing, in this part of the country, is not one of your run-of-the-mill sports.
But it's very popular in the northeast.
Erika Fairies, a Pulaski resident and Wilmington Area High graduate, took to the sport like a duck to water.
Faires, a sophomore at Brown University, was the coxswain for the varsity eight boat of the women's crew that captured the 2002 Women's National Rowing Championship.
The event was staged June 2 at Eagle Creek Reservoir, Indianapolis.
A coxswain is an integral part of the rowing crew. Erika's duties include steering the racing shell and calling out the rowing rhythm for the crew.
Rowing relies heavily on stamina, strength and timing.
Brown placed first in the varsity four grand finals, but finished second in both the varsity and second varsity eight grand finals.
The Bears scored 67 overall points.
The University of Washington, the defending national champion, scored 63.
Browns' varsity lineup included three seniors -- Lucy Leuders-Booth, Rosie Branson-Gill and Jessica Lanning, the three tri-captains -- rowing in the two through four seats.
The remainder of the varsity line had sophomore Annie Carter in bow, Frances Betancourt, Eleanor Dodson and Sarah Broadhead in the five, six and seven seats, sophomore Karen Bratzer at stroke and Faires, coxswain.
It was Browns' third NCAA team title in the last four years. The Bears entered the competition undefeated, having won over Princeton, Michigan State, Harvard, Rutgers, Boston University, Cornell, Columbia, and Yale during the regular season.
Brown won the Eastern Association Women's Rowing Championship on May 12 against all of the previously named schools, with the exception of MSU, plus Dartmouth, Georgetown, Northeastern, George Washington, MIT, Penn, Syracuse, Navy, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Is there anyone better qualified to be Hickory's new athletic director than Barb Dzuricsko?
The 43-year-old Hickory High School boys and girls track and field head coach, who doubles as executive secretary of the Mercer County Athletic Conference, was named to the position late last month.
She replaces long-time Hickory athletic director Mike Bavola, who resigned earlier last month. Barb's husband is Bill Dzuricsko, former Hickory High head basketball coach.
Both Barb and her husband are Hickory High graduates. Barb is a 1977 Hickory High grad.
She also graduated summa cum laude from Slippery Rock State College in 1981.
Her Hickory High track and field teams have been outstanding through the years as she remains very close to the sports scene, both on the county and high school levels.
She previously taught in the Hermitage Schools system on the elementary level.
New Mercer coach
Gary Krenzer, an assistant under former Mercer High School football coach Tom Phillips, will lead the Mustangs into battle this season.
Phillips, who coached the Mustangs for the past two seasons, resigned from the position.
Krenzer, who at one time coached under head Grove City College coach Cliff Smith, was defensive coordinator under Phillips.
He earlier was an assistant at Pine Valley Central High School in New York.
He played his college football at Grove City.
At Mercer High School, Krenzer is a three-year chemistry teacher.
Karel Jelinek, who coached the Thiel Tomcat basketball team for the past three seasons, has decided to call it quits.
Jelinek coached teams at Thiel posted a record of 38-39. His first season the Tomcats rolled to a 16-10 record, winning the PAC crown. The Tomcats finished second in the PAC the past two seasons.