6:30 a.m.

Today’s practice was optional. And no one could’ve blamed these guys if they had opted to sleep in. Not only is it a dreary, rainy morning—the perfect conditions for hitting snooze—but on Saturday, they won the Kerr Cup Regatta in Philadelphia. Lafayette’s men’s crew team out-raced 17 schools for first place.

And yet, here they are. Chris Gallo ’18, Stu Badertsher ’20, Ryan Coulson ’18, and Spencer Reynolds ’19 set their alarms for 5:30 a.m. so they would be at Kirby Sports Center when the doors opened at 6 a.m.

Coach Rick Kelliher is here as is coxswain Katie Siebert ’21. They position ergometers (indoor rowing machines) and turn on high-octane music to wake up the oarsmen and keep them on pace for their 60-minute workout.

This is just a warm-up for Gallo, Badertsher, Coulson, and Reynolds, who are hoping the weather cooperates so they can be out on the Lehigh River for afternoon practice, which runs from 4 to 6 p.m.

“No one likes getting up this early, but when you want to be competitive and successful at a certain level, you do what you have to do,” Coulson says. “We are really happy with how we did this weekend, and so that gives us a lot of confidence.”

The men’s team has a role model close to home: Lafayette’s women’s crew team won the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championships in 2017.

And with disciplined and motivated athletes, like the four here this morning, Kelliher is hopeful for more successes in the future.

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