California State University, Long Beach

To Row or to Study: Tilley Defines Student-Athlete

Sunday, 12. April 2015

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Photos by Mark Bledsoe

 

By Ariana Gastelum

Publicity Manager

Varsity Rower

Twenty hours of studying per week, plus approximately 2-3 hours of rowing practice everyday, plus a job as a Housing and Residential Life multimedia technician equals one strong-minded individual. Varsity rower Patrick Tilley handles all of these tasks in addition to being the men’s team’s vice president.

This is Tilley’s third year at Long Beach State University (LBSU). He plans to graduate at the end of spring with a Bachelor’s Degree in general biology.

Tilley has been a student-athlete for almost a decade. Before crew, he ran cross-country and track and field for seven years. He ran for his high school team in San Diego and Mesa College.

Though he originally planned to run track and field at LBSU, Tilley decided to try out for the rowing team in the fall of 2012.

“After being an athlete for so long, I feel like I’ll always be doing something competitive,” he said. “I always see myself being able to push myself farther – not only as an athlete, but as a person as well.”

In comparison to cross country and track and field, Tilley liked the competitiveness of both sports, but he was also attracted to the sense of support in rowing.

“The thing with cross country and track and rowing is that cross country and track are individual sports, and so it’s more along the line where you can’t drag your teammates along,” he said. “But with rowing, you still need everyone on the same page, or else you’re not going to win. So, that’s what we had, which was really nice.”

When Tilley first joined the team, there were only 16 other men. In the years after, he worked his way up to treasurer and vice president.

“Obviously a competitive rowing team needs numbers to do really well,” he said. “Myself and [Jacob] Bledsoe and a couple others who joined my novice year, we were all novices together, and we take it upon ourselves to build the team and make it better for everybody. I want everyone to experience what I do. I want that level of competition and that level of success.”

With school, crew and work as a multimedia technician, self-control and time-management skills are essential. According to Tilley, school comes first, then work and then crew. However, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Self-control is also one of the most important aspects of rowing in Tilley’s opinion.

“You need to row well in order to move in the boat,” he explained. “In order to row well, you need to have control in your drive and your recovery. Control is body control, so you need to have good core strength. Sit up, maintain your body strength or else you’ll lose power on your drive.”

Tilley has had several highlights throughout his rowing career, but one that particularly stands out was when he finished fourth in the varsity four at grand finals of the 2014 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Regatta. One final goal for his last regatta would be to finally medal at WIRA.

“I would really love to medal in any boat, really,” he said. “I’ll row whatever boat I get put in. I might complain here and there, but I think at the end of the day, I’ll just be happy with being put in a competitive boat.”

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Men’s varsity four of 2014 with coxswain Kaitlyn Gold (not pictured), Patrick Tilley, Grey Mouser, Jacob Bledsoe and Jake Skoll.

Team President Determined To Take Home Medals

Saturday, 28. February 2015

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Photo by Stefano Balbusso

 

By Ariana Gastelum

Publicity Manager

Varsity Rower

Women’s team president Kelsey Davis has one thought on the upcoming season: It’s time to win.

“Every year, we’ve gone to WIRA (Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association), we’ve gotten a little bit better,” she said. “And this year, I know we have the girls and the motivation to take it, and I want it so [badly]. This is the year.”

It is more than Davis’s competitive nature that motivates her to pull at her utmost ability. Her teammates and coaches also play a large factor.

“Just knowing that I have 25 other people on my team who wake up early in the morning to work out on the ergs together and work to get stronger inspires me,” Davis said.

The women’s team begins practice at 5:30a.m every morning and finished at around 7:30a.m. They have land practice every Tuesday and Thursday, which consists of rowing on the ergs, running and strengthening in core circuits.

Davis also looks up to novice coach Megan Smith, who began rowing at University of California Berkeley and continued training with the US Women’s National Team.

“She didn’t have 10 years of experience,” Davis said. “She joined in college – a novice – just like we did. And knowing that, we could really do some great stuff.”

Davis noted that if she had to summarize her life into one word, it would be “busy”. In addition to being president and team captain, she also works at Coffee Bean and is a full-time student at Long Beach State University, majoring in psychology.

“It’s different than being just a regular college student,” she explained. “It requires more focus, more time management, more organization…I’ve been doing it this way since I was a freshman, and I don’t think I could do college any other way.”

For those who are just starting as a novice on the team, Davis advises them to get through the initial struggles that cause them to ask themselves, why should they stay?

“You get really worn down, and your body gets tired, and you get sick,” she said. “Just hang in there. You could be really good, and you can make a huge impact on the team. You just have to want it…I think people come back if they are successful the year before. If we show that we are a good, competitive team, then people will want to come back. They want to win again. They want to defend their title. And so, I think we need to work hard and take home some medals.”

Photo by Sarah Dresser

Hard Work Never Perishes for Men’s Team President

Friday, 19. September 2014

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Photo by Jill McGill

 

By Ariana Gastelum

Publicity Manager

Varsity Rower

Like several others who attend Long Beach State University (LBSU), Jacob Bledsoe entered his freshman year in 2012 wanting to try something new. Little did he know, he was going to be president of the varsity LBS Rowing Team, a silver medalist at Club Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tenn. and hoping to compete in an international competition in his future.

After a few days of joining the team out on the water, Bledsoe admitted he was already captivated by the sport.

“I think the third day I was there, we lined up to do a little 250-meter race,” he said. “The sun was rising above all the boats in the harbor, and it was really pretty. The water was completely calm. I keep hearing Ian [Simpson], the women’s coach, say that it’s almost magical. That’s kind of how I felt. In that moment, I knew I had to keep doing this.”

Bledsoe played an important role on the team last year as 5-seat in the varsity-eight and 3-seat in the varsity-four. He was also the team’s vice president.

Last summer, Bledsoe joined the Southern California Scullers Club, a high-performance rowing club that emphasizes in small-boats training, run by Simpson and Dan McGill.

“I want to be able to go to another country and compete in an international competition,” he said. “I thought training with SoCal Scullers would be a really good start…I want to keep training with them and competing with them.”

Bledsoe competed at Club Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tenn. with SoCal Scullers last July. In the intermediate quad, he took second place with a time of 6 minutes and 28.86 seconds, only .1 of a second behind first. In the intermediate single, he won the semi-final and ended fifth out of 18 in the finals with a time of 7 minutes and 52.88 seconds.

This is now Bledsoe’s third year attending LBSU as an international business major with a focus in Germany. He works as a marketing intern at Bosch Home Appliances and is the team captain and president of the LBS Rowing.

Bledsoe’s ultimate goal this year is for the varsity team to win a gold medal at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA).

“Any gold medal would do, whether it’s in a four or an eight…even a pair,” he said. “I think for the novices, I want to see the same thing. I want them to think about making the boat go faster.”

1779110_738897942819195_1059778919448552146_nPhoto by Mark Bledsoe