California State University, Long Beach

Women’s head coach ends chapter at the Beach

Sunday, 3. February 2019

Women’s head coach ends chapter at the Beach

Cristina Felix left her position as head coach at Long Beach State on Feb. 1.

The Long Beach State women’s crew huddles around Cristina Felix on her last day as head coach. (02/01)

The Pete Archer Rowing Center was filled with teary eyes and group hugs Friday as the Long Beach State Women’s Rowing Crew said farewell to head coach Cristina Felix. After over a decade of contributions to the Long Beach rowing community, Felix will be leaving to pursue a career in pediatric trauma nursing at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“It’s bittersweet,” said women’s team President Megan DeVore. “It’s sad to see her go, but I’m also really really excited to see her take a step towards her career goals.”

Felix began her journey with the Long Beach rowing community in 2007 when she rowed for the Long Beach Junior Crew. In her two and a half years rowing with LBJC, Felix won three USRowing Youth National Championships in an 8+, 2x and 4x.

After graduating high school in 2008, Felix continued her rowing career in other parts of the country: rowing for the University of Michigan, competing for the United States Under 23 national team and coaching for Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Felix returned to Long Beach, California in 2017 to volunteer for the Long Beach State Women’s Rowing Crew. The following year, sherose as assistant coach and then head coach.

According to DeVore, women’s team assistant coach Emily Siersen will be serving as interim women’s head coach until the team finds a replacement.

“There’s a good team chemistry right now, and we don’t want to mess that up by bringing the wrong person on,” DeVore said. “We want to find someone that matches the values and needs of the team and that takes time to figure out.”

In addition, the women’s team will receive assistance and support from the men’s team coaches as well as Felix who has agreed to provide continuous support for the team remotely. According to DeVore, Felix will be sending workout plans and feedback from Pennsylvania.

“I’d like to see the team continue to grow in the same sense that it maintains its focus on developing better people,” Felix said.

Felix’s last day as head coach was Friday. 

“I think one of the biggest things I’ll miss is the camaraderie of it all and just being able to get up and start your day with people who are like-minded and dedicated,” Felix said. “It’s the kind of group of people I hope to be able to surround myself with in the future.”

Seasons Greetings from the BCA Board of Directors

Saturday, 23. December 2017

Dear Beach Crew Alumni and Friends of Long Beach State Rowing:

As we approach this time of year, we want to give thanks to our community of support, both on and off the water. 2017 brought us continued support of obtaining additional long-term assets, such as the Amy Fuller Vespoli 8+, and several sets of oars. Back in March, we finally celebrated the dedication of the Joan Lind Van Blom Memorial Bridge, the portion of California State Highway 1 which crosses Alamitos Bay’s Cerritos Channel. From what started as a simple phone call to me, through the process of support of our public dignitaries, and to those who financially-backed the effort, the legacy of Long Beach State’s finest athletes remain strong.

CSULB continues to be an attractive option for incoming students. The campus had 103,605 student applications for fall 2017, the highest in university history. Freshman applications totalled 63,035, one of the highest among CSUs, and transfer applications totalled 31,144, 2 percent higher than last year, and one of the highest in the nation.*

As I write this, I can’t help to say that I’m somewhat sentimental of the past decade of service to this team and the Foundation’s efforts. In case you did not hear, I announced my departure from the board back in October, effective June 30, 2018, the end of the academic year, to pursue other areas of the sport. I have to admit that I’ve been blessed to work with such wonderful people all over the country, some who aren’t even part of the sport. This was something completely unexpected during my tenure at The Beach. I have to admit that while focused on my studies, I learned so much more outside the classroom than I did on campus. It’s probably why former CSULB President, Dr. Robert C. Maxon, quoted, “If the only thing you do in college is go to class, then you have not had the full college experience.” Meeting so many people over the team’s past 60 years, all the way back to our co-founder, has been nothing short of inspiration. This sport relies so much on community, no matter how big or small your institution may be. Having seen so many other collegiate teams across the country, I can say that the BCA is in good hands and that Beach Crew is fortunate to have this community. I can remember all of the challenges of its infancy and the difficulty of reuniting 50 years of athletes at the time. We may not have always agreed on how to make things work, let alone becoming acquainted to the needs of today’s athletes, and wanting to see things in different light. But that is what’s so intriguing to the matter. We all have a story, we found a way, and I am grateful for what we have.

I want everyone to know that while I am around and about the country at events, I will always have a spot in my heart for Long Beach State and this decade-long effort we spent. We will always cross paths.

On February 24, 2018, Beach Crew is slated to celebrate it’s 60th year celebration. I hope to see many of you there.

Before I sign off for the rest of the year, I’d like to remind everyone that if you have not updated your membership for this academic year, please consider that there is still time for a tax deductible donation to the association. Your support is making a huge difference in maintaining a quality rowing team at LBSU. You can still send your $25 membership fee and any other contribution via http://beachcrew.org/give/

On the behalf of the BCA Board of Directors, all of us wish you the best this time of season and into 2018. I look forward to the last six months we have together. See you in the spring.

 

GO BEACH!

Brandin Grams ’10
Director of Outreach


* Facts from CSULB 2017 Convocation Address http://web.csulb.edu/newsroom/convocation-set-for-aug-25

A Decade of Service: a message from the Director of Outreach

Saturday, 7. October 2017

Dear Friends, Families, and Alumni,

It has been almost ten years since the Beach Crew Alumni Association’s (BCA) formation took place in October 2008. About 80 people were in attendance. I was going into my last year as a competitor during this time and was selected to be the men’s team captain. In what looked to be a confusing evening of disaster, a few select people were pulled together to form what was the BCA Advisory Committee, the group that formed the association in writing a year later. Go forward eight years later and it became its own non-profit corporation as the team begins to celebrate their 60th season.

I was a spring transfer athlete from Orange Coast College. Since my first visit to the Pete Archer Boathouse in November 2007, I have seen more light shed on Beach Crew from what was a very dark period when I first arrived. While a fundraising organization, the BCA also serves as an adviser to this team’s leadership. Together we have accomplished many feats, including the acquisition of shells such as the Joan Lind Van Blom, John Cashman, and the Amy Fuller. In my own led efforts, the $50,000 launch fleet replacement project, with thanks to many select alumns, friends, and families, was the most challenging project I had done in my life to date. This project had a long-term impact for the team’s image and set the standard of program quality for the next decade. This still doesn’t top the several days I spent in university archives scavenging through old publications, simply to find names of our past, and to have come across a name from 1955, that no one ever heard of. Some questioned this validity and that I was wasting my time digging through rubbish. But it turned out to be true, and what an honor it was to see Dr. Ludwig Spolyar, our co-founder, at the KillaGrams 8+ dedication on November 10, 2012. It is such a surprise seeing him when he seeks me out at the annual WIRA Championships.

Over the last three years, I have turned much of my focus in the sport over to USRowing, first obtaining my referee license and then escalating through the plenary examination as a chief regatta official. On top of this, a rather unexpected but gratifying effort in broadcast media of this sport has been on the rise, almost more than I am able to keep up with. I am blessed to have many friends who have followed. With both of these efforts I have had the opportunity to travel around the country, and soon, maybe the globe, seeing different venues and meeting such great people in this sport, some who don’t even row. The potential problem is that I am wearing too many hats.

After much deliberation, I have made the decision to focus on these other activities in the sport. The 2017/18 academic year will be my last as your Director of Outreach, ending June 30, 2018. I am committed to serving you, so far as I am able, through the end of the academic year and transition such work. After such time has passed, by no means is this a good-bye or sudden disappearance, but rather a change of commitment as a member of the BCA.

I look forward to serving you in the last several months we have together including the annual regatta and the 60th celebration. Perhaps someday down the road after a successful career I will return to serve such a noble cause.

 

Brandin J. Grams ’10
Director of Outreach, Beach Crew Alumni Association