Friends, and Family,
We are Drew Hickey and Danny Stoddard, two rowers out of Mercer Junior Rowing Club in West Windsor, New Jersey. We recently won our event at the USRowing U19 World Championship Trials, earning us the privilege of representing the United States at this year's World Rowing Junior Championships in Trakai, Lithuania on August 2-6. We've been training hard since our victory to perform well at this year's championships, but the trip to Lithuania is quite expenisve and our boat will receive no funding from USRowing. We must rely on the generosity of friends and family to make our dream of competing at the World Championships a reality. On this page, you can learn more about the two of us and our coach. Please consider helping our cause. All donations of any amount would be appreciated.
Stroke Seat: Danny Stoddard
I started out rowing for Mercer the summer before my 8th grade year. After participating in a few novice camps I decided to come back and challenge myself in the fall. One year of novice rowing and another on the lower varsity team boats later, I finally broke through my sophomore year and started having a greater impact on the team. With that new year came a new coach but something felt different. This was the year that me and Drew narrowly missed making the varsity eight that was racing at Canadian Henley. Instead of throwing us aside our coach Justin Ochal spared us and gave us a pair which we affectionately named the "pity pair". After a few races we found out that we actually really liked the boat and we enjoyed competing in the pair. In a few years we steadily grew more comfortable rowing together in the pair and decided to enter World Championship Trials this past June. Even though we enjoyed the pair in the beginning we never thought that it would lead us to this point. What once was our "Pity Pair" will now be representing the United States at the World Championships. We are humbled by this opportunity and thanful for the blessings that have been given to us throughout our careers at Mercer.
Bow Seat: Drew Hickey
By the time I was old enough to join the Mercer Junior Rowing Club, members of my family had already been involved with the team for several years. Two of my cousins and my older sister came through Mercer just like me, and all four of us either have or will continue our rowing careers in college. The sport and the values that come are that important to us. The sport has taught us perserverance, courage, leadership, fraternity, patience, and so many other valuable traits that could only be aquired from the ultimate team sport.
The unique thing about the Mercer Juniors is the overarching feeling of community. There are two main requirements needed to be part of this team: 1. a drive to come to practice and do your best everyday and, 2. a desire to be part of something bigger than yourself and push yourself to your limits for the overall benefit of the team. If you can do those things, you'll be welcomed here with open arms. It doesn't matter where you've come from or what you've done in the past. We're family here: a family that picks each other up when we're down; a family the holds feelings of respect and admiration among its members; a family that comes together each and every practice knowing that every member is essential to the overall success of the crew. I've been blessed to be part of that family.
Now my best friend and I have an opportunity to put these lessons to practice at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships. Please consider helping us as we prepare to travel to Trakai.
Coach: Justin Ochal
Coach Justin Ochal has been involved in rowing for his entire adult life. He started rowing at Roman Catholic High School before rowing for four years at Northeastern University, serving as Captain of the team his senior season. He competed at the World Rowing Junior Championships himself in 2005, racing in the 2x. He has been the Head Coach of Mercer Varsity Boys Rowing since the fall of 2014.
- Danny and Drew
If you prefer to donate by check - please make your check payable to The National Rowing Foundation with the name of your crew (i.e. 2017 LW4x) included on the memo line should be sent to the NRF’s lockbox:
The National Rowing Foundation, Inc
PO Box 4110
Woburn, MA 01888-4110
Your donation will go to the National Rowing Foundation and directly support these athletes. Your donation is considered tax deductible and you will receive an email receipt with important tax document necessary for any available federal income tax deduction. Thank you again!
After a successful World Championship Regatta, we would like to thank all of our supporters and friends. Please join us for brunch on Sunday, August 13th from 10 am to noon. RSVP to Hickeyfamily200@comcast.net. (Address will be provided after RSVP)