The 1992 Boys’ Midweight Varsity Crew
In 1987, after a fifty-six year hiatus, Peddie restarted its rowing program in earnest. Just five years later the school celebrated its first national championship rowing team.
The 1992 boys’ midweight crew, comprised of Cory Lancaster ’93 (stroke), Brad Hoffer ’92 (3-seat), Jason Murray ’92 (2-seat), Dave Boynton ’92 (bow seat) and coxswain Tim Baker ’93, made a sweep of its major races, winning the Kearny Invitational, the New Jersey Scholastic Rowing Championship, the Philadelphia City Championship, and the prestigious Stotesbury Cup. Their crowning achievement was winning the 58th Annual National Prep School Rowing Championship on the Occoquan Reservoir in Virginia in a time of 5:32.3, more than a boat length ahead of Northeast Catholic Academy of Philadelphia (5:39.7).
1992 Boys’ Midweight Varsity Crew with their trophies

(left to right) Top row: Boynton, Lancaster, Hoffer, Murray. Bottom row: Baker.

The boys had the first sense of their potential speed the previous fall when they finished third over the three-mile courses of both the Head of the Connecticut and the prestigious Head of the Charles regattas. The fall season ended in November with a 1500-meter sprint race, the Frostbite Regatta, in which the boys placed second.

During the winter, the team headed to Princeton on Sundays to improve their technique in the university’s indoor rowing tanks. Leading into spring, nine boys and three coxswains endured twice-daily practices in snow and arctic conditions. The torturous workouts paid dividends as the boys collected every medal and trophy in their weight class throughout the spring.

“We were not your prototypical athletes,” said Murray. “We were a scrappy bunch that prided ourselves on hard work, dedication and the belief our discipline would pay off.” Coach Tim Giordano described the crew as a “unique collection of individuals who really clicked as a team,” skateboarder and surfer types who were “like ballet on water.”

Dedication was a requirement during the first few years of the program. Every day, the team loaded heavy wooden boats and oars onto a trailer at Peddie and drove to Mercer Lake for practice. Then, Finn Caspersen ’59, board chair and former rower himself, donated a storage trailer, coaching launch, and three coxed fours to be kept at Mercer Lake for the boys’ and girls’ teams to share. True to rowing tradition, Peddie named one of the shells the “Finn M.W. Caspersen ’59,” in honor of Caspersen. It was in this shell that the boys had their historic success.

With grit and determination, the 1992 boys’ midweight crew set the bar high for future generations by winning Peddie’s first national championship in rowing.

1992 Boys’ Midweight Varsity Crew on the water