The sport of crew has a long and prosperous history in the northeast, particularly with private school and university teams. Fessenden, one of the few schools in our age group to offer the sport, has had a competitive team for only the past 7 years. But in that time it is exciting to see the Fessenden alums competing and connecting now at both regional and national rowing events. One such connection is happening this summer where Jimmy Patton (Fessy ‘17 and Deerfield ‘20) has spent the last month training and rowing as part of the US Jr. National High Performance Team under the guidance of fellow Fessenden alumni and Junior National Team Coach Cory Sanderson (Fessy ‘03, St. Paul’s ‘06, Bates ‘10). Cory is the son of Fessenden Athletic Director Pete Sanderson and Admissions and Placement Coordinator Sue Sanderson.
Jimmy, as a selected member of the HP Team and rising junior at Deerfield Academy, has been in residence training for the past 4 weeks in Ashland Oregon under the tutelage of Cory and other coaches in preparation for a final week of competition at the US Club Nationals in Camden NJ. It appears that the partnership and hard work has paid off as Jimmy won two gold medals as the stroke of both the U17 men’s 8+ and the U17 Men’s 4+. It should come as no surprise that Jimmy has excelled in this sport given his family history. His father Ted Patton had a stellar rowing career at Brown and was a bronze medal winner in the 1988 Olympics and gold medal winner at the 1987 World Championships. He is also member of the US Rowing Hall of Fame. Charlie Patton (Fessy ‘13, Groton ‘16, Brown ‘20) is currently rowing for Brown after beginning his career here at Fessenden and continuing on at Groton. Jimmy’s youngest brother John ‘20, who is a rising 8th grader, was a member of Fessenden’s Varsity Crew team this past spring and will be returning for another campaign under veteran Fessy coaches Kyle Beatty, Becca Palm, and Jim Ames.
Continuing the Fessenden connections this weekend as Jimmy stroked his two boats to victory at the Club Nationals…..competing against him in one event was former Fessy teammate Jake Elkins ‘17 representing CRI. Jimmy and Jake will further this connection as they plan to team up and train together on the Charles in the next few weeks to compete at the Canadian Henley regatta in August as a pair.
Cory Sanderson is the Executive Director of the Nashville Rowing Club in Nashville TN., is in his 4th summer as a coach with the Jr. National Team. Interestingly, Cory did not start rowing until he attended St. Paul’s as a 10th grader as Fessenden did not have a crew team during his time as a student here. He quickly took to the sport and continued in college as a four year rower and two year captain of the Bates College team…..earning all ECAC Team Honors his senior year and captaining Bates first boat ever to compete at the renowned Henley Royal Regatta in England in 2010.
We are excited to see our former student athletes excelling in the sport of rowing and we look forward to following their progress in the years to come.