With a strong base of young talent, standout upperclassmen and a new head coach, the Georgetown heavyweight men’s rowing team has high hopes for the 2014-2015 campaign.

During the offseason, first-year Head Coach Luke Agnini replaced retired Tony Johnson, who served the Georgetown crew program for 28 years. Before coming to the Hilltop, Agnini served as the associate men’s rowing coach at the University of California for six years, in addition to numerous stints coaching U.S. national teams. Agnini has thus far been impressed with the quality of the program as well as the dedication of the student-athletes.

“There’s a lot of good, young raw talent and some really motivated guys with the right tools needed to compete,” Agnini said.

Although the men’s team is considered to be fairly young, Agnini does not view the upcoming campaign as a developmental year. This year’s squad will feature a prominent sophomore presence, which Agnini describes as the bulk of the team’s talent.

“We do have a younger team, but I think it’s a year where we’ll have a good result, which will keep getting better for the next couple of years,” Agnini said.

One surefire reason for this optimism is standout junior Graham Miller. Miller had a busy summer competing for a spot on the Under-23 Men’s National Team, where he came just short of being selected for the last roster spot. Miller hopes to be one of the leaders and performers in the Hoyas’ upcoming season.

“Graham is the strongest kid on the team by far and probably the most talented,” Agnini said. “He’s national-team caliber right now, and he would easily be the top guy on any team in the country.”

Both Agnini and Miller mentioned the renewed sense of intensity and purpose immediately apparent on this year’s squad. According to Miller, competing at the national level has brought a new focus and perspective to his teammates.

“I’ve definitely noticed a different attitude. The approach last year was a little more lax, and this year since day one it’s been intense and very serious,” Miller said. “The commitment is off the charts compared to previous years, where I’ve noticed the commitment being something that would increase as the season progressed toward the spring. But this year, it’s been much more immediate.”

The Head of the Charles Regatta on Oct. 18 is a schedule highlight for the Hoyas because it will be one of the first litmus tests for the team as they compete with several of the top programs in the country. Agnini summed up the goals for this year’s team: to make the finals of the Eastern Sprints Regatta and to get back into the top-10 national rankings.

“We want to establish those goals as the baseline for our success every year,” Agnini said.

The Georgetown women’s openweight rowing team hopes the momentum from their steady improvement over the last three years will carry into this season.

This will be Head Coach Miranda Paris’ first year working with an entire roster that she recruited and developed.

“Every year, the team has been better than the last, so it’s been really fun to see the team grow and develop,” Paris said. “They’ve come back fitter and more ready to go than we’ve seen in the past four years. It’s very early, but we’re all really excited.”

The Hoyas have come a long way from their one-race win in 2010, finishing fith in the Patriot League. The building blocks for another successful campaign are still in place for the 2014-2015 squad.

This year’s squad needs to improve on preparedness for championship meets, according to Paris.

“We didn’t have as good of a championship race [last season], but I think those are different skills. Learning how to win a regular-season race is very different from learning how to win at the championship, so that’s one of our big focuses for this year,” Paris said.

Paris noted that it is extremely tricky to pick out standout individuals from a unit as a whole.

“If you have one or two really amazing people, it doesn’t really matter since you need nine to be really great together. For our NCAAs, we need 23 people to be operating at a very high level if we want a chance,” Paris said. “I’m expecting the juniors and the seniors to really step up in terms of leadership, but the overall success will come from everyone.”

Although the season begins Sunday, the focus is on long-term preparation for the major meets in the spring.

“The fall is basically just to prepare for the spring, and I think our girls are just really focused on qualifying for NCAAs and [Intercollegiate Rowing Association] performance,” Paris said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will begin their seasons in the District at the Head of the Potomac meet over the weekend, with the men racing Friday and the women racing Sunday.

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