FDR CREW Braving the Hudson for over 60 years!

The 1950s

Note that years are the YEARBOOK year which is generally the year AFTER the crew season (crew being a spring sport, the pictures didn't make it into that year's yearbook but appeared the following year).  This changed later on, but we've tried to be consistent throughout. 


Jack Gray, Jay Eitzen, Jim Vogt, Dick Knoth, Bill Swenson, Gene Terry, Frank Guglielmo, Dick Hersh (kneeling)

 Coach Decker

Frank Guglielmo, Gene Terry, Jim Gilbert, Bill Swenson, Dick Knoth, Jim Vogt, Harry Towner, Herm Heller, Dick Hersh

George Hacken, Jerry Molinari, Jay Eitzen, Don Adams, Konrad Raab, Jack Gray, Chris Karides, Steve Ward, Dick Czech

Third Varsity
Doug Bradt, Ed Holden, Jeff Fulmer, Jim Grey, Tom Dean, Vin Arata, Stan Volnick, Tack Silvernale, Ernie Miscione,

Manager Jim Quinn

The sweep of oars began a victorious and memorable season in Crew for R.H.S. in the spring of '58.  Through rugged discipline and perseverance under the able direction of Coach Edson Decker, there was molded into shape an outstanding rowing team.

In the seven scheduled regattas of the '58 season, the various R.H.S. crews completed twenty-one races, seventeen of which were victories.  The Varsity boat lost only one race all season;  the 3rd and 4th boats were undefeated.

The highlight of the season was the National Schoolboy Regatta held at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 26.  Roosevelt High School trailed the winning crew of Washington and Lee High School by only 1.2 seconds with La Salle High School just .6 of a second ahead of Roosevelt.  In this contest R.H.S. placed a strong third.

Among local competition the crew was victorious in conquering Poughkeepsie and Arlington High Schools in the Mid-Hudson Triangular Regatta.  This sweep was the first time any of the schools had won all of these championship races.

Who needs a trailer for the shell?  Just use the bus!


 First Boat
Ricky Trani, Mike Ward, Gene Terry, Frank Guglielmo, Tom Jones
Second Boat
John Gray, Jay Eitzen, Jim Gilbert, Kenneth Devens ,Richard Wayne

Third Boat
Jim Vogt, Harry Towner, Bill Swenson, Conrad Raab, Tom Jones

Don Adams, George Caccoma

 Coach Decker

The R.H.S. crew saw limited action in the spring of '57 because of a disastrous fire which destroyed all equipment.

However, they did manage to complete some races.  In the opening race of the season, the Roosevelt junior varsity and varsity boats registered victories.  They next encountered Gunnery, one of the best crews in New England, and were beaten in all three starts.  The same occurred at Salisbury.

In the Invitational Meet, the junior varsity and varsity crews combined to form an eight which beat Belleville in what Coach Decker considers the best race of the season.

At the National Meet in Washington, D.C. all the local entries were eliminated in preliminary heats.  However, R.H.S. was probably the best of the locals, for the three crews which beat Roosevelt finished first, second, and third in the finals.  

The '58 season was a rebuilding year, as far as materials were concerned.  With the loss of only five seniors, three of whom were on the varsity, Coach Decker had material for at least two strong boats, and with freshmen again eligible, he had the opportunity to develop good team strength with freshmen and sophomores. 


George Caccoma, Gordon Adams, Jack Arnt, John Pretak, Lou Frost
Frank Guglielmo, Donald Heim, Michael Ward, Jack Gray, Frank Becker,
3rd Varsity
Larry Kardas, Robert Bradshaw, Kenneth Devans, Rick Trani, Andrew Dahl
Crew, in the spring of 1956, reached a new high for sports at R.H.S.  It was the first team from Roosevelt ever to win a National Championship in any form of sport.  The varsity boat of George Caccoma, John Pretak, Jack Arnt, Gordon Adams and coxswain Lou Frost outraced eight other schools that came from as far south as Virginia, as far west as Detroit, and as far north as Canada.

The season as a whole was successful and under the expert coaching and training of Edson Decker, a former Navy oarsman, R.H.S. had its best year since Crew began in 1950.  The season consisted of six races, all rowed on the Hudson River except one, which was raced in Salisbury, Connecticut.  The big local race of the year, the Triangular, between R.H.S., Arlington, and Poughkeepsie was won by R.H.S. with two first and two seconds.


Lawrence Kardas, William Terry, John Arnt, Robert Bradshaw, John Pittman

Junior Varsity
George Caccoma, John Pretak, Tony Dalbo, Thomas McCormack, Wayne Wilhelm

John Litaway, Donald Heim, William Becker, Frederick Trani, Frank Becker, Louis Frost
Crew, which was originated at Roosevelt in 1950, has grown greatly in popularity.  The two big races were the Invitational Meet, in which five crews competed, and the Triangular Races, in which our crews raced those of Arlington and Poughkeepsie.  In these races R.H.S. placed second, as our crews took second place in each of the four races:  Varsity, Junior Varsity, Lightweight, and Gig.  

Our crew journeyed to Philadelphia in 1955 to compete in the National Schoolboy Rowing competition where they failed to qualify due to a bad start.  However, they won the Consolation race.

Mr. Farnum's first year as coach was a good one indeed.  Next year the crew has high hopes, for nearly all of this year's crew will be retained.


Larry Pittman, Thor Mattson, Bob Terpening, Tony Pittman, Larry Kardas, Frank Gross
Coach Clauss in center
  J.V. Crew:  Larry Kardas, Bill Terry, Bob Bradshaw, Jack Arnt
1954 Crew

After a rather dismal start, the 1954 sweep-swingers came along fast, and ended the season with a fine record.

The first races of the season with Arlington were disappointing.  The Maroons took three out of four, with the RHS gig saving us from a white-wash.  With the addition of Bob Terpening and Thor Mattson shortly after, however, things looked up.  These strong veterans teamed with Tony Pittman, Axel Thyrum, and Larry Pittman to form a smooth working varsity.

The second and third races were sweeps against Poughkeepsie, St. John's Academy and Arlington respectively.  The crew then journeyed to Worcester, Massachusetts, for the Schoolboy National Competition, where they placed a strong sixth.  The most scintillating victory came in the fifth race, the annual Invitation Meet.  Roosevelt swept the river, soundly whipping Arlington, Belleville and Nutley.  The climax to a fine season came when RHS won the "big one", the Triangular, in which the green and gold stroked against Poughkeepsie and Arlington.  We captured the Light Weight and Junior Varsity races, and the Varsity oarsmen lost a heartbreaker to Poughkeepsie, but finished a close second to pick up valuable points and insure the victory.  Seven points in the three events won the Grant Soper Memorial Trophy for the second time in five years and for the fastest time.  The Allen M. Rogers Memorial Trophy was added to the fine record.

This was one of the most profitable seasons for the crew in many years.  Coach Clauss did a fine job in moulding a smooth working combine into the king of the crews, and the best on the river.


First Row:  Lawrence Kardas, Richard Wager, Larry Pittman, Jon Alley, James Young, John Litaway, Frank Gross
Second Row:  Robert Bradshaw, Thomas McCormack, Robert Terpening, Axel Thyrum, William Terry, Anthony Pittman, Mr. Clauss


First Row:  Frank Gross, William Breed, Robert Terpening, John Velie, Clifford Pitcher, Ronald Richter, James Daley, Vaughan Lewis.
Second Row:  Bruce Erts, John Brown, Boris Sarda, Stephen Crapser, Robert Terwillegar, John Voris, George Beckman, Edwin Beck, Per Thyrum, Axel Thyrum, John Becker, Thor Mattson, Joseph Bogard, Anthony Pittman

1952 brought the third year of schoolboy rowing at R.H.S.  Our crews participated in five meets, with the Roosevelt oarsmen capturing three races.

The big victory of the season was in the Mid-Hudson Valley invitational regatta.  The R.H.S. Varsity scored a victory over the crews from Poughkeepsie and Belleville, a New Jersey crew who went on to win the National Championship in Washington, D.C.  Another high spot in the invitational regatta was the introduction by Roosevelt of the eight-man crew in high school rowing.  This was another step in the ever-growing popularity of the sport.

Other victories were turned in by R.H.S. second varsity crewmen in the invitational meet over Nutley, Belleville, and Arlington in a dual meet where again our second varsity triumphed over Poughkeepsie.

This year crew fans and members are looking forward to a more fruitful season with many lettermen returning, to pull R.H.S. to victory. 

ALSO:  In May of 2015 we got a note from Bruce Erts (pictured above) as follows:

My name is Bruce Erts - Class of 1953 - I was on the original Roosevelt H.S. Crew in 1950 and was Varsity Coxwain on the 1952 & 1953 Crews- After reading the recent novel "The Boys in the Boat" about the 1936 University of Washington, winners of the 1936 IRC Regatta as well as the 1936 Olympics in Berlin I became curious. In 1936 Washington had moved into the former Cornell Boathouse #2; was this my crew's boathouse. Indeed it was. Attached is a photo of our crew in 1953, carrying our shell from #2. This was confirmed by my second photo of the boathouses in 1939 which also identifies our boathouse as the same as Washington's. Indeed, 1949 Washington had moved out after the IRC and Roosevelt had moved in, a link in history.


First Row:  Bruce Erts, John Brown, Donald Lozier, Donald Pierce, James Strom, William Breed, Anthony Pittman
Second Row:  Edward Decker, Stephen Crapser, Monfred Kaehler, Per Thyrum, Ivan Sarda, Boris Sarda, Mr. Clauss


 The 1951 crew, under the supervision of Mr. Clauss, had a very successful season.  The Varsity and Light Weight Crews were undefeated.  In the match race against Arlington, the Varsity and Light Weight Crews won.  Against Arlington, Nutley, Poughkeepsie, and Bellville, in the Invitational Race, the Light Weights took first.  The Junior Varsity, in the same race, beat Poughkeepsie but lost to Nutley.  The Varsity took their event by beating Nutley.  In the race against Poughkeepsie, the R.H.S. crew made a clean sweep, and in the triangular race against Poughkeepsie and Arlington, the Varsity and Light Weight Crews won and the Junior Varsity took second by defeating Poughkeepsie.  For this race the crew won six out of seven trophies.

Crew is a relatively new sport at R.H.S. and has survived its second year with a record that indicates the sport is here to stay at Roosevelt.  Although the crew met many opstacles which might have ruined team spirit, they remained together and became the hardest working crew on the river.


Varsity Crew
Kneeling:  John Richard
Standing:  Ivan Sarda, Donald Pierce, James Strom, Howard Paul

Light Varsity Crew
Kneeling:  Robert Gross
Standing:  Edward Decker, Donald Lozier, Stephen Crapser, Per Thyrum

Freshman Crew
Kneeling:  John Manfreda, John Becker
Standing:  Robert Terwillegar, John Brown, Boris Sarda

1950 was the first year that rowing was held as a sport at R.H.S.  We were one of the three pioneers of the Hudson Valley to inaugurate rowing as a high school sport.  R.H.S. experiences in the field were highly satisfactory, the Light Varsity crew capturing the Jayncee Trophy for Light Varsity.  Two regattas climaxed the year's training program.  The first was a triangular meet between R.H.S., Arlington, and Poughkeepsie in which our Light Varsity placed first, the J.V. third.  In a thrilling finish with Poughkeepsie, our Varsity placed second.  The second was the Mid-Hudson Valley invitational regatta.  The three aforementioned schools raced against two New Jersey schools, Bellville and Nutley.  In a very exciting race, our Varsity proved themselves by beating Arlington and placing second by only four seconds to a highly publicized and much more experienced Bellville crew.  The boys took to this sport eagerly, for it is one which creates a very great amount of team spirit during the weeks and weeks of intensive training which are necessary before participation in any contest.

This is William R. Clauss, the founding coach for FDR Crew (or R. H. S. as it was known then).  Teaching Art, he was also one of the original faculty at R.H.S. in 1941.