NEW YORK – Nine newcomers will join the Columbia lightweight rowing roster for the upcoming 2011-12 season, head coach Scott Alwin announced.  The group, which consists of eight first-years and one sophomore transfer, will come to Morningside Heights from as far away as Norway and South Korea and as close as Long Island and Connecticut.

"It's a good group," Alwin said. "It's going to be fun to watch [freshman coach] Ed [Golding] work with these guys for the first year and I am looking forward to them eventually joining the varsity team."

The incoming group will join a Columbia squad that had its varsity eight reach the Grand Final of the National Championships.  At the same time, the freshman eight posted a 9-1 record and earned a silver medal at the 2011 Eastern Sprints.

"The Class of 2015 looks to be at least as strong, if not stronger, than our previous recruiting classes," Golding said.  "There is alot of already developed top-end speed along with some great potential. With this group of young men combining with the talent already at Columbia, it will be a fun time to be a Lion!"

"They're from all over the country and the world. They've got a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience," Alwin added.  "The class doesn't have one specific dimension except that they're capable and motivated. There are a good variety of backgrounds, experiences and personalities so that's going to be good to work with."

The incoming class of 2015 follows:

Fredrik Aasaaren – Fr. – 5-11 – Oslo, Norway – Berg
Has one of the top erg scores in the 2000 meter test in the incoming class ... competed with the Norwegian national team at the Norwegian and World Championships ... former teammate of Columbia sophomore Anders Smedsrud.

Matt Bellesheim – Fr. – 5-10 – Floral Park, N.Y. – Chaminade
Comes from a long line of Chaminade oarsmen ... rowed with the Chaminade varsity eight as a junior and a senior ... one of the stronger members of the incoming class in the 2000 meter erg test.

Ben Blair – Fr. – 5-9 – Madison, Wis. – Madison West
Stroked the lightweight youth eight that finished 13th at the 2011 Youth National Championships... junior lightweight men’s winner of 2011 Midwinter Meltdown Ergometer Race.

Lane Brokaw – So. – 5-10 – Darien, Conn. – Darien
Transferred to Columbia from Trinity College (Conn.) ... rowed in Trinity’s first freshmen boat in 2011, which finished 2nd at the New England Rowing Championships ... also placed fourth at the National Invitational Collegiate Regatta.

Palmer Foote – Fr. – 6-1 – Old Greenwich, Conn. – Greenwich
Placed sixth in the Youth 2- at 2010 Youth National Championships ... seventh place in the Youth 2x at Youth National Championships ... worked in a summer camp for diabetic children ... also plays in a band.

Ryan Koo – Fr. – 5-11 – Seoul, South Korea – St. Paul's School
Moved to the United States from South Korea ... competed at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta with his St. Paul's crew ... was named captain as a senior ... also played soccer in high school.

Logan Pirkl – Fr. – 5-8 – Portland, Oregon – Woodrow Wilson
Coxswain led his crew to a seventh-place finish at the Head of the Charles in the Youth eight ... his boat was fifth at Youth Nationals in the varsity eight in 2010.

Travis Simon – Fr. – 6-2 – Islip, N.Y. – St. John the Baptist
Sculler from the East End Rowing club ... finished second at the Holland Beker Regatta this summer ... also finished second at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in the spring.

Griffin Whitlock – Fr. – 5-11 – Tiburon, Calif. – Redwood
Rowed with the Marin lightweight eight that went undefeated and was second in the country at the 2010 USRowing Youth National Championships ... won the youth eight and set a course record at the 2010 Head of the Charles ... was a competitive cyclist before he began rowing.