The FHC Crew Club began in 1995 with seven novice rowers and was coached by Don LeBlanc. It was a humble beginning. The team practiced at the Grand Rapids Rowing Club Boathouse in Comstock Park. They traveled to regattas in the LeBlanc family van - with four oars strapped to the roof – and used any boat they could borrow at regattas. That year, the boys took their first trip to the 50th annual CSSRA Regatta, Hebda Cup, Wy-Hi Regatta, and Midwest Scholastic Championships.
In 1996, women’s rowing was added. The team expanded to 16 men and 26 women rowers. That same year, Forest Hills Central was host for the first Grand Rapids High School Invitational. The stage was set for continued growth and expansion. Both the men’s and women’s team rosters grew quickly during this era.
During the late 1990s, FHC Rowing purchased their first boats from the George Washington University crew team, the coaching staff expanded and the team participating in regattas across the state. In 2000, FHC’s women’s team won the Hebda Cup, the unofficial state championships. This was the first time a team outside southeast Michigan won the cup.
100-Athlete Milestone and New Boathouse
With the team breaking the 100-athlete mark for the first time in 2001, the need for a dedicated rowing facility was recognized. In 2001, the Forest Hills School Board approved site work and construction bids for a boathouse to be built at 8400 Grand River Drive in Ada. The boat house opened in 2002, complete with a 100’ dock built by parents.
Continued Growth and Focus
For the past 20 years, the program has continued to grow and prosper. Through hard work and an ongoing commitment to excellence, the Forest Hills Rowing Team has earned a reputation as one of the top high school rowing programs in the state. Our list of accomplishments is long and many of our rowers have gone on to compete at the collegiate level.
Under the guidance of Coach Peter Ross, who is entering his ninth year of program involvement and fourth year as head coach, the Forest Hills Rowing Team currently averages 80-100 rowers per season. Representing the largest athletic program at Forest Hills Central High School, the co-ed team is open to all (ours is a no-cut team).
There are few better ways to learn the value of teamwork than being on a crew team. If you are interested in learning more about our team, or speaking with Coach Ross, please contact us.