Krute’s ability to ‘erg’ leads to success on crew team


 St. Joseph High School’s Dan Krute, left, has found success as a member of the Falcons’ crew team. The senior is taking on a leadership role after being named team captain. St. Joseph High School’s Dan Krute, left, has found success as a member of the Falcons’ crew team. The senior is taking on a leadership role after being named team captain. Those who belong to a local gym club have likely seen an erg machine, but didn’t know it was called that. It’s the one that resembles a boat, where the seated individual grips a bar attached to a cable and pulls it against resistance, simulating rowing with an oar.

Two years ago, Dan Krute, a student at Metuchen’s St. Joseph High School, was in gym class with classmate Justin Torrisi, and the pair decided to venture over to the school’s weight room, where Torrisi, a member of the crew team, invited Krute to jump onto an erg machine. Just a sophomore, Krute discovered he was a natural at “erging.”

“I knew St. Joe’s had a crew team but never thought much about the sport,” the Franklin Township resident said. “But after Justin and I raced the equivalent of a 500-meter race, I realized I had the stamina to keep up with him. He asked if I was interested in becoming a member of the crew team. I said I’d give it a try, and after a few practices, I realized how much I loved everything about crew — the challenge of racing and the satisfaction that comes with pushing one’s body to beyond its limits and succeeding. That’s when I decided to take up Justin’s offer.”

Of course, Torrisi’s invitation required the blessing of head coach Tom Langowski, a 2003 St. Joe’s graduate. After watching Krute exhibit his ability, Langowski welcomed him to the crew team.

About to enter his senior year, Krute has been in the stroke position (lead seat) in every boat in which he’s raced. He was recently named the Falcons’ captain, and will be in a key leadership role for a team that essentially competes year-round. A look at the schedule on the website devoted to the crew team ( lists a schedule that encompasses all four seasons. Events are not just local. The first official event of the season for current students, the Sprints on the ’Sink, will be held in August on the Navesink River in Red Bank. The team is also scheduled to compete at regattas in Massachusetts in September, Georgia in November and Arizona in March.

Krute explained that while watching a crew team in action — whether it’s a two-, four- or eight-man boat — there’s a perception that rowers are working in concert with fluid motion and all seems calm.

“That may seem like the case, but inside our bodies, we’re battling a storm,” he said. “We’re all struggling to keep from letting up. A rower needs to push through every meter of a 2,000m or 5,000m race as hard as possible.”

Krute is obviously overstating the experience of competitive rowing, but he said he feels like he’s died following a race.

“That’s an exaggeration, but you’ve literally given all your body has to give,” he said. “However, you feel good because you’ve given everything you have.”

Krute said there is an official weight room, where erg timing takes place, and water workouts on the Raritan River in New Brunswick, which is where the crew team practices and hosts home meets.

“In addition to those organized activities, I try to go to erg with other rowers as often as possible,” he said. “I also stay active by biking, swimming, running, jumping rope and playing basketball.”

Krute was born in Atlanta, Ga., and his family moved to Franklin Township when he was 2 years old, so he admits having “no memory” of living in the South.

He attended public grade school, but when it came time to make a decision about where to attend high school, the academically gifted student was drawn to St. Joe’s because of its open campus setting, athletic reputation and the friendliness shown at the yearly Open House. Krute said the combination convinced him to become a Falcon.

Krute has faced — and more than met — the challenge St. Joe’s provides to all its students, academically and athletically, in his three years at the Metuchen parochial school. His current grade-point average is 4.2, and he has successfully managed the often-difficult task of balancing school and sports, he said.

Krute’s acumen for math and science has drawn him to majoring in either chemical engineering or pharmacology in college. Among the schools he has applied to are Cornell University, Columbia University, Duquesne University and Rutgers University. All four colleges maintain crew teams, and Krute said he is certain he wants to continue competing in the sport.

He added that he hopes his final year at St. Joe’s will be memorable, and that much of his success has to do with people like Torrisi and Langowski pushing him to excel and, most of all, teaching him to become passionate about crew.

He also said he’s thankful to be surrounded by teammates, especially Connor Rivera, his partner on the first boat, which was the first from St. Joe’s to qualify for the prestigious Stotesbury Cup Regatta held in Philadelphia in May.

“I’ve learned much about myself and what I can accomplish by rowing,” Krute said. “A tremendous amount of effort goes into preparation, and the truth is, rowing never gets easier. The race just ends sooner.”