USRowing Announces Three Annual Referee Award Winners

PRINCETON, N.J. – USRowing is pleased to announce the winners of its three Referee Corps-selected annual awards for 2018. The following individuals will be honored for their outstanding contributions to the sport of rowing:

Jack Franklin Award — Don Langford

Joan Zandbergen “Mama Z” Award — Trinath Goteti

Julian Wolf Award — Tom Mannle

The award winners will be honored at the 2018 USRowing Annual Convention held December 6-9 in San Diego, Calif.

For more information about the USRowing Annual Convention, click here. Additionally, for information on the other eight award winners being honored at the 2018 USRowing Annual Convention, click here.

About the Award Winners

Jack Franklin Award — Don Langford

The Jack Franklin Award recognizes an individual for a lifetime of contributions to our sport. The winner of the Franklin Award is selected by the Referee Committee.

Don Langford’s signature American flag tie and blazer is a known sight at almost every world championship and international regatta USRowing attends. In his time with USRowing, Langford has been a referee, chairman, president, and now delegate, marking 30+ years of service to the sport of rowing.

Langford attended Purdue University where he was a coxswain. On the local rowing front, he was the commodore of the Lincoln Park Boat Club from 1999-2002, a former director of the Lincoln Park Junior Rowing Program, and a member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee.

Involved with USRowing since the mid-1980s, Langford has held a variety of titles since becoming a licensed USRowing referee in 1984. He was chair of the referee committee from 1994-1998. He was chief referee of the USRowing National Championship Regatta for three years, and he chiefed numerous other registered regattas as well. Langford was the chief referee for the first five NCAA Women’s Rowing National Championship Regattas. He earned his FISA license in 1989 and was one of the five U.S. FISA umpires on the 1996 Olympic Jury in Atlanta.  Langford worked two Pan American Games, the World Rowing Junior Championships, the Veterans Regatta in Miami, and was a volunteer at the 1994 World Rowing Championships in Indianapolis.

He served on the USRowing Board of Directors from 1998-2013, was chair of the board from 2005-2012, and served as treasurer from 1999-2004. He has served on the board’s finance and audit committee, nominating Committee, and publications committee. He is a trustee of the National Rowing Foundation and currently serves as the USRowing delegate to the FISA Congress and Extraordinary Congress.

Langford has been an active participant on so many levels in rowing. Whether on the local, regional, national or international level, Don Langford has dedicated much of his life to the development and growth of the sport of rowing.

“It’s a great honor,” said Langford. “Being a referee has made a big difference in my life, whether it’s meeting new people or facing new challenges. So, it’s terrific to be recognized for the effort that I put in, but I always feel I get back more in return.”

Joan Zandbergen “Mama Z” Award — Trinath Goteti

The Joan Zandbergen “Mama Z” Award for Sustained Superior Performance is presented to one USRowing official who, over a period of 3-10 years, has stood apart from the rest of his or her peers.

While Trinath Goteti likes to abide by the mantra, “It’s a successful regatta if we are not seen,” the amount of dedication, knowledge and passion that he brings to the sport is palpable to his peers. Goteti has worked local, regional and national regattas and with juniors, masters, and elite-level athletes. He’s knowledgeable about the rules and procedures, and his work is consistently performed to the highest standard.

Goteti began rowing 27 years ago in India at the Madras Boat Club and found himself on a path leading to many opportunities within the sport. Upon moving to the U.S. in the early 2000s, Goteti began rowing and volunteering for the Long Beach Rowing Association. In his work in regatta organization, he was encouraged to become a referee and completed his certification to become an assistant referee in 2009.

Active in the Southwest region and nationally, Goteti has been involved in supporting local regattas, as well as being a part of several national championship, NCAA Championship and IRA Championship juries. He was the deputy chief for the 2017 San Diego Crew Classic and the 2018 USRowing Masters National Championships. He is currently part of the 2017-2020 USRowing National Team Trials Referee Pool. At the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota and 2018 World Masters Regatta, Goteti was part of the National Technical Officials team.

His ability to handle complex situations with ease and maintain a smile on his face is known by his peers. In addition to ensuring safety and fairness, Goteti embodies all of the qualities of a top-notch referee and has a collaborative, decisive, knowledgeable, and humble manner.

“I look at the past winners who I’ve always been inspired by and held in the highest regard — to be in the same group hasn’t hit me yet. I’m blown away and I’m touched and humbled by the whole thing,” said Goteti.

Goteti finds his time as a referee as a way to contribute to a sport that has given him so much. Always a student of the sport, Goteti enjoys the opportunity to meet so many different people and learn from their uniqueness. He finds every new experience as a new opportunity to learn.

“Every single time I go [to a regatta], I always like to learn and observe, and see what I can put in my own skill set,” said Goteti.

Julian Wolf Award — Tom Mannle

This award pays tribute to the one rowing official in the USA that stood apart from the rest in his/her contribution to rowing in the past year. It is based upon one, several, or all of the following: outstanding performance, dedication, heroic acts or outstanding contributions to officiating. The winner is selected by past five Wolf award winners.

Tom Mannle began his involvement in the rowing community as his daughter began rowing in high school. He began as a volunteer for local regattas in the Washington, D.C. area and in club administration, “much to my daughter’s embarrassment.” Mannle became an assistant referee in 1999 and completed his license in 2001.

Since 2001, Mannle has covered a variety of regattas over his nearly 20 years as a USRowing referee. Mannle has held the title of chief referee of the EARC Men’s and Women’s Sprints and has worked the IRA Championship, Dad Vail Regatta, Stotesbury Cup, Scholastic National Championship, and USRowing Club National Championships, among others.

Mannle has been a USRowing national team trials judge, serving as trials coordinator from 2013-2015. He currently serves on the umpire committee for the Head of the Charles. In addition, Mannle has been the chief referee and de facto LOC chair for the Charles River Racing Series.

Mannle closes all of his emails with the phrase, “smooth water.” While the conditions do not always deliver, Mannle goes above and beyond to ensure race day goes smoothly. He coordinates the careful execution of racing for collegiate programs, across seven institutions, on one of the most challenging rowing venues in the country. Each weekend, racing commences from 7 a.m. until noon, on eight-minute centers, with any number of the 17 local programs hosting up to four visiting teams. With a steady hand and a great sense of humor, Mannle skillfully organizes schedules, officials, finish-line staff, video, timing, and results, alleviating the burden on coaches.

“I am humbled by the award and by the fact that it came from the coaches on the Charles. I was touched [by this nomination] as none of us do this for that recognition,” said Mannle.

Not only is Mannle an expert coordinator, he also is a proven leader and mentor to other regatta officials. He has a remarkable understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the officials he mentors, many of whom are referee candidates and newly licensed officials.

Mannle’s dedication to the advancement of rowing stems from a deep admiration for the sport.

“There’s just something about the sport,” Mannle said. “It’s just amazing; it’s full of beauty and grace and strength and courage, and we (as referees) get to watch and help. It’s just profoundly satisfying.”

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