HOCR Spotlight: Sudduth Memorial 4x

Although current NEIRA regulations prohibit Exeter from entering boats into the Head of the Charles, this year one boat competed in the regatta that represented a particularly notable Exonian.

Andrew Hancock Sudduth ’79 learned to row his upper year at Exeter. Olympic sculler Sharon Vaissiere taught Sudduth, Trevor Laughlin ’79, and Kate Lowry (Bryant) ’80 to scull in the fall of 1977. Sudduth and Laughlin raced in the Men’s Youth Doubles event, while Lowry raced in the Women’s Youth Singles. After rowing through his senior year at Exeter, Sudduth enrolled at Harvard and rowed in the Crimson’s heavyweight eights under the guidance of Harry Parker. At the same time, Sudduth represented the United States on an international level, competing in a number of Olympic Games and World Championships.

In 1981, only two years after graduating from Exeter, Sudduth won a silver medal in the Men’s 8+ at the Under 23 World Championships and another silver medal a few months later in the Men’s 4+ in the Rowing World Championships. He would follow up and win a bronze in the same event in 1982. In 1983, his Harvard boat came back over the University of Washington to win the (now defunct) National Collegiate Rowing Championship. That summer, Sudduth finished seventh in the Men’s 4+ in the World Championships. The next summer at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Sudduth rowed in the stroke seat of the Men’s 8+ which won a silver medal, finishing 0.42 seconds behind first-place Canada. By 1985, Sudduth, now in his senior year at Harvard, led his eight to another NCRC Championship and a Henley Royal Regatta Grand Challenge Cup win. At the World Championships, he won a silver in the Men’s Single Sculls in 1985 and a bronze in the Men’s 8+ in 1986.

After an illustrious career in rowing and later in electrical engineering, Sudduth died of pancreatic cancer in July 2006.

After his death, Kate Bryant thought of a way to honor her friend.

When my son was born at 12 lbs, Andy and I were laughing that finally, someone would break his erg records and row for Mr. Parker. Last June, George pushed away from the dock at Newell, in his first sweep boat, and I was unable to share the moment with my friend. I decided to transform the power of my loss into a positive gain for someone else, like Andy did for me; to mobilize the sad helplessness I was feeling into an active, tangible event to lend confidence to promising young rowers like we were.

Bryant made an entry in the Mixed Director’s Challenge Quad event, a special charity event held just before the Championship Eights on Sunday. Sudduth’s friends, Kate Bryant, Sharon Vaissiere, and Trevor Laughlin came from across the country to race in the “Sudduth Memorial Quad” in the regatta in which Sudduth won the Championship Singles every year from 1984 to 1988.

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