Kate (Sprengel) Case and I, Christopher Case, were members of the team in the early 2000’s. Myself, from 2000-2005 and Kate from 2002-2005. I was interested in crew from my first day setting foot on the Purdue campus as several of my high school friends had picked up rowing at various east coast colleges and universities. After attending the callout and a few practices on the Wabash I was hooked. Kate had been a competitive swimmer throughout her childhood and was interested in a new challenge when she tried out for the team the fall of her sophomore year.
The fall of my novice year was spent in the “C” boat from the Head of the Elk Regatta under the direction of, then novice men’s coach, Jere Jenkins. Those of us lucky enough to be in the “C” boat wore the title like a badge of honor, fueling our competitive spirit and drive to win. “C” boat would be transformed into the MNL8 for the spring season. Some incredible friendships were fostered that first year on the team, ones that endure to this day.
The remaining years I had on the team were spent bouncing back and forth between the MVL8 and the MV8. After a silver medal performance in the MV8 at the Dad Vail Regatta in 2004 I switched to assistant coaching for a year while wrapping up my degree.
Kate spent her novice year rowing for Sandy (Calfo) Mozrall in the WNL4 ending the season with a Gold at SIRAs. This first year on the team included some of her fondest memories and the making of lifelong friendships. She had a two year stint on the Varsity, coached by Jere Jenkins and ultimately Jake Hatch. A two time Dad Vails Gold medalist, she was a member of the 2004 WVL8 and the 2005 WJV8.
Purdue Crew holds many special memories for both myself and Kate, but the best by a long shot is that it brought she and I together. We dated toward the end of our time on the team and married a few years later in the fall of 2007.
After graduation I joined the United States Navy and started down a path toward becoming a Naval Aviator. I had always loved aviation but my passion was to try and fly jet fighters off of aircraft carriers. The same determination and perseverance required in a crew race I now put toward honing my skills in Navy aircraft as I went through the training pipeline. That effort paid off when in 2007 I was designated a Naval Aviator with follow-on training in the FA-18 Super Hornet. Over the past 15 years in my Navy Career we have been lucky enough to see many parts of the country and the world. My first assignment was with a squadron in Virginia Beach where I would deploy on the aircraft carrier USS Truman for a seven month deployment to both Afghanistan and Iraq. After this tour I had the honor of being selected to serve as an Instructor Pilot at the Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as TOPGUN, in Fallon Nevada. That tour was one of the most challenging but also the most rewarding of my career. Since then, we have continued to move around (a total of 9 times over the last 14 years) including an overseas tour in Japan where I deployed multiple times around the Western Pacific onboard the USS Ronald Reagan. Even though it’s been many years since I’ve sat in an eight, I still find a way to jump on an erg from time to time. Though it isn’t quite the same as the basement of Lambert Fieldhouse, there are a few ergs tucked in various corners of the aircraft carrier. It was a new experience knocking out a 10k while staring out at the vastness of the ocean, with 20 foot seas on occasion, as jets launch and recover 50 feet above your head.
After graduating with a degree in Individual and Family Studies Kate worked various jobs in her career field before settling down to work in social work for a company in the Tidewater area of Virginia that specializes in assisting workmen’s compensation clients with finding new employment. She has been lucky enough to maintain this position for the past 11 years working full-time on site whenever we were stationed in Virginia and full-time telephonically whenever we are stationed elsewhere.
These days we find ourselves in Las Vegas Nevada where I am continuing my career as a Naval Aviator, this tour as an exchange pilot with the USAF as an operational test pilot flying the F-22 Raptor. Both Kate and I are blessed with having jobs we love and two wonderful children that keep us on our toes. Our kids (8 and 6) are true blessings and share our love of adventure and travel. A love that was fostered during our time in Japan, with travels around East Asia and the Western Pacific, and one that has continued as we explore many hiking, camping, and outdoor locations here in the Southwest. We are very grateful for the memories we share from our time on the team and the many we have created in the years since.
Christopher Case, BS’ 05
Kate Case, BS’ 06