The Southern Oregon University Women’s Rowing team shocked coaches and the community alike as this first year program placed second in the Women’s Novice 4+ division at the the American Collegiate Rowing National Championships at Atlanta Georgia, Sunday May 28. Now they set the eyes on their next season starting in October.
“Going into it I was pretty scared because some of these teams we were racing against, they’re division one schools so they’re a pretty good size,” said Erika Detrick, who was apart of Women’s Novice 4+ team.
“We hoped that we could be in the upper half. We didn’t necessarily expect to medal by any means,” said SOU rowing coach Rick Brown, who currently coaches the United States junior national team and has coached at various colleges across the U.S.. In the Women’s Novice 4+ the SOU women placed second in their preliminary race with a time 8:42.287. The team was beat by Pennsylvania State University with a time of 8:37.681. “After racing against some of them and knowing that we can actually compete was really cool,” said Detrick.
When the last boat passed the finish line for the Women’s Novice 4+ race, the SOU women placed second and beat College of William & Mary, Pennsylvania State University, Marquette University, University of Florida, University of Texas, and University of Vermont. The team had a time of 8:14.246 and were beat by University of New Hampshire with a time of 8:07.142. “Those bigger schools they’re kind of the pick of the litter and we just have those people who are really dedicated to it,” Detrick.
The Women’s Novice 8+ also fared well in Georgia. They placed fourth in their preliminary race with a time of 8:40.846. They followed their win to place first in B final with a time of 8:15.599.
Brown, who was unable to fly to Georgia with the team watched the race from his laptop. When he saw the Women’s Novice 4+ win he was filled with joy. “The fact that they were able to win by such a small margin to see that all click. To have them show that toughness was pretty awesome to see that come out,” said Brown.
“Our coaches were watching from the computer and our families, and other schools they had everybody. It was a luxury for them,” said Sarita Croyn-lloyd, another member of the Women’s Novice 4+ crew. The team had limited funding to fly to Georgia. They sent twelve rowers, two coxswains responsible for steering the boat and giving commands to the rowers, assistant coach Nathan Ostovar, and coach John Gutrich, a former rower and rowing coach at Purdue University and Ohio State University.
The club had a small amount of funding set aside for the trip. However, that funding wasn’t enough to support fourteen people and two coaches to Georgia. The team fundraised throughout the year and received support from friends and family to be able to travel. Students were responsible for paying for their own plane ticket.
As for hotel expenses the team stayed with the parent of a woman Brown coached prior to his coaching at SOU.
The club is looking for an increase in funding for next year. They plan on competing in two seasons next school year, one in October and one in the Spring. “We want what’s best for the team. Many teams are successful in different ways. The men and women on the team have proven that it has a lot to offer the university and the students of the university,” said Brown.