Rowing hopes to make strong start of season in Oklahoma

Sam Marie Jackson

Back on the water for only two weeks, women’s varsity rowing gears up for the first race of the season at Head of the Oklahoma Regatta this weekend. Facing schools including Stanford, Clemson, SMU and haughty rivals Oklahoma, the girls are tranquil as they push off of the dock early Wednesday morning for last-minute boat changes and prep for the weekend’s regatta.

Seniors Chelsea Burns and Laurel McCaig, both sitting in the top boat, understand that this season is more than just adding another Big 12 title. After a marginal win over Oklahoma late last spring, Burns and McCaig are in agreement that the next step with this team is the NCAA Championship. However, this year will be different for both the varsity and the first-year novice squads.

“Come spring, we’ll be meshing these two teams together,” assistant coach Melissa Perrone said.

While the varsity team begins its season this weekend, final cuts to the novice team are still being made. Returning novices Lauren Deschner and Christine Young, together leading the young team as coxswains this season, are looking forward to their already recognized “determined and driven” group of girls.

“It’s an entirely different team,” Young said.

This appears to be a trend in both the varsity and novice squads as the varsity team welcomes a number of new members as well. Both squads seemingly have intensive building to do before they accomplish their season’s expectations. As for the weekend, varsity will race Saturday with four boats representing Texas, anticipating not only good results in its first races but also a combatant attitude to set for the entire season.

The event will begin 11 a.m. Saturday and will continue throughout the day.