After finishing the fall season with an impressive sweep of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne, some members of the West Virginia University novice rowing team are looking to take it the next level and make it to the varsity team.

Elizabeth Young and Amy Hoaglund are among members of the novice team who have made an impact to take their talents to the next level.

Before their success at WVU, Young and Hoaglund had to go through the unique experience of choosing rowing and make the tough decision and transition into becoming a Mountaineer.

Many members on the team have rowed for years before joining the Mountaineer team. For Young and Hoaglund, that is not the case. The pair actually had no experience before coming to WVU.

"When they mailed out the brochures in July, they emphasized that no experience was necessary," Young said. "I had always been involved in high school athletics and I did not want it to end there, so why not?"

Why not, right? It’s not like rowing is the most tiring and hardest sport to pick up on the fly.

"It’s a very hard sport to execute. I’ve learned technical sport, and everyone from the eighth seat to the one seat needs to be in unison. It’s the most team-orientated sport where if one person messes up, the whole team is ultimately messed up," Young said.

Young has always been a spontaneous person who likes to try and succeed in any sport, simply because she can. She holds various skills in athletics, such as track and field since the sixth grade, also participating in cross-country and swimming in high school.

With the help of the team, both girls have made the transition to college athlete with no past experience.

For Hoaglund, it was purely for the love of athletics. She was a past varsity letter winner in swimming, a soccer player and even completed the Pittsburgh half marathon. So when WVU gave her the chance to continue to compete in a fitness sport, she did not let it go to waste.

"When the rowing team gave me the opportunity, I jumped at it, and it has been amazing," Hoaglund said.

Just like Young, Hoaglund found out it wasn’t hard to pick up rowing for the first time.

"The hardest part is the technique on the water. People do not realize that rowers use every part of the body. It’s all about how mentally tough you are," Hoagland said.

The highlight of the season for both girls was the Head of the Occoquan when Young and Hoaglund teamed up along with two other girls in the 4+ boat to help capture a gold medal in their first ever colligate race.

That memory will forever be cherished for these two women, who just last year never thought being on WVU’s rowing team would be an option.

With the season coming to an end, the team is now looking forward to the spring season. For Young and Hoaglund, it’s just about progressing and learning the sport of rowing more throughout the next three


"Come senior year, I hope this novice team can progress into a strong, competitive team who can win when it matters," Young said.

The performances all season long by both women along with the rest of the novice team show potential for years to come.

The WVU rowing team may have found a key to its future success.