With the 2015-16 season approaching, West Virginia rowing head coach Jimmy King can look forward to seeing how youth can lead his team to another year of success.
After the losses of 10 seniors - Alison Coates, Lisa Deklau, Elizabeth Duarte, Addie Dulaney, Kaitlyn Eason, Kelly Kramer, Kimberlie May, Bethany Sapen, Melinda Sharon, Melinda Sharon and Rachel Cokeley - King now has to turn to underclassmen, along with only five seniors for leadership and experience.
Rowing is currently a sport for WVU that encourages walk-ons, tryouts and novices. Anyone who wants to try the sport is highly recommended.
King has an interesting roster going into his ninth season, as his rowers range from all different ages and locations. His roster is set to include athletes from 13 different states, and three from New Zealand.
Freshmen Madison Hryanda, Janae Hurst, Carly Ledbetter, Kaitlin Sullivan and Emma Winders (Dunedin, New Zealand) are the freshmen this year trying to help the team any way they can.
No matter how young the team is, they should be fully prepared. The team has to go through great suffering throughout the year with early morning practices and training every day.
Sophomore Anna Cokeley will look to continue her success in the hopes of making an impact on the varsity team after winning Most Valuable Player for the novice team. Cokeley is stepping in for her older sister, Rachel, who just graduated from the varsity team.
Aside from success in the sport, it’s important for all athletes to strive to be the best on and off the court, field or in this case, the water.
Numerous current athletes have been acknowledged with awards on and off the water.
Last season, Alisha Brownfield, Emily Deming, Madison James and Louisa Morgan won CRCA Scholar Athletes.
According to wvusports.com, in order to be eligible for the award, student-athletes must be in their second, third or fourth year of eligibility, rowed in at least 75 percent of their team’s spring races or a regional conference event and must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better for their careers.
The West Virginia University women’s rowing team is coming off the spring season after the Mountaineers competed in five regattas and finished in fifth place at the Big 12 Championship in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
During the spring season, the team traveled throughout the country to gain experience and faced some serious opposition. WVU traveled to face Duquesne along with Indiana to scrimmage the Hoosiers, who are currently ranked No. 14 overall in the country.
The team opens its fall season with the Head of Ohio at 8 p.m. Saturday in Pittsburgh.