BY ADAM HAGER
The University of Mary Washington men’s and women’s rowing teams successfully competed against a handful of Division I programs on Sunday, April 6 at the Occoquan Sprints, and they are now looking to build on their success.
Senior Bob Ericson, in his fourth year as a rower on the men’s team, said the competition was an improvement from last year for both teams.
“Our girls varsity eight boat was able to win their petite finals against Virginia Tech, Loyola University and James Madison University,” said Ericson after the regatta.
The men’s team also fared well.
“Our men’s varsity four boat placed third in the final race, and our men’s novice four placed second in their final race,” said Ericson.
The UMW rowing teams compete in both the fall and spring seasons. The fall season, according to Ericson, is geared more toward longer head races, usually around six kilometers in length.
The current spring season, however, focuses more on short, high intensity races, about 2 kilometers. Unlike most UMW sports, the rowing teams do not compete in the Capital Athletic Conference. Instead, they compete in the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference, which is geared toward Division III rowing programs.
While the men’s and women’s teams compete in the same events, they function separately as their own teams.
The women’s team is nearly twice the size of the men’s, and they practice in the mornings while the men’s team practices in the evenings. Ericson acknowledged that both teams are close, but that he hopes they can continue to come together as one entity.
On the men’s side of things, Ericson very much enjoys being a part of the team.
“I enjoy the camaraderie that develops when a determined group of guys work hard every day on and off the water in order to be the best that they can be at this sport,” Ericson said. “Rowing develops a strong bond of friendship that has kept me going no matter how hard life gets.”
Ericson indicated that while both teams are sponsored by the school and have a head coach, Richard Wilson, the teams are in the process of becoming clubs at the university. Upon doing so, they will be run entirely by students.
“[Coach Wilson] has been working hard to help this team be as successful as possible in the future when we transfer over to club and become entirely student run. He has done everything he can to set us up for success in our future seasons,” said Ericson.
The future looks bright for the Eagles as they continue their spring season and look to make a strong showing at the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championship in York, Pa. on April 26.
“If we continue working hard at practice in the coming weeks, then I believe we will have a good shot at winning in our conference this semester,” said Ericson.