The U of O rowing club is developing a winning culture. Photo: Sarah De Marinis/Provided
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Novice teams dominant in St.Catharines

The University of Ottawa rowing club had a strong showing at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships. The women’s novice eight-plus (eight rowers and a coxswain) came second in Ontario while the men’s novice four-plus (four rowers and a coxswain) came first in Ontario.

The women’s novice eight-plus team was composed of Karolyn McGovern, Ines Auclair Manglair, Josie Chan, Mackenzie Lawson, Tyler Caldwell, Vienna Scholten, Carolina Maass, Rhiannon Crichton, and coxswain Jamie Hurlbut. They all won silver medals. 

“It was amazing, I honestly never even imagined it could happen!” said Rhiannon Crichton in a message to the Fulcrum. “Obviously I hoped that it would, but finishing the final in second place was the most incredible, rewarding feeling.”

The men’s novice four-plus team was made up of Luther Edson, Morgan McManus, Tom Wunderlich, Ben Hicks, and coxswain Rebecca Therrien. They all took home gold medals. 

The novice category is unique to rowing, as it allows athletes who are new to the sport to compete in a category of their own. The results of the novice races are very encouraging for the Gee-Gees’ program since they show the progress young rowers have made in less than three months after started training.

Karolyn McGovern, a rower on the silver medal-winning women’s novice eight-plus team, touched on the significance of their silver medal win for the rowing program in a message to the Fulcrum.

“It really meant a lot! From getting last at our first race and building our way up to the top,” said McGovern. “We really pushed ourselves because getting up at 4:30 a.m. isn’t always fun but in the end, every early morning was worth it!”

For the novice rowers staying in shape, this winter will be vital as they will battle it out for spots on the varsity team for next year.

“Honestly, I think it’s a great program, rowing isn’t a sport you need to start at five years old and that gives so many ex-athletes the chance to try a new hardcore sport,” said McGovern. “Novice crew is a really nice way to get into it. After novice, I’d say over half of our team will work hard during winter training and summer rowing in order to make next fall’s varsity team.”

As for the varsity team results, the men’s two-plus came fifth, women’s four-plus came seventh, men’s four-plus came sixth, women’s eight-plus came fifth and the men’s lightweight two-plus came fifth.