Oregon club men’s rowing looks to make statement at Pac-12 Regatta
The Oregon men’s rowing team will participate in the Pac-12 Regatta for the first time on May 13-15 in Sacramento, California. The race will be held at Lake Natoma, and it will feature a mix of both Division I and club programs.
Previously the race was between the four Division I programs in the conference — California, Stanford, Washington and Oregon State — but this season it is expanded to club programs as well, including Washington State and Colorado.
“The goal [of the Pac-12’s] to become more inclusive for all men’s club teams,” said Head Coach Marlene Kindorf.
Oregon will attempt to carry over momentum from an already successful season. Success started early for the program, with the program doubling in size. Last season, the club had 35 members. This season, they sent 55 members to the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships (WICA’s).
At the WICA’s, Oregon had three boats in both women’s and men’s grand final each, with the women’s novice four winning gold while beating Division I teams.
“It has been a year of building on prior success,” said Novice Men’s Coach Delaney Butler. “We’re putting out more competitive boats, but we are also facing tougher competition.”
The tougher competition is what the program is excited for. Oregon rowing has been a prominent club program since its first season in 1967, and the current club believes in their foundation and potential.
“We may be a club, but it is a Division 1 attitude,” said Butler.
The Pac-12 regatta this weekend is the opportunity that Oregon wants to establish itself as a premier club program. The regatta will have two titles at stake; one is the overall title, but another separate title will go to the top club finisher. It is a race within a race, and since the Oregon men have already defeated the other club programs not attending the Pac-12 regatta, this is the de facto Pac-12 club championships.
The men’s team is all in for the club title, but taking down Division I programs is a secondary goal.
“Not an easy thing to do, but our goal this year is to make a statement,” said Varsity Men’s Coach Bob Maclean. “It would make everyone who is aware of rowing at Oregon take notice, and we are trying to raise our profile within the school to attract more athletes.”
The Ducks are working to upset established programs like Stanford and Oregon State. Both programs are consistently ranked in the top-20, while Washington and Cal hold top-5 rankings.
“The Pac-12 is one of, if not the top rowing conference,” said Kindorf. “It is a true powerhouse of rowing.”
In both men’s and women’s, those around the program believe it to be a sleeping giant, and the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championships later this May is another proving ground for the program.
“We have a chance to be one of the best clubs in the nation,” said Delaney. “The best club teams can beat the best Division I teams.”
Follow Jack Butler on Twitter @Butler917
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