The SOU Rowing Team, which burst onto the national scene as a rookie program two years ago, captured the gold medal in the women’s pair category a week ago at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships near Sacramento.
SOU’s two-person crew of Kenna Tyler and Molly Beilstein won the 2,000-meter race by two boat-lengths against much more established programs including the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-Santa Barbara, which placed second.
“This truly is an amazing accomplishment for SOU students,” Environmental Science and Policy Professor John Gutrich, who is faculty advisor to the rowing club, wrote in an email announcing the win. “SOU received much praise and coverage during the announcing of the race.”
Nine West Coast collegiate programs entered the women’s pair competition and six boats qualified for the grand final race on Sunday, April 28. The SOU team was seeded first after winning a preliminary heat the previous day, and faced crews from UCSB; the University of Central Oklahoma, which finished third; UC-Berkeley; Humboldt State University; and Chapman University.
The regatta was held at Lake Natoma, on the American River near Rancho Cordova, northwest of Sacramento.
The SOU Rowing Team also entered crews in the men’s pair category and the women’s 4+ category – which has four rowers plus a coxswain, who guides them.
The team is a sport club at SOU – a student-led organization overseen by the Campus Recreation Department. The university’s sport clubs can be competitive, recreational or instructional but most represent SOU in intercollegiate competition. The rowing team trains at Emigrant Lake.
SOU’s rowing team was formed two years ago and surprised many at the 2017 American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships in Georgia by finishing second overall out of 22 entries in the novice women’s 4+ category.