Rowing Recognized

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Rowing Recognized

Francis Boeck, Managing/Sports Editor

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That nursery rhyme about gently rowing your boat down the stream was wrong…very wrong.

Using about 85 percent of one’s muscles, rowing is one of the most demanding sports you can practice.

It was a lesson Destiny Steele and her roommate learned the hard way.

“The first day I ever came to practice, it was me and my roommate,” Steele said. “The next day we quite literally rolled ourselves out of bed because it hurt to move.”

But Steele didn’t let her soreness get in the way of something special. Now she’s the club’s vice president.

“It doesn’t seem like it would be fun but the people here make it worthwhile,” Steele said.

Buffalo State has a storied history in rowing. From 1966 to 1976, the program won four New York State Small College Championships and earned second- and third-place finishes in men’s national small college competitions.

However, the team disbanded after a fire at the West Side Rowing Club in 1975.

Last year, the club rebooted and has now grown to over 25 members who practice five days a week, including going from 5:30 to 7:30 in the morning Tuesday through Friday at a rebuilt West Side Rowing Club located near LaSalle Park, and compete against colleges from across the northeast.

The men’s team has quickly found success being ranked at the Head of Genesee Regatta in Rochester and The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Pennsylvania, beating big schools like Penn State and Duke in the process.

The women’s team, which is believed to not have existed previously, earned first place at the Head of Niagara and Wright Regatta last spring.

In the fall Buffalo State hosted its first regatta in 42 years.

Last month, the Rowing team got another win.

After a long process of paperwork and proving their worth as a club, the Buffalo State Rowing team was made an official student organization by the United Students Government (USG).

“We were getting a lot of pushback,” club President Dan Jubert said. “They were asking us, ‘are you sure you want to be recognized?’ but we kept pushing forward with it.”

Not only does it mean the team will receive significant funding, but the members feel the club is now a part of the fabric of the school.

“We felt like we can say, ‘yes, we are apart of Buff State’,” said Kimberly Buehlmann, a junior education major. “It makes everyone even more proud to row and represent the school. When we go to regattas this year, it’s going to hold more weight.”

The newfound funding from USG will go to help ease members’ $250 dues which go towards equipment and travel for regattas as well as finally allow the team to pay their coaches.

“It will help infinitely,” Jubert said. “Our coaches have been doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. We want to enter more regattas and get more members and be the best team we can be.”

Team leaders are often found tabling in the Student Union telling those interested that rowing is for everyone and a lack of prior experience is the norm.

“The learning curve after just one month is great,” Buehlmann said. “It looks like they’ve been rowing for years.”

Students who do come out to practice quickly catch on to the ins and outs of paddling, but not before falling in love with the community of team.

“I’ve never felt more connected to a team,” Jubert said. “I cross by these people on campus and it brings a smile to my face. I’ve never liked a sport as much as I like this.”

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