Lady Monarchs To Compete For CAA Rowing Championship In `09
March 27, 2009
Norfolk, Va. - The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) recently announced that it has begun the sponsorship of women's rowing as the conference's 23rd sport. In doing so, it allows for the Old Dominion University rowing program to compete for a conference title in its first year of existence.
The first CAA women's rowing championship will be conducted on April 18, 2009 in Philadelphia. The event will be conducted in conjunction with the Kerr Cup on the Schuykill River along historic Boathouse Row. The CAA Championship will feature races in the Women's Varsity 8, Women's Varsity 4 and the Women's Second Varsity 8.
"The announcement that the CAA is officially sponsoring women's rowing is an incredibly exciting development for all of us in the conference," added ODU head coach Heather Weisel. "With the NCAA working towards an automatic qualifying system for rowing, the CAA will now be perfectly positioned to be among the possible contenders for an NCAA bid. We have a very strong group of programs to start the conference championship and we're honored to join them."
ODU joins Delaware, Drexel, George Mason and Northeastern as the five fill CAA members who currently sponsor women's rowing. The University of Buffalo joins the group as an associate member.
With the ODU program being in its first year, the Lady Monarchs have a youthful squad that Coach Weisel had planned on brining along at a steady pace. Yet with the inception of the CAA Championship, that plan is now somewhat altered.
"We had been focusing on developing our freshmen as a unit. However, we've been so fortunate with the level of work our team has done all year long and the degree of commitment from these women, that we are prepared to field the Varsity 8 with a combination of experienced freshmen, varsity level athletes who competed with the ODU Rowing Club in previous years and even an extraordinary novice rower or two," said Weisel. "These women row as well as any young team I've ever coached due to their determination to set the bar extremely high for everyone who comes after them. They've had a great deal of focused attention from our coaching staff - we deliberately kept the team size controlled this year partly for that reason - and we feel they will be as ready as a young team can possibly be to take on the large and established programs that make up the CAA Conference."