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Santa Fe South's Chris Reno sees rowing as ticket to college

BY ED GODFREY Staff Writer Published: October 1, 2011

Chris Reno hopes rowing is his ticket to college.

With nine brothers and sisters and another one on the way, expenses are tight in the Reno household.

“We don't have the money to send every single kid to college,” said the 18-year-old senior at Santa Fe South High School senior. “Rowing is my door to that.”

Reno knew nothing about rowing when he found out that his school was going to participate in the Scholastic League in the Boathouse District on the Oklahoma River.

His perception of rowing came from movies, where it was depicted as a wealthy, elitist sport. It certainly didn't seem to be a sport for a brat from a military family like himself.

But Reno was curious about the sport and joined the Scholastic League that is free to students and began rowing for the Santa Fe South crew.

“Like everyone else, I thought it was mainly an arm sport,” Reno said. “So when I first got there and they said go on a 3-mile run, I thought something was wrong. I was surprised by how much work it takes.”

Since then, Reno has received a financial-need scholarship from the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation and now rows on the Chesapeake Junior Crew, representing Oklahoma City and OKC RIVERSPORT in events across the country.

Without the boathouse scholarship, Reno said he wouldn't be able to train and travel with the crew.

The Scholastic League is for high school teams. Only four to six local high schools are currently involved at a given time, but the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation is hoping more schools will join in the future.

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