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Junior rowing programs on Oklahoma river producing top-flight talent

OKLAHOMA REGATTA FESTIVAL — The OU rowing team has been able to recruit top talent despite only having a program for five years. The Sooners are recruiting around the country and in their back yard.
by Ed Godfrey Published: October 4, 2013
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photo - Kayakers compete during the Oklahoma Regatta Festival on the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Kayakers compete during the Oklahoma Regatta Festival on the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City, Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Brooke Holleman, who graduated last spring, was a member of OU's Big 12 championship team last year and the Sooners' first recruit from the OKC RIVER SPORT Chesapeake Junior Crew.

“She had an outstanding four year career at OU,” Crain said. “We take great pride in recruiting the best of the best around the country, but it is extra special when we can keep the top local talent right here.”

In addition to Oklahomans, OU's freshman class includes athletes from California, New Jersey, Florida, Missouri, Texas, Kansas, and one rower from Canada.

“Now that we've established ourselves as a top 20 program, we're starting to draw some high level recruits, which is exciting,” Crain said.

The Sooners finished the 2013 spring season by placing 17th at the NCAA Championships. It was OU's first time to qualify for the NCAA's. The Sooners graduated 14 seniors from that team but Crain says OU has a dynamic freshman class.

“We've only been on the water for a couple of weeks so we still have a lot of work to do from a technical standpoint, but I like what I'm seeing,” she said. “This team has great energy and the expectations are higher than they've ever been.”

Wullschleger was recruited by several universities but her final choice came down to Clemson or OU. Clemson has more tradition than OU in rowing, but Wullschleger was sold on the idea of helping to build a legacy for the Sooners.

“OU was actually the last school that I looked at,” she said. “I didn't want to look at it because it was in Oklahoma and I kinda wanted to leave (the state). But I liked the fact I could be a part of something that was going to be big.”

by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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