UVA Rowing to host U of Michigan and Ohio State

By Duncan Nixon

After several years absence from Lake Monticello due to logistic difficulties caused by COVID, the University of Virginia’s  women’s rowing team is returning to the Lake for a home rowing event. the Cavs will host teams from The University of Michigan and Ohio State on April 1. The teams set up around the main beach and it is quite a scene with all the rowers, coaches, staff, parents and other observers mixing about at the beach. As the shells are put into the water the coxswains can be heard barking out orders to their teammates. Many of the rowers are between 5-10 and 6-2 in height. Because few high schools have rowing teams, many of the recruits for the women’s rowing team are young women who have demonstrated solid athletic ability in other sports such as basketball or volleyball. 

The UVA women’s rowing team is coached by Kevin Sauer who has been at the helm for 28 years. He is the only coach the rowing team has ever had. His record is awesome. According to the rowing team’s website, The UVA team has had 17 top five finishes at the NCAA championships, and Sauer has won two National Coach of the Year awards. Sauer was elected to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Sauer once said that when he was hired to establish a women’s rowing team, he found a map of Central Virginia and looked for bodies of water within a reasonable distance of the University. Lake Monticello came to his attention, so he came to Fluvanna County to check it out. He found that the Lake was long enough to handle a regatta, so he met with the Lake officials and obtained their approval to hold a regatta. As the saying goes, the rest is history. 

There could be some very competitive races on Saturday, as Michigan and Ohio State are high ranked squads. In pre-season rankings Michigan and Ohio State are ranked number 1 and number 2 overall in Region 4, while UVA is ranked number 4 in Region 3. 

Naturally, while the races and practices are occurring, use of the lake for recreational purposes will be restricted.

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