STORRS, Conn. – Before walk-ons are added during the fall season, the University of Connecticut rowing team’s biggest class is a group of 17 juniors – all of which plan to help the Huskies prepare for a special 2016-17 season.
With the Head of the Riverfront less than two weeks away, the UConn rowers are practicing hard to get ready for Sunday, Oct. 2 on the Connecticut River. Head of the Charles in Boston, Mass. is on Oct. 22-23, while the Head of the Schuylkill is on Oct. 29 in Philadelphia, Pa.
“I think our team is a really outstanding group of people. The commitment I see in my teammates inspires me to work my hardest every day,” said Mazur. “We just need to keep a focused mind; that’s the key.”
Reflecting on the 2015-16 season, which ended with a sixth place finish at the American Athletic Conference in Sacramento, Calif., it was more about building for a promising future.
“I think 2015-16 was the start to a new era of UConn rowing,” said Signor. “The coaches stressed the importance of having a positive mentality and pushing ourselves beyond what we think we can achieve.”
The Huskies, who usually welcome 20-25 walk-ons during the fall season, currently stand with a roster of 47 student-athletes. With the junior class making up the largest portion of that roster, there is much that can be learned by the rowing newcomers.
“With the junior class being so large, we offer a diversity of skills, academic majors and are from different walks of life,” said Dawless. “We will lead the newcomers this year and next to see the different possibilities that come with being on a team while getting a full college experience.”
There is a large group of newcomers on the team, coming from as far as Germany to row with the Huskies. Though not much interaction has taken place between the upperclassmen and freshmen as of yet, due to it being early in the preseason, promising attributes have been seen.
“I have had the pleasure of being in the same erg group and weight session as many of the new rowers,” said Dawless. “They have been working extremely hard, adapting and learning as much as they can.”
With only about one month to prepare from the start of school to the first fall race, the UConn rowers will be looking to gel with one another prior to the Head of the Riverfront in Hartford, Conn. UConn rowing is led by 20-year head coach, Jennifer Wendry.
Mazur is an English major, Signor is a Sociology major, and Dawless studies Materials Science and Engineering - stressing the point of diversity within the junior group.