Students looking for a way to keep active should consider an up-and-coming sport: crew.
“Being in a rowing shell (boat) with your teammates on the water is competitive and energizing and the scenery is awesome!” said Tom Babcock, Granite Bay High School sophomore and rower for the Upper Natoma Rowing Club.
The rowing teams around Granite Bay area have a reputation for their talent even though they have only been around for six years. They are known for being some best teams in the country and are frequent finalists at national competitions.
“The Southwest region for high school rowing teams is incredible. We have some of the best teams in the country and tend to do very well at national competitions,” Babcock said. “(Upper Natoma Rowing Club has) only been around for five years, and we’ve gone to nationals four out of five times,”
Even if students haven’t been playing the sport for very long, they can still succeed and even earn athletic scholarships. “It happens if they’re that good,” said Chris Manibusan, a coach for the Upper Natoma Rowing Club. “We’ve had numerous kids get heavily recruited (by many prestigious universities).”
There is an especially lucrative amount of scholarships for women. “A lot of the girls get scholarships, but for men there aren’t a lot of scholarships available,” Manibusan said. “It basically evens out the scholarships between men and women’s sports.”
However, despite the many opportunities and prestige in rowing, crew teams around Granite Bay are still relatively small. “It’s a hard sport to sell because of the time commitment,” said McKenna Cowles, GBHS sophomore. “It’s great seeing people try it out.”
The UNRC practices daily from 3:30 until 6 at Lake Natoma, an estimated fourteen minute drive from Granite Bay High School without traffic. Additionally, the physical exertion required may be brutal for some. “I played different sports, I played football, ran track, played basketball and baseball, but rowing was by far the hardest and most rewarding,” Manibusan said.
Despite that, rowers rave about the mental benefits they receive from the sport. “Once you get into rowing the positives about the sport energizes you to do well in every aspect of your life.” Babcock said. “ You feel so good about yourself physically, mentally and socially that you feel so in charge.”
The sport is thought to be very unique and rewarding to the athletes in the Granite Bay. “If it’s a sport that nobody’s thought about or they get stuck in whatever sport they’re doing, rowing is definitely something that is a full body workout (with the) full team experience (that’s) mentally and physically challenging,” Manibusan said. “I played different sports, I played football, ran track, played basketball and baseball, but rowing was by far the hardest and most rewarding.”