Boxers become fifth NWC school to offer women's rowing

And women’s rowing makes an even two dozen.

The Pacific University athletic department is adding women’s rowing to its complement of 24 intercollegiate sports, the Forest Grove school announced in a press release last week.

With the addition of women’s rowing, the release noted, Pacific becomes the 41st NCAA Division III program to offer rowing, the fifth school in the Northwest Conference, and one of only six schools in the division outside of the Atlantic seaboard. The new team’s inaugural competitive season will take place in the 2014-15 school year.

Women’s rowing is the eighth sport Pacific has added over the past 14 years. Most recently, men’s and women’s indoor track and field were offered for the first time in the 2012-13 school year. Before that, the football program was reinstated starting with the 2010 season after a nearly two-decade absence. Women’s lacrosse started up in 2008.

In addition to announcing the new program, Pacific Director of Athletics Ken Schumann said that Amanda Dudley has been hired as head coach. Dudley was a four-year varsity rower at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. She also has coaching and administrative experience in rowing, most recently serving as an intern with the United States Rowing Association, the sport’s national governing body.

“We are excited to provide another opportunity for student-athletes to compete at Pacific with the addition of women’s rowing,” Schumann said. “With the interest we had in our club program a few years back, coupled with the number of conference schools offering the program and a great practice facility nearby, this was a natural fit for the growth of our athletic program.”

Pacific will practice at Henry Hagg Lake, located just 10 minutes southwest of Forest Grove. The university is in discussions with Washington County Parks regarding the facilities needs for the program at the lake.

Dudley was hired at the end of a national search to find the Boxers’ first rowing coach over the summer. Prior to working with the United States Rowing Association this summer, Dudley spent three seasons at her alma mater, St. Lawrence, as an assistant coach for both the men’s and women’s programs. In that role, she helped conduct on and off-water practices, managed team travel and managed the squad’s recruiting and social media outreaches.

Dudley also has coaching experience as the novice men’s coach for the William & Mary Rowing Club in Williamsburg, Va., and as the men’s novice coach at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Fairfax Station, Va.

“This is a great opportunity for me and for Pacific,” Dudley said. “I think this sport has a lot to offer the university, and I think people will be pleasantly surprised to see what adding rowing can bring to the school.”

Dudley will have a full year to recruit before Pacific fields its first crews. Though Pacific is the fifth school in the Northwest Conference to offer rowing, the Boxers will compete independently. At least six NWC schools would need to offer rowing and it would need to undergo an approval process to be added as a conference championship sport, according to Pacific sports information director Blake Timm.

Fellow NWC schools Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran, Willamette and Lewis & Clark also offer rowing. Timm’s understanding is that the team will primarily compete in the spring, though a few events may be contested in the fall.

Pacific now offers women’s athletic programs in basketball, cross-country, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball and wrestling.

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