JU rowing programs joining MAAC
The women's rowing team now will have the chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The women's rowing team now will have the chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The Jacksonville University rowing programs have found a new home as both the men’s and women’s teams will join the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference beginning this season.

“The MAAC is excited about the addition of the Jacksonville men’s and women’s rowing programs and their participation in the MAAC Rowing Championships will add even more excitement to an already competitive field,’’ Jamie Fogarty, Senior Associate AD/SWA at Iona College and chair of the MAAC Rowing Committee, said. “As the women’s rowing programs throughout the MAAC look forward to automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship in 2013, the addition of another talented team will contribute positively to the depth of the conference and the competition for the AQ slot.’’

JU women’s coach Kris Muhl, whose team now will have access to an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, says the move will enhance his program’s goals.

“Being part of a conference championship brings significant benefits to the student-athletes and should give everyone a little more motivation,’’ Kuhl said. “It sends a clear message that our eventual goal is not just to get to the NCAA’s, but to be a contender. Being an affiliate member of a conference that has a rowing championship is something I’ve been working on since coming to JU. I am so excited to see this come to fruition.’’

The women’s program began in the 1970s and the team won the Novice 8 in the 1998 Dad’s Vail race. In 2008, the Varsity 4 team took first in the Dad’s Vail and in 2009 the women won the state championship. Las year, the team reached its first Dad’s Vail Final in 10 years (Varsity 8).

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our rowing programs to enhance their identities with a conference home,’’ JU director of athletics Alan Verlander said. “Our women’s team now has the opportunity to compete for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship which is the goal for all of our programs.’’

The 2012 MAAC Rowing Championships will take place Sun., April 28, at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J. Lake Mercer also will play host to the 2012 NCAA Rowing Championships on May 25-27 hosted by the MAAC and Rider University.

The MAAC is headquartered in Edison, N.J. and consists of 10 member institutions: Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Loyola University of Maryland, Manhattan, Marist, Niagara, Rider St. Peter’s College and Siena.

The women’s season begins March 17 at with the Louisville Invitational at Oak Ridge, Tenn.