JU women getting to see fruits of labor
The JU women will send five boats to the HEad of the Hooch.
The JU women will send five boats to the HEad of the Hooch.
The Jacksonville University women’s rowing team has been taking some pretty big steps this fall; now it’s time to see how far the team has gone.

The team will take five boats to Chattanooga, Tenn., this weekend to participate in the Head of the Hooch Regatta on the Tennessee River as it wraps up its fall season.

Coach Kris Muhl says it will be a solid test of his team.

“We’re training through the fall, so, training against other crews during the regatta will be great,’’ Muhl said. “The team has worked hard this, so this allows them to see why they are doing all the training.’’

Muhl will have plenty to assess as his team has boats entered in the Championship 8 and Championship 4 divisions and in the Novice 8 divisions.

In the Championship 8 race, JU will have a pair of boats on the water.

Savannah Rice, Emily Close, Whitney Mathews, Joanna Zachowski, Jordyn Clary, Allison Sobiech, Abby Sierigk, Cassie MacLellan and Mary Mosier will be aboard the A boat while Jordan Heylock, Rebecca Clark, Kelsy Carl, Kelly Cleveland, Christie Charliebois, Brittany Bennett, Kayla Cole, Jessica Desiderio and Maycee Dioneda will man the B boat.

Several rowers will pull double duty as Heylock, Close, Mathews, Zachowski and Mosier will be aboard the A boat in the Championship 4 while Kelsey Doughten, Sobiech, Clary, MacLellan and Sierigk get the call on the B boat.

For the first time, JU will have novices in the race in the Novice 8 division at the Hooch.

The Novice Dolphins racing in the event are: Hanna Feik, Yasmeen Stogden, Samara Generals, Jessica Desiderio, Andrea Zadrozny, Whitney Abshear, Kayla Cole, April Beck and Serena Summerfield racing.

“Our novice boat is a true novice boat,’’ he said. “They have been making some big steps forward this fall, so it is huge for them to go to such a well run and well attended race and get a sense of what the sport is all about.’’

The regatta, which began in 1981, is well attended as it is the second largest regatta in the country (The Head of the Charles in Cambridge, Mass., is the largest) and more than 1,600 boats are expected to compete in high school, college and masters divisions.

The Hooch began as The Head of the Chattahoochee in Roswell, Ga., and was initiated by the Atlanta Rowing Club. The first regatta had 105 boats.

The race was moved to the Olympic rowing venue in Gainesville, Ga., in 1997 and found its current home in Chattanooga in 2005.

-- Jim Nasella