Saint Augustine’s University is venturing into new territory. The North Carolina historical Black college is launching the first HBCU women’s rowing team in the nation.
It is a significant feat for the school that is most known for its accomplishments on the Track and it serves as a pivotal moment for other HBCUs that may be trying to adventure into new sports.
According to reporting from ABC11, plans for the team have been in place since summer of last year and has already been approved and registered by the American Collegiate Rowing Association.
The only other HBCU to successfully sponsor a rowing team was Howard University when the Bison started a program back in the 1960s. Traditionally Black people have been largely excluded from many sports outside of football and basketball.
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An HBCU giving its students a chance to have a successful rowing team could open the door for entries to other new sports for these institutions.
“We started looking into Howard and what they had going on, and put us on a little assignment,” said Saint Augustine junior rowing team member Mikahya Hill in a statement. “We didn’t find anything: Just Howard, and that was about as far as rowing at HBCUs went.”
As of now, the team has five athletes on the roster which limits the amount of categories they are allowed to compete in. But the team aspires to grow to ten athletes which will allow the squad to compete in more categories.
Hill is ready to get started and likely ready to become a force in the rowing world. The team has been competing virtually but they are looking to begin live water competition this upcoming fall.
“We’re just eager to get on the water already,” said Hill. “We want to get things going and get more dedicated people on the team who want to make a name for ourselves.”
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