By Jay Young
Southwestern senior Emily Wuebbolt of Lakewood has decided to attend Cornell University in the fall as a member of the women's varsity rowing team.
Southwestern senior Emily Wuebbolt, front center, signs a partial scholarship to Cornell University, where she will be a member of the women’s rowing team. In front at left is Southwestern assistant principal Kristy Carlson and at right is Wuebbolt’s mother, Mary Beth. In back from left are Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association boys coach Jim Odrzywolski and girls coach Nicki Saxman.
P-J photo by Jay Young
Wuebbolt has had a standout athletic career for the Lady Trojans over the past several years both on the soccer field and the basketball court, and has also been a member of Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association's (CLRA) high school program over the past four years.
The senior has decided to continue with her rowing career at the collegiate level after receiving a partial scholarship offer from Cornell (Ivy League schools do not issue full athletic scholarships).
Big Red women's rowing has been a varsity sport since 1975 and competes during the fall season in the Ivy League. The team claimed its first national championship in 1989 and is currently coached by Hilary Gehman.
"The club (CLRA) has only been around for seven or eight years, so this is pretty new, " said CLRA boys coach Jim Odrzywoslki. "Mary (Agarwala) was the first young lady officially to go into school with at least a partial scholarship and Emily is our second one. It really is a great opportunity for particularly young ladies to get into college on a scholarship, even a partial one. There are a lot of programs out there looking for rowers, good solid rowers, good students, and good athletes.''
Agarwala received a rowing scholarship to attend the University at Buffalo in 2012 after coming through the CLRA high school program.
Despite Wuebbolt's success in soccer and basketball, it is the team-focus of rowing that made her pursue an NCAA career.
The CLRA handbook states that rowing is the ''ultimate team sport,'' a sentiment that Wuebbolt has come to share.
"I just enjoyed rowing the most, I guess, because it was the team atmosphere, that's what kept me coming back to rowing,'' she said. ''Every rower says that it is 'the ultimate team sport."'
The concentration and cooperation that is necessary to build a successful rowing team is quite different from the team goals in most other sports. In order to run a good regatta at full speed, a team has to work as one cohesive unit. A missed stroke or moment of fatigue can cost a team multiple seconds at the finish line.
Wuebbolt looks forward to pursuing that challenge at the NCAA level.
"Cornell was my top choice but I also looked into Georgetown University and George Washington University," she said.
The Southwestern senior will have a lot to look forward to in her first semester with the Big Red, including getting acquainted with the world of NCAA Division I rowing.
"I haven't personally seen any Division I regattas, but when I went on my visit they did mock races,'' she said. ''The regattas, they look about the same as like a high-school level. It's just obviously more intense and better athletes.''
Cornell takes to the water on an inlet on the South shore of Cayuga lake for the majority of their practices and regattas, but also spends time in warmer weather down South for training camp.
CLRA girls coach Nicki Saxman entered the program the same time as Wuebbolt and has coached her over the past four years.
"This is my fourth year; I came in with Emily when she started as a freshman,'' she said. ''It's kind of neat to see her building up year to year to year until now she is a senior and very successful in going to Division I, so that's really awesome.''