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Sac State rowing readies for American Athletic Conference Championship in New Jersey

Karah Butac

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For the second time in school history, the Sacramento State women’s rowing program will compete in a conference meet that could give them an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

Sac State is an affiliate to the American Athletic Conference and competes against the University of Central Florida, University of Connecticut, Southern Methodist University, Temple University, University of Tulsa and San Diego State University.

Being part of the AAC is huge for Sac State’s program because there are only two western region conferences, which are the West Coast Conference and the Pac-12 Conference. If Sac State wins the conference championship, they will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

The head coach for 13 years, Mike Connors, is happy for his team to be a part of the AAC.

“Being a part of a conference gives us a little more structure to our season,” Connors said. “This is a good conference for us, it would be a good competitive fit for us.”

Freshman Elena Galvez is looking forward to competing in the AAC Women’s Rowing Championship with her team in New Jersey.

“I know as team we are really excited, especially because we know we can do well, and we are just really stoked and ecstatic [to] give it our all at conference,” Galvez said. “Me, as a first-year rower and rowing for the first time being in a varsity boat going to conference, it feels like a dream, but it’s reality, and I am ready to give it my all and have fun with it too.”

This season, the Hornets traveled to San Diego, Foster City and Davis, California. Getting the opportunity to go across the country and race at a new course gives the rowers more to look forward to.

Senior Michelle Evers is excited about the opportunity to row in New Jersey.

“It’s a race course that none of has raced on before so that’s definitely something we look forward to,” Evers said. “It’s always good to experience new places and new water because there are different factors that can play into your races.”

Conference championships are approaching, with the meet starting May 17. The Hornets are picking up their practices in preparation.

“We are really just rating up on our rows, so we’re picking up the intensity, doing a little high-rate work and getting in the mindset of, we’re going to be traveling and going for the gold,” Galvez said.

Connors told his team they need to improve and be the best they can be.

“We have to be getting better or worse, that’s what I always tell the girls,” Connors said. “If you’re the same from as last year or as two years ago, it’s like we will get behind because other schools are getting better.”

Heading into a new conference, the Hornets are already familiar with the competition level. They have seen these teams race over the past couple of years and they know it will be a challenge, but they know they can come out with a win.

“The competition is very similar; we get to compete against teams that are beatable but definitely tough teams that have been getting boats for ranking this year,” Evers said. “It’s definitely going to be a hard race, no doubt about that, but obviously our goal is to go there and win.”

Galvez feels thankful for the opportunity she is getting to row and said she is giving all she has to win.

“I just feel so blessed and honored, and I know my hard work has shown throughout the team, and I am ready to perform to the best of my abilities,” Galvez said.

The Sac State women’s rowing team will travel to West Windsor, New Jersey and compete at the AAC Championship on May 17.

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