NEGAUNEE - The Northern Michigan University crew team is fairly small, fairly new club team but has become competitive in the Midwest since its first races in 1999.
In Sunday's seventh annual Iron Ores race on Teal Lake in Negaunee - the lone home regatta of the year for NMU - the Wildcats took advantage of calm waters and beautiful weather.
With only NMU and Michigan Tech competing in the collegiate races, competitors from the Marquette community made up the rest of the day with races that included the coordinator of the day's events, the Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club. Results weren't available from the NMU-MTU competition.
On Teal Lake in Negaunee on Sunday are the Northern Michigan University rowers, from left, are coxswain Kelly Morrow, Erica Fraley, Danni Nelson, Allison Bosink, Angie Chavez, Dana Gilbertson, Pearl Gaidelis, Larisa Melbarde and Sarah Maki. (Journal photo by Amanda Monthei)
The rowing season, which starts the first week of September for Northern, carries through October with regattas and races every weekend after the Iron Ores event. The rowers then continue to practice and race until the snow falls and the water begins to freeze.
"In the fall we spend all of our time on the water because the lake's not frozen," senior women's crew captain Angie Chavez said. "In spring, when the water is frozen, we pretty much just run all the time."
A sometimes-overlooked fact of rowing is that it requires not only endurance, but also a good amount of leg strength.
"It's a really big endurance sport," Chavez said. "We run a lot and do a lot of cardio, but it's a big leg sport as well. A lot of people think it's upper body but it's all in your legs."
Chavez said that she began rowing as an NMU sophomore and hadn't had any experience prior to that. A lack of rowing experience is very typical for college rowing teams, however.
The NMU team will continue its season with three more regattas, including one in Rockford, Ill., that includes the most competition the Wildcats will see in a season.
"I like Rockford because it's just really big," Chavez said. "There are like 900 rowers there usually, so that's huge compared to today. (Iron Ores) is tiny, there are only two collegiate schools here and that's unheard of."
The Wildcats' next regatta will take them to the Tail of the Fox race in DePere, Wis., on Oct. 7.