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Oklahoma City University River Athletes Prepare for Move Into New Home
OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the rowing and canoe/kayak teams for Oklahoma City University are eagerly anticipating their move into the new Devon Boathouse. The two teams, consisting of 32 rowers and six paddlers in canoe/kayak, will be greeted by some of the most advanced training equipment available to their respective sports. The Devon Boathouse, Home of OCU Rowing and Canoe/Kayak and headquarters for the OKC National High Performance Center, is the perfect complement to an exceptional place for riversports, said OCU rowing head coach Mike Knopp. It has also become a potent tool in athlete recruitment. “All of our paddlers and many of our rowers came from out of state to compete here. The river is known throughout the rowing world as a great place to train and compete. And with new facilities coming, it’s getting even better. “We’ve been watching the construction projects in progress on the riverbank over the summer, and it’s hard to believe how close we are to actually getting to use them,” Knopp said. The rowing team roster already shows evidence of a recruiting base that stretches far beyond Oklahoma City. From Washington to Tennessee, California to New Jersey, rowers came to Oklahoma City University to compete and get their degrees. The team even has international appeal, with Edgars Boitmanis coming all the way from Latvia. Cassie Robbins is a freshman from Manassas, Va., who was convinced to attend OCU after hearing about the rowing program and the opportunity to train with the most advanced tools available. “I was competing in a regatta in Canada with my junior team this summer after high school,” she said. “I was talking with Coach (Melanie) Borger and she told me about the new facilities, so I decided to come here to continue competing. I planned to go to James Madison University (Va.), but after hearing about the Devon Boathouse it sounded like my better option.” Robbins likes the teamwork nature of rowing and the fact that the athletes “get to be on the water in a boat not much wider than the hips. It’s thrilling to glide along the water like that.” The OCU rowing team owes a lot of thanks to the city, which made their home turf possible in the first place. The $52 million MAPS Riverfront Redevelopment Project filled the Oklahoma River, where the Stars team has held practice sessions and hosted competitions since it became a varsity sport in 2003. The team was originally formed in 2000. Their annual Head of the Oklahoma regatta is the next competition on the calendar, which takes place Oct. 8 and 9. OCU will celebrate its 10th anniversary during the competition. Other colleges and independent teams also call the Oklahoma River home for rowing, which is one of the oldest collegiate athletic programs in U.S. history. OCU rowers hope to uphold the prestige of the sport. ### Team Rosters Rowing: Kyle Adair — Haddonfield, N.J. Riley Behms — Norman, Okla. Edgars Boitmanis — Furmala, Latvia Ryan Carroll — Broken Arrow Ryan Claussen — Manhattan, Kan. CB Collier — Fairfax Station, Va. Megan Duffy — Bothell, Wash. Jacob Fox — Egg Harbor Township, N.J. Rikki George — Seattle Nick Hagen — Ft. Worth, Texas Dinah Harjo — Norman Jared Hooley — Dexter, Ore. Briana Hurley — Oklahoma City Patrick Hylton — Norman Jane Imfeld — Grapevine, Texas Jake Lamb — Scottsdale, Ariz. Rose Lane — Tulsa Matthew Maddamma — Carnegie, Pa. Matt Mahon — Chesterfield, Mo. Blake Marley — Norman Drew McNichols — Fall Creek, Ore. Mike Pitts — Oak Park, Ill. Clay Puckett — Edmond John Riesenberg — Oklahoma City Cassie Robbins — Manassas, Va. Kathryn Schiro — Huntsville, Ala. Katie Sondag — Eugene, Ore. Josh Steenburgh — Stockton, Calif. Hugh Tullos — Oklahoma City Brock Turner — Tulsa James VonPeters — Chattanooga, Tenn. Richard Beam — Oklahoma City Jonathan Crawford — Princeton, Minn. Canoe/Kayak: Jared McArthur — Georgia Will Roszel — Georgia Katie Hill — Gig Harbour, Wash. Jen Burke — San Diego, Calif. Kyle Mechini — Princeton, N.J. Cedric Bond — Tacoma, Wash.