Women’s rowing team eager for strong start to season

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Women’s rowing team eager for strong start to season

Cori Guay. Photo courtesy of UA Athletics.

Cori Guay. Photo courtesy of UA Athletics.

Cori Guay. Photo courtesy of UA Athletics.

Cori Guay. Photo courtesy of UA Athletics.

McKenna Kapocsi, Contributing Writer

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About a week after the end of the 2018 Big 12 Championships, Alabama rowing coach Larry Davis announced he would step down as head coach. He had been the only coach in program history and moved the team from a club to a Division I team.

The search to find Davis’ replacement took about a month, but UA Athletic Director Greg Byrne decided on Glenn Putyrae.

Before his hire on June 15, Putyrae coached at Gonzaga University and dominated in the seven years he sent there, earning five conference championships.

“I am thrilled to announce that we have reached an agreement with Glenn Putyrae to be the next head rowing coach at The University of Alabama,” Byrne said in the press release announcing the hire. “Four areas really stood out for us as we progressed through the interview process with Glenn, and those were his passion, his work ethic and his vision and belief for the future of this program. He’s had great success leading both Gonzaga and Georgetown, and we are confident he will do the same for the Crimson Tide.”

In his first fall season, Putyrae’s team successfully competed in a couple different meets, which included winning a gold medal at the Head of the Hooch race to end the fall semester.

The staff Putyrae put together has experience from all over North America.

Grace Barbara rowed at Indiana and helped the Hoosiers to an 11th place finish at the NCAA Championships. She spent the last two seasons at Louisville as a graduate assistant.

Madison Keaty followed Putyrae from Gonzaga. Before being an assistant for the Bulldogs, she rowed at Gonzaga and was the team captain her senior year.

James Mulcahy was the only coach to stay on from Davis’ tenure. He rowed at Columbia University and was the captain for three years. He was the 2015 and 2016 coach for Team Canada at the CanAmMex Regatta.

“They bring experience and passion,” junior Olivia DeGroot said.

Now the team looks ahead to Saturday, where the Crimson Tide will face Eastern Michigan. Alabama swept all 16 races last year against the Eagles.

“We are most interested in who crosses the finish line first,” Putyrae said. “The result is more important than the time.”

The goal for the 2019 season is to finish top three in conference. The highest the team has finished was fourth, which occurred in the 2016-2017 season.

One rower who should play a big role for the Crimson Tide is sophomore Cori Gauy. She raced in the First Varsity 8+ last spring as a freshman.

“Everything builds up,” Guay said. “We are excited to see all the work we’ve put in.”

“A lot of learning from last year,” said DeGroot, co-captain of the team.

The race against Eastern Michigan is one out of the two home races the team will have this season. It is scheduled for Saturday, March 2 at 9 a.m.