Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association announces rowing programs, staff additions

The BSRA recently announced a variety of summer programs for novice to experienced rowers of all ages.

Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association (BSRA), a nonprofit athletic organization located at 405 Ohio St. in the city along the Buffalo River, recently announced a variety of summer programs for novice to experienced rowers of all ages.

“Rowing is the ultimate team sport. It teaches you about character and integrity,” said Hilary Epes-Oballim, executive director of the BSRA as well as a coach and avid rower. “Rowers will learn about time management and dedication so they can have respect for themselves, their teammates, coaches and family. Rowing is a sport that you can do for the rest of your life, and it will challenge you both physically and mentally. It’s an excellent aerobic and anaerobic workout without the risk of many injuries, so participants of all ages are welcome! On top of all of this, rowing brings people together for life-long friendships.”

BSRA’s Youth Learn-to-Row summer camp program teachers participants how to become rowers. Students will learn the lingo, how to get in and out of a boat, use an oar, carry boats and oars, work with a large team and what it means to be a teammate. This camp is for ages 12 to 16, and athletes of all sizes are welcome. No prior rowing experience is necessary. Registrants should bring water in a reusable bottle, a packed lunch and extra weather-appropriate clothing. The cost is $300 per session; students that continue onto the second and/or third sessions will receive a $50 discount to each session. Sessions will run from from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Session 1 will take place July 8-19, Session 2 from July 22 through Aug. 2, and Session 3 from Aug. 5-16.

Youth Modified Sculling is a program specifically for 12-14-year-olds (seventh, eighth and incoming ninth graders) to gain more one-on-one coaching in a single shell training boat called a WaveCutter. Sessions are smaller than the Youth Learn-to-Row program and are typically for rowers who would like to continue rowing in high school. The cost is $250 per session, and if a rower signs up for an additional session, a $25 discount is applied to each session. Session 1 will be offered from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, May 18 through June 23. Session 2 is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, Aug. 19-23, while Session 3 will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 14 through Oct. 20.

Rowing is also a great way for adults to get and stay in shape, and being on the water in a rowing shell is a lot better than using a machine in a gym! BSRA’s Adult Learn-to-Row program uses eight-oared shells and teaches rowers what it is like to be in a crew. Open to ages 21-plus, participants will receive hands-on training from experienced coaches. The cost is $100 per session, with those under 26 years of age receiving a 50% discount. Session 1 will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. June 25 and 26 and 9 to 11 a.m. June 30. Session 2 will be offered from 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 18 and 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 20 and 22.

The Adult Learn-to-Row Extended program is specifically for rowers who have completed a Learn-to-Row session. Rowers will continue practicing the basics while also learning how to feather their blade and work as a team in sync. The cost is $200 per session, with those under 26 years of age receiving a 50% discount. Session 1 will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 to 11 a.m. Sundays, July 8 through Aug. 4. Session 2 will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m. on dates to be announced, Sept. 9-29.

BSRA is also proud to announce that Woody Stark will join the organization this summer as Junior Men’s head coach and director of adult and youth Learn-to-Row programs. A member of the Oregon State men’s rowing staff, he brings considerable experience to the program.

Stark spent the 2017-18 season as assistant coach of the Washington State University Men’s Club Program, working primarily with novice athletes. Prior to WSU, he was assistant coach of the University of Oregon Club Program, working with the women’s team. At Oregon, Stark helped lead the women’s novice four to championships at WIRAs and ACRAs Club Nationals. He also assisted with the women’s varsity four that placed third at WIRAs and fifth at ACRAs Club Nationals, and the women’s pair that finished fifth at WIRAs and earned a bronze medal at ACRAs Club Nationals.

During the summer of 2016, Stark worked as an intern with the U.S. Rowing Men’s Junior National Team High Performance Camp/CANAMMEX teams, and traveled with the HP team to Club Nationals.

Stark spent the 2014-15 year working as an intern with the Oregon State University women’s rowing program, working with walk-on athletes in the fall and the Third Varsity Eight in the spring that finished fourth at the 2015 Pac-12 Championships. He returned for the fall of 2015 as a volunteer coach with the women’s team, again working with walk-ons.

Stark was a rower and coxswain at Willamette University, graduating with a degree in history in 2004 and began coaching that same year with Pacific Rowing Club. He earned a Master’s of Education in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership from the University of Washington in 2015.

Serving BSRA as Junior Women’s head coach is Mairead Manke. While earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Mercyhurst University, Manke walked onto the rowing team and was a Dad Vail Regatta and NCAA Championship participant for four years, a Varsity 4+ Division II National Runner-Up in 2015 and a Mercyhurst University Division II National Runner-Up in 2015. 

Manke started coaching at BSRA in the summer of 2014 and also coaches Junior Girls, Modified Sculling and adult Learn-to-Erg. She was brought on to do administrative work for BSRA in February 2018 and is now the organization’s director of marketing and outreach. She has been coaching the Summer Competitive Junior Women’s team since 2014 and was also an assistant coach for St. Mary’s High School in 2015 and currently the Junior Women and Men’s Head Coach. She is certified in CPR/AED and First Aid, Boating Safety and Stop the Bleed and is currently pursuing her U.S. Rowing Level II Certificate.

For more information on the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association, founded in 2010, please visit https://rowbuffalo.com. You can also follow the organization on Facebook for frequent updates.

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