Springbank rower at University of Minnesota
Monday, Sep 09, 2013 12:28 pm
Springbank’s McKenzie Lukacs has rowed her way to a spot on a varsity boat at the University of Minnesota women’s rowing program.
The 18-year-old Springbank Community High School grad is at the National Collegiate Athletic Association school preparing for her first academic semester and competitive rowing season.
This follows a busy summer where she made the Canadian junior rowing team, competed at the world junior championships in Lithuania and took sliver in Team Alberta’s quadruple sculls boat at the Canada Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
“Hard work paid off. I never dreamt I would be in this position,” Lukacs said in a telephone interview with The Eagle. “I was just going into it to see what happens.”
The 5’6” dynamo, who played competitive club and high-school volleyball until May, has been rowing for about three years. She posted her lengthy athletic resume on a student athlete recruiting website and was scooped by University of Minnesota, which offered her a scholarship.
“Long term, she’s going to be a force to be reckoned with for us. Not just in the boat, but I think who she is as a person,” said University of Minnesota women’s rowing head coach Wendy Davis. “That’s what we’re so excited about. We’ve got somebody of character who’s upbeat and going to give her all and not complain.”
Part of Lukacs’s focus includes training indoors. While Team Canada rowers stationed at Elk Lake just outside Victoria are on the water year-round, other programs get frozen out for a few winter months and go indoors to train. Lukacs spent a lot of time on an ergometer, or erg, in Calgary, so she’s used to it.
“It is probably pretty similar,” Davis said of the University of Minnesota program and Lukacs’s indoor training here.
“A lot of the northern schools here in the States have the same kind of thing going ... that go indoors in November and come back some time in February onto the water.”
That’s fine with Lukacs.
“I see a lot of value in erging,” she assessed. “In Victoria, they get to row pretty much all year. There’s also, again, great value in only being on the water all the time.
“Coming from somewhere where there’s not a lot of water and not a lot of on-water time, my erging has paid off for what I have.”
For those keeping score, what she has is a rowing scholarship at an NCAA Division 1 school and a seat in a boat with the Canadian national junior women’s rowing team.