Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's rowing team officially dedicated the newest addition to its fleet this month, which was made possible by the team's USEED fundraising campaign and a generous anonymous donation in the winter.
"Spirit of '02", a refurbished Pocock racing shell, has been a part of the PLU program for less than a semester, yet it has already carried the PLU varsity eight crew to five of their six season wins and two of their three Northwest Conference Crew of the Week recognitions.
Named for the PLU women's rowing team of 2002, the first year the Lutes competed at the NCAA Division III Championships, the "Spirit" was bought for a price that would not have been attainable were it not for the passionate fundraising done by the student-athletes, as well as an anonymous donation after the campaign was finished.
"We finished the crowdfunding campaign in November and we were still a few thousand dollars short of enough for a new 8+," said Head Coach Andy Foltz. "In January we received an anonymous donation that took us way over the amount that we needed to pay for a new 8+. We couldn't be more appreciative of the support from all our donors to make this happen."
The Lutes worked hard throughout their USEED campaign, reaching out to friends, family, alumnae, and community members for their support in the upcoming season. Every athlete was involved in the campaign, using both social media and networking skills to expand their reach.
The dedication ceremony took place prior to the annual Lamberth Cup on April 9, a regatta between the Lutes and their crosstown rival University of Puget Sound. Various alumnae of the program were in attendance, including the head coach from 2002, Sarah Halstead, and several of her student-athletes.
During the ceremony, alumnae in attendance as well as current members of the team joined together to pour water from the finish line of the home race course, as well as sparkling cider on the boat, officially christening the boat into the fleet.
"I think receiving such a generous donation shows how special the sport of rowing is, and shows how the alumnae are so supportive," said sophomore Alison Wriggle. "They continue to help the program grow whether they graduated 10, 20, or even 40 years ago. Getting a new boat is a large step, not just for the women here now, but also for any women joining in the future."
The Lutes will be putting the "Spirit" back in the water for their final race on American Lake this weekend, hosting the Northwest Conference Championships on Sunday with races slated to begin at 8:15 a.m.