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Varsity rowing hits the water at NU

​La​kers varsity rowing Novice Women's Eights practicing on Trout Lake
Varsity rowing has arrived at Nipissing University. Perhaps the most iconic of all university sports, rowing conjures images of Ivy-league crews and historic Oxford versus Cambridge races.  Now with varsity status, Nipissing’s rowing team takes its place among the traditional university powers in the sport, provincially and nationally.

By achieving varsity status, the club can now represent Nipissing University at the Ontario University Athletics Championships, held in St. Catherines, Ontario, October 28-30.

The Lakers rowing team roster currently consists of nine female and two male varsity athletes. Sisters Brianna and Olivia Jeans have stepped up from the junior varsity ranks to crew the varsity women’s double. Brogan Shaw and Karly Lockhart, both new to the program have earned their place in the women’s lightweight double. The women’s 4+ coxswain has (from bow seat) Emma Langill, Jenna Littleton, Lisa Davies, Angela Hua, and Hailey Quigley returning from last year’s program. On the men’s side, Jordan Cascganette – who along with Shaw and Lockhart are varsity cross-country skiers in the winter – has quickly developed in the sport to earn the seat in the lightweight men’s single. Matt Senos is the men’s heavyweight single competitor and a returnee from last year. 

The team is coached by a group of highly dedicated and experienced volunteers.  Dr. Dean Hay, associate professor in the Bachelor of Physical and Health Education program, serves as head coach.  Assistant coaches include Brian Siebert, Nadine Cooper, Rob Matthews, Larry Lanctot, and recent graduate, Kassidee Fior.  Student coaches include Kylie-Anne Grube and Zach Pecore.

On-water training for Lakers rowing takes place on Trout Lake, launching from Olmstead Beach, where they share some resources with the North Bay Canoe Club.  Dry-land training is conducted at Nipissing’s Robert J. Surtees Student Athletics Centre.

“This is exciting for our team and the university. Over the past few years, as a club team, we’ve improved dramatically and shown that we can produce competitive crews,” said Dr. Hay.  “Achieving varsity status will help sustain our momentum as a program and provides a fantastic opportunity for our students to push themselves in competition against the best rowers in the province.

“With the access to Trout Lake, as well as other nearby lakes, North Bay is a fantastic location for the sport of rowing.  With varsity status, our team will be attracting student-athletes from all over who might not have considered attending Nipissing previously,” said Hay.  “As we continue to compete and the program matures, the team will help grow the profile of the university and the city.  There is also the very real potential for developing a future Olympian within this program.”

The team, which has been successfully operating as a club team since 2013, applied to the university’s Athletics Advisory Board for varsity status and funding.  The Athletics Advisory Board approved the proposal and recommended support for the rowing team from the university’s budget committee, who approved partial funding for the team.

“We’re pleased to welcome another varsity team who will be able to compete as Nipissing University Lakers under the OUA umbrella,” said Vito Castiglione, director of athletics. “While the team is not fully funded, they will have access to a budget allocated by the university to aid in the transition from club to varsity, along with some fundraising initiatives to assist in covering equipment, uniforms, traveling and the cost of races.”

Lakers rowing will compete in their inaugural race as a varsity team at the Head of the Rideau regatta on Sunday, October 1, in Ottawa.

In addition, community support for student-athletes is a vital component of every sport at Nipissing University.  Thanks to donors to the Adopt-a-Laker program, student-athletes are provided financial support so that they can focus on academics and athletics. The Adopt-A-Laker program has been expanded to include varsity rowing, for more information on Adopt-a-Laker, please go to
Nipissing University
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