Rowing added to growing roster of District 205 varsity sports

Rockford Public Schools will recognize junior rowing as a varsity sport beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, District 205 and the YMCA of Rock River Valley announced this week.

The YMCA has a junior rowing program open to students 13 to 18 years old. The crew competes against junior crews from Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota. The highlight of the rowing season is in October when the team competes against crews from all over the Midwest in the annual Head of the Rock Regatta on the Rock River.

More than 1,000 kids and adults have taken part in the YMCA’s rowing program since its inception and students have rowed for programs such as Princeton, Harvard, Duke, Indiana and Michigan.

The team’s coach, Kelly Maffei, began rowing with the YMCA program after graduating from Hononegah in 2009. She competedĀ as both a coxswain – the person who steers the boat and sets the pace – and rower for Marquette. Maffei took over the YMCA Junior Crew in 2014.

“I appreciate the sport of rowing for its sunrises, whole-body workouts, camaraderie, and never-ending challenge to be a better and more efficient athlete,” said Maffei.

Mat Parker, Director of Athletics, Activities and Program Development for District 205, said the partnership with the YMCA is part of the overall district plan to offer as many educational and athletic outlets as possible.

“We’re committed to working with organizations like the YMCA to ensure our students can have a robust experience while attending RPS 205, regardless if we offer the program or not.”

This week’s announcement means that members of the junior rowing program who attend Rockford Public Schools will receive a varsity letter at the end of the season.

Posted on 05.10.17