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UCO Rowing Mentorship Program Selected as Finalist for NCAA Division II Award of Excellence

UCO student with Junior Rowing participants using rowing machine

March 10, 2022

Media Contact: Kyla Carter, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2127, kcarter25@uco.edu

UCO Rowing Mentorship Program Selected as Finalist for NCAA Division II Award of Excellence

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Junior Rowing program was selected as a finalist for the 2022 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence, recognizing its initiatives that exemplify the Division II philosophy, community engagement and student-athlete leadership. Central is one of only two institutions in Oklahoma on the list.

UCO launched the Junior Rowing program in fall 2021, a new mentorship program pairing middle and high school students in the local community with university mentors, as well as Central’s three-time defending national champion rowing team.

“To hear that our program made it as a finalist for an NCAA Division II national award was simply wonderful news and I couldn’t wait to share that with our colleagues and the students,” said Rosario Riley, director of talent search, TRiO Upward Bound Math and Science and the McNair Scholars Program at UCO.

“From the first day, the students were enthusiastic and engaged. Each session built upon another, and the students kept wanting more. I believe by making it as a finalist on a national level showcases the level of commitment, not only that UCO has to our community, but that our students truly value learning, mentorship and new experiences.”

The program is designed to introduce students from underserved populations to the sport of rowing and give them the opportunity to learn more about higher education. In addition to the Central rowing program, several other areas across campus are assisting with the program, including Leadership Central, TRiO Upward Bound Math and Science, TRiO Talent Search and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). The sessions offer participating students a wide variety of diverse insights into higher education.

Twenty-six schools and two conferences were selected as finalists for the 2022 Division II Award of Excellence. Division II honors its institutions each year for promoting community engagement and servant leadership within its student-athletes. 

Each finalist received $500, which will be put toward future Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) initiatives or community engagement events.

To view a complete list of the 2022 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence finalists, visit www.ncaa.org/news/2022/1/10/media-center-division-ii-names-2022-award-of-excellence-finalists.aspx.

For more information about the federal education programs, including TRiO and GEAR UP offered at Central, visit www.uco.edu/student-resources/federal-education-programs/.

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Editor's Notehttps://media.uco.edu/Press/uploads/2022/03/row-pic-5.jpg

Cutline: The University of Central Oklahoma’s Junior Rowing program was selected as a finalist for the 2022 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence, recognizing its initiatives that exemplify the Division II philosophy, community engagement and student-athlete leadership. Central is one of only two institutions in Oklahoma on the list. Pictured, a program participant with UCO rower Kelsey Woellmer, a junior health sciences major from Sedona, Arizona.