Earning a high school varsity letter is a point of pride for generations of athletes. Now, thanks to Dallas United Crew (DUC) and its partner schools, rowers from four local high schools will share in the tradition and spirit of wearing their schools’ colors. Rowers from Bishop Lynch High School, Highland Park High School, Lakehill Preparatory School and Woodrow Wilson High School are now eligible for recognition alongside classmates from other sports like football, basketball, volleyball and swimming.
DUC and its partner schools first awarded varsity letters in the spring of 2020. The rowing coaches collaborated with each school’s athletic director to decide the criteria to earn the award, which recognizes athletes consistently rowing at the highest, varsity level as well as those who have shown dedication to the team by rowing three or more years with DUC. Both oarsmen and coxswains are eligible. “We are fortunate and grateful to partner with BL, HP, Woodrow and Lakehill’s athletic departments to award their varsity letters to rowers,” says Program Director and Head Coach, Steve Perry. “Rowing adds to the sports schools can offer, and athletic departments that partner with DUC keep more kids active and learning through sport.”
Being recognized by their school with a varsity letter is not lost on this inaugural class of rowers. “Earning a letter helped me feel a part of my community at school,” says Bishop Lynch junior, Ellie Rodriguez. Teammate, Caroline Craycroft, a Highland Park junior agrees, “Before this, I felt like I lived in divided worlds: school and rowing. This letter brought them together.”
Chloe Dietz, a Woodrow Wilson senior and Columbia University recruit, acknowledges, “Getting my letter was very symbolic of all of my hard work.” Rowers train six days a week, year-round; a varsity letter communicates their dedication and lends scholastic endorsement of their sport on college applications.
Woodrow Wilson High School: Chloe Dietz, Luke Schweizer, Elizabeth Welty, Garrett Botsch and Hudson Price
Bishop Lynch High School: Ellie Rodriguez, Archer Smith
Lakehill Preparation School: Anders Ekstrom
Highland Park High School: Grace Condon, Ava Craycroft, Kate Corey, Georgia Wellborn, Caroline Craycroft and Drew Favors
Coach Perry hopes to expand the spotlight. “Our high school team draws athletes from 26 area high schools. DUC would welcome the chance to partner with any of them to recognize achievement in the sport of rowing. Varsity letters are just one aspect of how we can work together. We also team for off-campus PE credit, National Letter of Intent (NLI) Signing celebrations, and scholar-athlete awards.”
Dallas United Crew is a non-profit organization located on the eastern shores of White Rock Lake. Middle- and High-schoolers interested in learning to row are invited to register for a summer Learn-to-Row camp. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. Details are available at DallasUnitedcrew.org.