While playing four years of basketball for Blue Valley North, Erin Boxberger didn’t think about possibly picking up another major sport.
But Boxberger is now a collegiate rower and is even thinking about trying for a spot on the 2016 Olympic team.
“It (rowing) all started as something to do in the basketball offseason,” the 2011 BV North graduate said. “My dad, the incessant planner that he is, thought that rowing could give me the opportunity to pursue a sport at the D1 collegiate level and at the high level academic school I was aiming for.”
She ended up at Notre Dame and on the rowing team.
There was a college fair at a summer rowing event that she attended with the Kansas City Rowing Club.
“I stopped by the Notre Dame rowing table,” she said. “I didn’t have many credentials outside of basketball, but in the end, they gave me the chance I needed.”
Boxberger is doing so well in rowing that she was chosen for the United States’ Under 23 national team that captured the U23 World Championship in late July in Linz, Austria.
“Standing on the podium after our race was surreal,” she said. “My muscles ached, my throat was parched, I had sweated off my sunscreen so my skin was burning.
“I started crying when they played the national anthem. It was the greatest moment.”
She is now a junior at Notre Dame and is busy training. The main season for collegiate rowing is the spring. That leads into the trials for international competition.
Boxberger said training is difficult.
“Training for the most part is a long grind, sprinkled with occasional moments of personal and team success that keeps everyone going,” she said. “There is a focus on long, steady state rowing, erging, running and biking.
“We also do weekly sessions that kick up the intensity and push the heart rate up. Basically, there is a base level of endurance that must be built. In the fall, we focus on 6,000-meter testing, but when the spring comes around, we kick in the power and test 2,000-meter pieces.”
With her success at the U23 World Championships, Boxberger is thinking about the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“I want to row in Rio de Janeiro for the USA in 2016,” she said. “I feel like the U23 World Championships this summer flipped a switch on me.
“I got a glimpse of what it is like to find and bond with a group of athletes who are very similar to me in spirit and to experience success alongside these teammates. I have nothing to lose. I always set my goals high.
“Just like the U23 national team, athletes must be invited to train with the senior national team. I hope to get the opportunity to trial and show my speed alongside the nation’s very best. In the end, I only control how fit, strong and effective I made myself as a rower this season and in the coming years.”