"The MAAC is excited about the addition of the Jacksonville men's and women's rowing programs and their participation in the MAAC Rowing Championships will add even more excitement to an already competitive field," Jamie Fogarty, Senior Associate AD/SWA at Iona College and chair of the MAAC Rowing Committee, stated. "As the women's rowing programs throughout the MAAC look forward to automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship in 2013, the addition of another talented team will contribute positively to the depth of the conference and the competition for the AQ slot."
"This is a wonderful opportunity for our rowing programs to enhance their identities with a conference home," Jacksonville Director of Athletics Alan Verlander said. "Our women's team now has the opportunity to compete for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship which is the goal for all of our programs."
The Jacksonville women's rowing program began in the 1970s. The team won the Novice 8 in the 1998 Dad's Vail. In 2008, the Varsity 4 team took first in the Dad's Vail, and in 2009 JU's women won the state championship. Last year, the team reached its first Dad's Vail final in 10 years (Varsity 8).
"Being part of a conference championship brings significant benefits to the student-athletes and it should give everyone a little more motivation," Jacksonville head women's rowing coach Kris Muhl stated. "It sends a clear message that our eventual goal is not just to get to the NCAA's, but to be a contender.''
The Dolphins' men's program was established in 1956 and has won Dad's Vail events 10 times. Two years ago, the team was invited to the IRA championships.
"We couldn't be happier about joining the MAAC," Jacksonville head men's rowing coach Jim Mitchell added. "I think it will bring a good level of competition and spirit to the conference, both academically and athletically, and our student-athletes will benefit from being in such a competitive and well-organized conference."
The 2012 MAAC Rowing Championships will take place on Sunday, April 28 at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J. Lake Mercer will also serve as the site for the 2012 NCAA Rowing Championships on May 25-27, hosted by the MAAC and Rider University.