How to row from Lake Stevens to CorvallisLake ‘Hometown girl’ Katie Strong accepts full-ride athletic scholarship to Oregon State University BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR Lake Stevens continues to produce outstanding students and athletes and soon-to-be Division One athlete Katie Strong is a perfect example of this trend. Strong has accepted a full athletic scholarship to Oregon State University in rowing.
“Katie is truly a hometown girl,” her mother Cindy Strong said. “She has lived in Lake Stevens all of her life and will graduate in June.”
Strong started rowing with the Lake Stevens Rowing Club (LSRC) only three short years ago and immediately learned rowing fundamentals. Coaches soon realized that she has the qualities it takes to become an advanced rower.
“She was quickly recognized by the club’s coach, Sarah Jones Donaldson, two time Olympian and nine time national team member as having the qualities of a collegiate and national rower,” her mother said. “Sarah began mentoring Katie and Katie’s passion for rowing grew through Sarah’s mentoring.”
Strong didn’t know how much she would love rowing until a friend told her she should check it out.
“My good friend Maria, who is a rower, suggested that I give rowing a try,” Strong said. “I went to a ‘Try Rowing Day’ sponsored by the LSRC and knew that this was a sport that I wanted to learn more about.”
She started rowing for the Everett Rowing Association to increase her skills and become better prepared for collegiate rowing. Last summer she was given the opportunity to row with the U.S. Rowing Women’s National Development Squad.
Strong enjoys many aspects of rowing but looks forward to the big finish.
“I love the last 500 meters of a race when I’m pushing so hard that the muscles in my legs go numb, my lungs burn when I breath in, hearing people yelling ‘go, go’ and then I cross the finish line knowing that I’ve just given it my all. That’s satisfying,” she said.
Oregon State was not the only university vying for Strong. She was offered two full athletic scholarships and had Pac 10 and Big 10 coaches coming to Lake Stevens to recruit her. But OSU’s head coach, Emily Ford, helped her make her decision.
“When the head coach asked me, ‘Do you want to be part of history or make history?’ I knew that I was up for the challenge,” Strong said.
She also liked the feel and beauty of the campus and respects the other coaches at OSU.
“I liked the hometown feeling I felt when I visited OSU,” she said.
While away at college Strong plans to study elementary education with a special education endorsement.
“I’m excited about becoming a teacher. I’ve had some great teachers who have influenced me. I especially want to teach kids who have a hard time learning,” she said.
As far as her future in rowing, Strong looks forward to be the best she can be and giving it her all at OSU.
“I want to contribute to the OSU women’s rowing becoming a top ten program in the country. My ambition is to be selected as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team,” Strong said. “I have the work ethic and determination and now I’m on my way.”