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Chelan’s Karle Pittsinger wins the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship with UW Team

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University of Washington women’s rowing team celebrating their win in the water after the race. (Photo by row2k. Provided courtesy of Karle Pittsinger)

Chelan High School Alumna Karle Pittsinger is a junior at the University of Washington and a member of the UW Women’s Varsity Rowing Team. On May 28, 2017, the team won the 2017 NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship.

The championships were held May 26-28 at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, New Jersey. The team championships were composed of 22 teams, including 11 conferences that were awarded automatic qualification with the remaining 11 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the championship field.

Tears of joy after crossing the finish line. Karle Pittsinger (right) with teammate Phoebe Spoors (left). (Photo by row2k. Provided courtesy of Karle Pittsinger)

Teams with Automatic Qualification:

  • Washington                Pac-12 Conference
  • UCF                              American Athletic Conference
  • Gonzaga                      West Coast Conference
  • Jacksonville                Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
  • Princeton                    The Ivy League
  • Massachusetts           Atlantic 10 Conference
  • Navy                            Patriot League
  • Northeastern             Colonial Athletic Conference
  • Ohio State                  Big Ten Conference
  • Texas                           Big 12 Conference
  • Virginia                       Atlantic Coast Conference

At-Large Teams Selected:

  • Brown
  • California
  • Michigan
  • Stanford
  • Wisconsin
  • Yale
  • Syracuse
  • Washington State
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Notre Dame

The entire UW women’s rowing team after winning the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship. (Photo by Bret Pittsinger)

“I think the coolest moment was when the final boat came down and we had swept, and all of the girls that were in the other boats came in and ran in the water and went and hugged the girls in the other boat,” Pittsinger said of the victory.

Karle throwing discus for Chelan High School. (Photo by Bret Pittsinger)

“I think that moment really sums up the process, and the experience, and the fact that it was a whole ultimate team effort,” she continued. “I can’t emphasize enough how much it was a team effort. It’s not about the fastest boats, it’s about who’s the best team.”

When Pittsinger started at the UW, she continued pursuing track and field in which she had competed during her years at Chelan High School. Her father, Bret Pittsinger, coached her in throwing throughout her high school career. Afterwards, the UW gave her the opportunity to join the track and field team, but Pittsinger explained that college was her time to explore new opportunities. A family friend told her about the UW women’s rowing team, and the idea took hold. Pittsinger was on a new path.

“I was alone for a lot of my training in track, and I saw this team experience in the rowing community and was just amazed by it,” Pittsinger said. “I think it was one of the best decisions of my life.”

“Every single day I remember the Chelan High School gym, the Chelan dirt track, and all the people along the way in high school and middle school who have contributed to my athletic endeavors,” Pittsinger said. “It really does take a village to get to this level in a sport, and I just couldn’t be more thankful for coming from a place like Chelan.”

Karle at the state track meet her senior year at Chelan High School, with her mother Julie Pittsinger and father Bret Pittsinger. (Photo by Chelan High School student)

Pittsinger has been living in Seattle for the past three years, but Chelan is still her home. “I really, really do miss Chelan a lot more as I grow older,” she said.

As to what Pittsinger plans to do after college, she said, “I have thought about rowing after college. I’m really loving what I’m doing in school, studying entrepreneurship and philosophy, and I think that’s another outlet to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

“I could see myself doing that in athletics, or in business or work, but I guess I just hope to be continually challenged,” Pittsinger said. “I think bottom line, I want to be a part of a team.”

Karle Pittsinger (right) with mother Julie Pittsinger (middle) and friend Payton Locklane (left), volunteering at Chelan Man. (Photo by Emma Elsner)

Morning row on Lake Union with teammates: Marlee Blue, Elise Beuke, Bella Chillzuk, Phoebe Spoors, Chiara Ondoli, Calina Schanze, and Val Vogt. (Photo by Haley Yeager)

(By Lauren Getzin)

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