Saint Augustine's University is making history as the first HBCU in the country to launch a women's row team. The North Carolina historic educational institution has reportedly been working on establishing the team for since summer 2021 and is already making major strides.
According to ABC 11 News, Saint Augustine's has already been approved and registered with the American Collegiate Rowing Association.
"ACRA is proud to do whatever we can to support our sport's growth and encourage SAU and other HBCUs to join our organization," Association President Cam Brown told the news outlet.
So far, the team has only been competing virtual with live water competition expected to pick back up as soon as the Fall 2022 semester.
Before SAU's push for a team, Howard University was the only HBCU to have sponsored a row team. The Bison's row team started in the 1960s and was back in the forefront of the sport in 2020 thanks to the organization, Rowers for BLM.
"We started looking into Howard and what they had going on, and put us on a little assignment," SAU junior rowing team member Mikahya Hill told ABC 11. "We didn't find anything: Just Howard, and that was about as far as rowing at HBCUs went."
SAU's team currently has five members, which qualifies them to compete in the Quad division. The goal is to grow to 10 members to compete in the Eight races.
"We're just eager to get on the water already," Hill added. "We want to get things going and get more dedicated people on the team who want to make a name for ourselves."