RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Saint Augustine's University is launching the first HBCU women's rowing team in the country.
The team has been in the works since summer 2021 and has already been approved and registered by 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," said ACRA president Cam Brown.
They have been competing virtually. Live water competition is expected to begin as early as Fall 2022.
The only HBCU to sponsor a rowing team has been Howard, which started a program in Washington, DC, in the 1960s. A 1964 Sports Illustrated article gave a historical account of the Howard team. That Howard Crew program came back to the rowing world's attention in 2020 via social media thanks to posts from Rowers for BLM.
"We started looking into Howard and what they had going on, and put us on a little assignment," said SAU junior rowing team member Mikahya Hill in a statement. "We didn't find anything: Just Howard, and that was about as far as rowing at HBCUs went."
The team has a roster of five student-athletes, which currently allows them to compete in the Quad category. The group plans to grow to 10 athletes to compete in the eight categories.
"We're just eager to get on the water already," said Hill in a statement. "We want to get things going and get more dedicated people on the team who want to make a name for ourselves."
The SAU women's rowing team is accepting donations here.
Saint Augustine's University launches first HBCU women's rowing team in the country