Not in Illinois anymore: Freshman comes to Kansas, rows


File Photo/Hannah Roberts

The women’s varisty rowing team practices on the Little Arkansas River on Wednesday morning. Coach Calvin Cupp motivated his team saying, “Remind yourself everyday that what you do matters.” (Sept. 21, 2017)

Before the sun even rises, freshman Jack Drexler can be found on the Arkansas River. Along with seven other men, Drexler is a member of the men’s novice rowing team.

Drexler, a native of Crystal Lake, Illinois who has been rowing for three years, said Wichita State is the ideal school for him.

“I can row, study sports management, support an awesome basketball team, and not have to pay $45K a year,” Drexler said. “I can get both the big city and small town vibe from being here.”

For Drexler, a normal day is pretty straightforward. He wakes up at 5:20 a.m. for practice on the river. Then, if he’s not in class, he can usually be found eating, sleeping, watching TV or playing video games with friends.

Drexler said he has struggled to adjust to living on his own.

“I’m used to my parents being a big part of my life at home,” Drexler said. “So, it’s been strange having them be so far away from me.”

However, Drexler said the rowing team has become somewhat of a family to him.

“Rowing teams are always super close because of the chemistry required in order to have a successful boat,” Drexler said.

He said he sees very little difference between rowing in Illinois And rowing in Kansas.

“We are practicing the same sport so some of the warm-ups are similar,” Drexler said. “But it is a little strange not being the biggest guy on the team.”

Drexler is currently a part of the novice division, where all new Wichita State rowers begin. He said he hopes to move up to varsity in the near future.

“I want to get the opportunity to row with the other varsity men at a regatta sometime this year,” Drexler said.

Since its introduction to Wichita State in 1974, the rowing team has built up a legacy, placing at multiple regional and national competitions. Drexel said he hopes to contribute to the team’s legacy.

He has plenty to look forward to. The rowing team has their first official meet next weekend, Oct. 7, in Oklahoma City, where Drexler is expected to row.