Steamboat Springs athlete collects NCAA rowing championship
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In the two years since leaving her hometown for college, Steamboat Springs High School graduate Lark Skov has learned the ins-and-outs of the sport of rowing, and in the process, she’s grown from a walk-on at the University of Washington to a member of the 2019 NCAA national championship rowing team.
“It’s so crazy,” Skov said of winning the Division I national title at Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek Reservoir as a part of the Huskies’ Second Varsity 8. “I remember crossing the finish line, and I was so happy because I knew that I would be national champion. Everybody in my boat was so excited.”
As team members approached the dock, they were greeted by their teammates from the Varsity 8, which raced earlier. They let the crew coming off the water know that they had also won their race — all but ensuring that the University of Washington would collect the overall national title for the fifth time.
The news highlighted a great season and a great week for Skov, who graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 2016. She also has been invited to the 2019 U.S. Rowing U-23 National Team Selection Camp, which will determine the athletes who will compete in the World Championships in Ottensheim, Austria, this summer.
Winning a national title in the sport of rowing was something that Skov never dreamed of while growing up in Steamboat. She spent most of her time on cross-country skis and snow as a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Nordic program. She stopped skiing her junior year, but her need to compete kept driving her.
After a year away from Nordic skiing, she received little interest from colleges to pursue that sport, so she decided the train through the summer. Her performance on an ergometer was enough to get the attention of the coaches at the University of Washington where she was already planning to attend college. She was able to walk onto the rowing team her freshman year.
“It was a huge learning experience,” Skov said of the first year. “My freshman year was really awesome, and since I was a walk-on, they gave me a lot of opportunities that I didn’t necessary deserve. Since I showed potential, they put me in situations where I would grow and learn the most.”
Skov was invited and competed in the Freshman 8 at the Pac-12 Championships to cap off a successful year as a novice rower. She said her sophomore year was a bit rougher as she battled to improve her position on the team. But she stuck with it, and that dedication paid off with a national title in Indianapolis when the University of Washington topped 22 other teams in the Varsity 8, the Second Varsity 8 and the Varsity 4 to sweep past Texas in second and Michigan in third.
It was a surreal moment for the Steamboat Springs native who is expected to graduate from the University of Washington next year and is pursuing degrees in Spanish and linguistics. She also was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic Team for her efforts on the water and in the classroom.
“I decided to go to the University of Washington because I wanted to be in a big city and at a big school,” she said. “I didn’t even know it was one of the leading rowing schools in the country — that was just a coincidence.”
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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