Head of the Rock Regatta attracts universities and students - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Head of the Rock Regatta attracts universities and students

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Rowing competition attracts universities, prospective students

Rowing teams from around the nation take center stage, or river, in this case. At the 28th annual Head of the Rock Regatta in Rockford.

It's not just the collegiate athletes that won today. A younger crowd took advantage of the event to scout for schools.

"The deadline for a lot of universities is almost always the 1st week in November for applications. So kids are starting to look at programs in the fall and making trips to universities," says Mike Bailey,head coach for Purdue's Women's Rowing team.

Today it was the other way around, the colleges made a trip to the kids. The Head of the Rock Regatta brought 1,500 rowers from schools like the University of Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue into Rockford.

Most competitors are from big 10 colleges and clubs, but there was also a growing number of high school students on the Rock River.

Lisa Aiken came here from Chicago to watch the New Trier, a high school team, compete.

"It really shows a lot for these boys and girls at this age, especially. we have freshmen kids, 14-15 year olds. it's a perfect time to start really thinking about getting on in the world," says Aiken.

Her son hasn't started thinking about college quite yet. But when he does, she says he already has some of the resources he needs to start researching schools.

"It's really exciting to think of the possibilities for them if they continue on in this sport. I think it's quite motivating to see the colleges out here," says Aiken.

It's not often all these schools and universities are represented at the same event. Coach Bailey hopes his team was able to capture the attention of prospective student athletes.

"We like to show what we can do, and we have a pretty large program this year in the women's side. and so when people see that we have a big team, a lot of kids will come and say, 'Oh I want to be part of a big university, a big team, a big 10 school."

The Head of the Rock course is two and three quarters of a mile long.

It starts at Martin park, and finishes near the YMCA Log Lodge.

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