Hudson’s Elizabeth Northrup helps row the Mercyhurst women to runner-up at the NCAA State Championships
Elizabeth Northrup, a 2019 graduate of Hudson High School, admits she’s still new to rowing.
Northrup is now a sophomore at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania, and has only competed in five total races after entering the sport as a freshman in college.
“Nationals was my fifth race,” Northrup said in a telephone interview. “It’s really a surreal feeling to know that I’ve done that and that I’ve figured it out enough to be in this top boat for our team and come second in the nation.”
In fact, the 5-foot-9 northrup was a key part of Mercyhurst’s team of eight. Both the Lakers’ fours and eights finished second in the NCAA Division II national races held in Sarasota, Florida on May 30th. Mercyhurst was unable to overtake the two-time defending champions Central Oklahoma.
In the eighth race, Northrup was supported by teammates Gabrielle Christello, Olivia Avery, Anna Majek, Grace Skapura, Ann Kathrin Mueller, Emma Lassig, Henley Spracklen and Megan Kilmartin.
Mercyhurst was five seconds behind Central Oklahoma and less than two seconds behind Florida Tech after the first 500 meters of the race. The Lakers moved up to second in the second 500 meters, spinning in a time of 1: 42,806 and leading Florida Tech a second in the first half of the race. Mercyhurst eventually finished in 6: 53.147, just six seconds ahead of Florida Tech.
Northrup said the Nationals performance was especially sweet for the Lakers, considering they went through two quarantines as a team during the spring season and were unable to attend one fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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“Most of it was just seeing and feeling our team come together as one boat,” said Northrup. “Just to have the feeling that this is what we are doing and that it is happening whether we want it or not. We’ve all made the shift, just being able to push it through, push through all the pain and everything we’ve been through. ”All because we know who we are and what we’ve been through.
“That was definitely the greatest thing to know that we got through two quarantines and training during COVID and all of those things. That was definitely the greatest. To know that we did that and to know that I did it individually because it was a roller coaster. “Roller coaster of emotions all semester.”
At Hudson, Northrup did not do college sports and devoted most of her free time to horse riding. She has been ridden for 16 years.
The aspiring junior originally wanted to continue riding for a club team, but since she had a different discipline, she accidentally shifted her focus to rowing instead.
“I kind of left that with my riding,” said Northrup. “I was in the dining room last year and our captain, she somehow grabbed me and said you look like a rower, you should be rowing is not so good.
“I took it really well and figured it out pretty easily. I already had some of the physical fitness from riding and stuff. So that’s how I started and for the first two weeks I got in a boat and went racing. I was in a boat So it was kind of like you just have to find out as you go. It was a lot, but I found out. ”
Northrup had the chance to attend an event in the fall of 2019. However, after surviving winter training, the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately canceled the 2020 spring season and later the 2020 fall season.
While she missed the chance to compete in a racing environment, that time still allowed for more individualized training, according to Northrup.
“We had to go in smaller boats and I had to learn how to actually row in the smaller boats, which is harder to understand,” she said. “That definitely helped me a lot, not having a season this year and working individually on my things all autumn.”
Due to quarantines, Northrup was unable to compete in two of Mercyhurst’s regular races of the season.
In fact, she said the entire team was quarantined prior to the Dad Vail Regatta, one of their nationals qualifying races.
“It was a little nerve-wracking to do 10 days of practice alone and then win this race,” said Northrup. “It was such a cool feeling to know that we were all pulling together and taking care of each other during practice and the race. It’s hard to let go of that and it’s very emotional, I think you could call it distress being alone when your team is racing and you know you can’t be there and you don’t know how to race and how the other team will race.
“We knew what we had up our sleeves, but we didn’t know what they had. That was another big deal. So it was just crazy to win this one and go to the national championships.”
Overall, Northrup said the adversity of the season taught her a lot about rowing, but also taught her a lot about herself.
“I just know that I can get through all of this, still be a team member and improve every day, not just for myself, but also for my team and my coaches and my parents, everyone, family,” she said. “Just to know that I’m at this level, and it’s just unbelievable for me that we have that and I understand that. And of course we will remember getting the trophy for a long time.”