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A new challenge

—Photo courtesy of Davis Brendel SOutheast Valley graduate Josie BreitsprEcher competes for the Creighton rowing team in Omaha, Neb. during an early-morning run.

OMAHA — During her athletic career at Southeast Valley, Josie Breitsprecher was constantly competing.

Breitsprecher started her school year running cross country before shifting indoors to the basketball courts in the winter. She followed that up with track and field before playing softball.

Now, though, after running at Upper Iowa for a year, Breitsprecher has found herself in a sport that isn’t even offered in high school: rowing.

Breitsprecher is currently one of four Iowans on the Creighton rowing team, along with Kortni Carico from Ankeny, Mackenzie Hatcher of Council Bluffs and Bella Trane from Des Moines.

“It’s actually an interesting story,” Breitsprecher said when describing how she became involved in the sport. “I was approached by one of my teachers, Mrs. (Jennifer) Yee, and asked if I’d ever considered rowing because she knew I was a Div. I runner the previous year.

“I told her, ‘I didn’t even know rowing was a thing in the Midwest!'”

From there, the former Jaguar connected with Creighton associate head coach Joy Dobrauc, who is in her 16th season with the program and is a graduate of the school. Daniel Chipps, in his 15th season, serves as the head coach and is also an alum.

The Bluejays are 2-1 on the year with wins over Drake. They also placed third at the Crimson Tide Invitational hosted by Alabama, as Breitsprecher was part of the first varsity 4+ B crew that bested Dayton, clocking a time of 8:39.9.

“I would describe rowing as one of the most intense and worth-while things you could ever do with your life,” Breitsprecher said. “It uses every single muscle group on your body and forces you to push yourself past any limits you had both mentally and physically.

“With rowing, you can either be in a variety of different boat sizes, but at Creighton, we race just two — an eight-person and a four-person — with a coxswain sitting either on the front or the back of the boat to direct the rowers.”

Rowing is a sport at the Summer Olympics with 14 different events being offered. Overall, the United States has won 89 medals in rowing, including 33 golds.

Creighton competes this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma before preparing for the West Coast Conference event in Sacramento, California on May 12.