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History of the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship
Before the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association was formed, there existed a Central States Schoolboy Championship (there were no high school girls competing in the region at that time) beginning in the late 1950s, and active in the 1960s through about 1978. The Central States Schoolboy Championship included high schools from Chicago (no longer rowing: Lane Tech, Weber), South St. Paul HS (MN), St. John’s Military Academy (WI), Culver Academies (IN), along with Ecorse BC and Roosevelt HS from Detroit. Racing during that time often included competing against adult clubs and college freshmen, due to the limited number of high school aged competition. As a few high school rowing programs ceased to exist (those rowing from Lincoln Park BC in Chicago, St. John’s Military, South St. Paul) many more were established (Wheeling and Parkersburg, WV and Marietta, OH) the Central States Schoolboy Championship disappeared.
The Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association was organized in the fall of 1983 with two purposes:
The first Midwest Scholastic Championship Regatta was held in Culver, Indiana and was hosted by Culver Academies on May 12, 1984. Ten schools and two clubs attended the first regatta and competed in fourteen events for boys (1500 meters) and seven events, three with a single entry, for girls (1000 meters).
The Association even included crews from Kansas and Tennessee for a while. The number of events also grew. There were 52 schools and clubs racing in 44 final events at the 2000 Championship. Continuing conflict (racing “youth” and “varsity” crews together or separately; 1500 meters vs. 2000 meters; adding “youth” events; and the enormous size of the regatta and the number of heats and finals due to growing participation) between “club” and “single school” programs caused the Association to separate into two organizations in the fall of 2000.
“Clubs” versus Schools: Youth rowing “clubs”, drawing athletes from more than one high school, had been a part of the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association since the beginning. In the first championship, two “clubs” raced in 1984: Mendota Rowing Club and Cincinnati Outdoor Cooperative (a precursor of the Cincinnati Junior RC).
Beginning in 1989, “clubs” that had more than four rowers of the same gender on their team, were required to race as the “high school”–their “club” instead of mixed together just as the “club.” Over the years, some member schools became concerned about the participation against clubs that could potentially recruit from the best athletes at several high schools, and restrictions of the Michigan High School Athletic Association on its member schools. Separate “youth” and “scholastic” (single school) events were established starting in 1991. “Youth” events are open to either “clubs” or schools, while in the “scholastic” events, only athletes that attend the same school are allowed.
After the 2000 championship, the Association separated into two organizations with the single school programs (“scholastic”) remaining as the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Association, and the clubs forming the Midwest Junior Rowing Association. The MSRA retains its championship on the second weekend of May and races 1500 meters, while the MJRA has its championship on the third weekend of May and will race 2000 meters.