Ferner will row with "grit" at UNC

Ferner will row with "grit" at UNC
Posted on 06/02/2017

Ferner will row with “grit”

at UNC-Chapel Hill


According to Lauren Ferner, the sport of rowing requires great precision and synchronization. “It’s not about who rows the hardest, but how rowers match the rest of the crew.  They need to all be on the same page physically and mentally, and no one can falter when getting tired,” said Ferner.

“It takes grit, but being able to persevere for the betterment of the team is incredibly rewarding,” added Ferner.

A swimmer with grit for the past decade, Ferner is taking her love of the water and the physical demands of competitive swimming to another level—rowing for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Finishing her senior year at Hickory High, Ferner was recruited by some notable universities, but she chose UNC. “I loved the campus, the people and the school’s reputation for excellence in academics and athletics,” said Ferner. “On my recruiting trip to Carolina, I was impressed by the opportunities and support given to student-athletes.”

A recipient of the NCAA athletic scholarship, Ferner will row annually for two seasons at UNC—in the fall and the spring. “The fall races are 5K distance and the spring races are 2K sprints. The winter training is indoors on rowing machines, called ergometers, or ‘ergs’ for short,” said Ferner. At UNC, Ferner will row for Coaches Anthony Brock and Sarah Haney.

As a member of the Hickory High swim team during all four years of high school, Ferner is also a state champion in swimming, as her HHS team won the 3A State Swimming Championship in the 200 freestyle relay. In addition, she swam for ten years at the Hickory Foundation YMCA.

“My background in swimming is beneficial to rowing,” said Ferner. “There are many swimmers turned rowers on collegiate teams throughout the country. My height is an asset because taller rowers get more distance per stroke,” she said.

Surprisingly, with Ferner’s clear passion for rowing, she didn’t start the sport until September 2016.  Ferner took up rowing at Belmont Rowing Center under coaches Wade Glaser and Austen Michelle Lax (who happened to row at UNC).  The Belmont Rowing Center is based at the Riverside Marina in Belmont, NC.

“I began rowing in the novice program but I took to the sport quickly and moved up to the varsity boat for my first regatta,” said Ferner. “My swimming background, strength and height seem to fit the sport very well and I often practice with the varsity boys.”

 “Working with Lauren for the past year as her coach has been extremely rewarding,” said Coach Lax. “Lauren started off in the fall in our novice rowing program and immediately stood out as one of our top athletes. She picked up the technical aspects of the sport quickly and, combined with her strength, was moved up to the varsity team within roughly a month. Lauren is an incredibly hardworking and coachable athlete.

“Watching Lauren attack every new workout and technical focus has set a great example for not only her fellow varsity teammates, but the current novice class as well. Her dedication and enthusiasm have helped our team build a positive culture in our relatively new rowing program. I look forward to hearing about Lauren's success at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Having witnessed her growth and determination first hand, I know she will do extremely well both academically and athletically in college,” added Coach Lax. 

With Ferner’s commitment to rowing and swimming, she still managed to squeeze in additional school activities. At Hickory High, Ferner served as the President of the National Honor Society and she was a member of the Beta Club. Ferner is also recognized as an Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar.

The daughter of Colleen and Jeff Ferner, Lauren Ferner was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, but moved to Hickory at the age of two.  She’s a lifelong product of Hickory Public Schools, having attended Oakwood Elementary, Grandview Middle and soon, she will graduate from Hickory High. Her brother, Ryan, is a junior at Duke University, which is located only eight miles away from UNC. “It will be fun to be part of the UNC / Duke rivalry,” said Ferner.

Getting in the boats at UNC, Lauren Ferner will surely pull out some of the Hickory “grit” as she represents the Tar Heels, rowing against some of the best teams in the nation.

Congratulations, Lauren Ferner—we wish you the best at UNC!

(Post/photo by Beverly Snowden, HPS director of communications)


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