Brooke Aberle is looking forward to establishing a boatload of new memories in playing a sport in the Pac-12 Conference.
Before the recent Lodi High graduate sets sail on playing a collegiate sport, Aberle stood tall as a three-sport athlete for the Flames.
Next month, Aberle will be attending Washington State in Pullman, Wash. A health communications major, Aberle will also be a part of the Cougars’ women’s rowing team — a sport she has been training heavily for in recent months. There are two seasons for collegiate rowing; September through November and March to May. The fall season is longer distance rowing and the spring is a shorter distance rowing.
Rowing is a sport that involves propelling a boat, with the use of oars. The oars are pushed against the water. There are eight- and four-man boats used for competitions, but single and two-man boats are used for training.
“I love that it has the team aspect, which I love,” Aberle said.
Aberle, now standing an even 6-foot, said she got the idea of competing in rowing in March from her physical therapist, Dr. Monty Merrill. His daughter, Hannah rowed at the University of Alabama earlier this decade.
“I know that she rode with Alabama,” Aberle said. “He told me she did it right out of high school. I figured I’d give a shot. He was the one who inspired me.”
Then Aberle started taking part in works outs at the Stockton Rowing Club, which helps develop skills of people who are planning to row in college or club.
“I decided ‘you know what? I can see myself doing this for the next four years,’ ” Aberle said.
Aberle has gone through early practices that usually begin at 6 or 8 a.m.. The practices are held early in the mornings because the current is steady.
“After going through some sessions with my coach (Pat Tirone), I’m starting to get the hang of it,” Aberle said. “My muscle memory is starting to kick in.”
Now in the process of becoming a Division I collegiate student-athlete, Aberle is putting in more time in the gym. That includes using a rowing machine to build up technique and strength four to five times a week. That’s not counting the time she spends on the rowing machine at the Stockton Rowing Club. She’ll spend 30-45 minutes each time on the rowing machine, plus weight lifting.
“It really motivates me to practice more because I’ll be held to a higher standard,” Aberle said. “I’m going to be with girls who have been doing this sport for a long time.”
Then Aberle, who was already looking at Washington State from the academic standpoint, contacted the college’s women’s rowing head coach Jane Lariviere.
“I asked her if they have a club team,” said Aberle of their conversation.
Then the coaches wanted to meet with Aberle in person. Next stop was a road trip to Washington state.
“I loved it,” said Aberle of her visit to the campus. “You know, it made me feel like a lot like home; it reminded me of Lodi. I’ve always wanted that big-school experience, with the Pac-12 football and all of that. I knew I wanted to go here.”
Aberle said that she would be competing on the novice team her freshman year. She has not been offered a scholarship, but if all goes well, Aberle could earn some type of scholarship entering her sophomore year at Washington State.
There are 17 incoming freshmen who are projected to be on the Huskies’ novice team, with Aberle being one of them.
According to Washington State athletics’ website — wsucourgars.com — there were 10 seniors on the 2018-19 women’s rowing team. There were also 10 juniors on the team.
Out of the juniors, sophomores and freshmen from this past season, Aberle and incoming freshmen look like they could be getting a crash-course in world history. Some of the women in the program are from Canada, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Ukraine and Estonia.
“It’s something I’ve never experienced before,” Aberle said. “I can’t wait to be exposed to the different cultures of my new foreign teammates.”
There are women in the program from the states of Washington state, Missouri, Oregon and Minnesota. There is one player on the squad who graduated from Bella Vista High of Fair Oaks in the Sacramento area.
At this time last year, Aberle was hoping to land some type of college scholarship to play basketball — one of three sports she played at Lodi High. Her court resume spoke volumes; a three-year starter, she was named the Tri-City Athletic League’s co-MVP her junior year in which she averaged 12.5 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game. Last winter, Aberle averaged 12 points.
What would Aberle have said at this time last summer that she’d be playing at a Pac-12 Conference college but not the sport she has been playing before she started kindergarten?
“I would have said ‘no way,’” laughed Aberle. “Honestly, my mind was so focused on basketball last summer.”
That included playing many AAU games and tournaments in the region and out-of-state. There were some four-year colleges, Aberle said, that expressed interest but she didn’t necessarily wanted to attend.
“I thought ‘you know what? I’m just going to weigh my options,” Aberle said.
Aberle ended her Lodi High athletic career playing girls basketball, plus cross-country and track and field.
Before she graduated from Lodi High toward the end of May, Aberle was on the Lodi High 4x400 girls relay team that finished in the top three at the section’s Masters Track and Field at Davis High of Davis. Aberle was part of the team with Paige Sefried — who is going to Oregon State on a scholarship — Jackie Westerterp and Amelia Ellison. They advanced to the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships a week later, but were eliminated in the preliminaries.
Now the 18 year-old Aberle is ready to write another chapter in her athletic career in a different sport.
“I am excited to move on,” Aberle said. “I’m ready for this. I am prepared to succeed in my school work.”
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.