In the second floor gymnasium of the Heskett Center on Saturday morning, a wave of rowers competed in 19 different races during Shocker Rowing’s annual Shocker Sprints event.
The event was open to competitive rowers, Wichita State students, and the general public. Calvin Cupp, rowing’s head coach, explained how much he thinks an event like this is a win-win.
“The nice thing is that [you get] racing and meeting people and being exposed to people that you don’t normally get the opportunity to,” Cupp said. “I think that’s part of the student experience. Kansas. We’re doing something and providing something for our students and our community that no one else in the state of Kansas is doing.”
Wichita State exited the event with three first-place finishes in the men’s 2000-meter lightweight, men’s 2000-meter beginner, and men’s 500-meter lightweight.
“It’s a recruiting opportunity,” Cupp said. “There are high school students here. It’s all of these things, what if we didn’t have the Heskett Center [and] if we didn’t have campus recreation as it is, we couldn’t do it.
This year, Shocker Sprints began using new software called TimeTeam to track runners attending the event in-person and virtually. Cupp said the virtual racing has allowed even more competitors from out-of-state and international teams to compete.
“We made it [virtually] because we were still coming out of COVID and had different software,” Cupp said. “The idea is that they [virtual contestants] have a computer that connects your ergometer to a website which then connects to the software there. So, people here use the same software and connect to each other.
In its 15th year, Shocker Sprints is also being used as a way for people to learn about campus recreation, according to Cupp.
“It’s important to us, but more than that, I think it’s really important to our community and it’s important to our university,” Cupp said. “Our athletes get a home race, they get a chance to prove themselves against someone other than themselves. What it also does [is it] it brings awareness to our community and creates exposure for our university.”