July 1, 2016

Mostly cloudy

College rowing: Returning to top, Taylore Urban snares national title

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — New role, same results for Taylore Urban and the Ohio State women’s rowing team.

In her first season with the second varsity eight boat, the Medina graduate ended her collegiate career in style Sunday by helping her crew and the Buckeyes to victories at the NCAA Division I Championships at Eagle Creek Park.

It was the second straight national team title for top-ranked Ohio State and Urban’s third gold medal at nationals after the senior won with the first varsity four the previous two seasons.

“I have a lot of mixed feelings right now,” Urban said. “This was one of goals at the beginning of the season — to be the best crew in the nation and defend our title — and to do that is an incredible feeling.”

Sitting in the stroke seat, Urban guided the second varsity eight to its second title in a row — the first team since Brown in 2003 and ’04 to do so — by crossing the finish line in 6:59.43 to beat Princeton (7:02.02) and Virginia (7:02.69).

That set the stage for the first varsity eight to bring home the title for the Buckeyes, who compiled 126 points to win the crown over Stanford (110) and Virginia (105).

“We really focused on making this race our race,” Urban said. “Obviously, the stakes are higher when you get into large championship races like this, but we went about it like any other race.

“Of course we were nervous, but we used those emotions because it was the last race of the season at Grand Nationals racing for a national championship not just for us, but for our team.”

It was a big adjustment for the 22-year-old to race with on a faster boat with a bigger crew, but she really enjoyed the transition.

Urban had to take on more of a leadership role and was responsible for the other seven rowers behind her in the stroke seat, relaying instructions from the coxswain and setting the tone for the race.

“I was worried that with nine women it wouldn’t be the same camaraderie as with five, but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” she said. “Each and every day, we all were doing everything we could for us to have a good practice or race, and that bond couldn’t be broken for anything.

“I definitely had a leadership role because if I didn’t do my job properly, the other seven can’t do their job effectively. It was so cool my senior year to be able to sit in that seat. It was a lot of pressure, but I enjoyed that.”

Urban, a former gymnast and pole vault specialist with the Bees, has come a long way from competing with the novice team as a freshman. She quickly picked up the sport to be a part of three wins at nationals on two different boats.

She wouldn’t trade the experience for the anything, but it’s also one she will now pass on to future Buckeye rowers as a volunteer assistant coach with the novice program next season.

“It’s been an honor to compete with rowing the last three years,” Urban said. “To take three titles and two team national championships away has been awesome.

“The opportunity to do something greater than myself has been really cool. It’s taught me that excellence is not just something to strive for, but it must be done every single day and I want to give that opportunity to someone else.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.