Hannah Wagner, St. Cloud High’s state weightlifting champion, will pull some weight in college.
In a boat.
On Wednesday Wagner signed a letter of commitment to compete for the UCF rowing team. She’ll be a preferred walk-on as a freshman, with the prospect of being a scholarship athlete afterward.
It doesn’t sound like the typical signing story you’ve seen this season, but St. Cloud weightlifting coach Cory Aun said UCF’s recruited his lifters before, especially taller ones in the upper weight classes. And, Wagner said, rowing uses the same motion as the pull in the clean and jerk in weightlifting.
It all started with a recent DM on Instagram from a UCF rowing coach following her acceptance into the school, where she plans to major in legal studies political science. Becoming a Knight was high on her list even before an athletic opportunity opened. It’s been a whirlwind 2020 that’s included Wagner winning the Class 2A 183-pound weightlifting state title.
“I got accepted in early February. It was like the second best day of my life,” she said. “Last week I talked with one of the coaches, and went to see a practice and competition, and it turned into the offer. And now I’m all-in, even though I’ve never rowed a day in my life. This wasn’t my plan, but I didn’t want to leave athletics behind when I left here, and I like being on the water.”
Aun said that since rowing isn’t offered in high schools around here, there’s not a large talent pool to draw from, so they definitely look to other sports to fill their ranks.
“Hannah’s athleticism and strength and work ethic will make her a success,” he said.