Westlake senior will row for University of Alabama

Avery Douglas and her parents on signing day at Westlake High

Westlake High School senior Avery Douglas’s rowing career began largely on a whim after seeing people use the rowing machines at the Westlake Recreation Center. The first time she attempted a 2K on the erg machine, her time was in the collegiate range!

She thought the erg was fun, so she decided to try rowing on the water and joined the non-profit Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center in Cleveland. The Foundry features a club team for middle and high school students interested in rowing. All abilities are welcome to join, including first-time rowers with no rowing background.  

Avery started rowing for CFJ the spring of 2022. She and her teammates qualified in the U17 4X boat at Junior Nationals in Sarasota, Florida. Competing at Junior Nationals is what really made her realize how much she loved the sport and set the wheels in motion for the following season.

Avery focused on college recruitment after her experience at Nationals. Once she realized how much she loved the sport and the incredible opportunity, she decided to pursue rowing year-round. Rowing provides the greatest number of D1 and D2 scholarship opportunities for high school women today. 

Having been on the cross country, soccer and basketball teams at Westlake High School, Avery left those behind to become serious about her off season training, which led her to compete internationally.

Avery performed well at the World Indoor Rowing Championships, Crash-B Sprints, and at the U19 National Team ID Camp. After improving and performing well all winter and spring, she was invited to U.S. Rowing U19 Selection Development Camp in Dayton, where she trained for four weeks with the top rowing coaches in the country.

She thrived in the competitive environment and was chosen for the 1V8 boat which took home a gold and a bronze at Summer Nationals. Soon after, she was one of only 50 female athletes from across the country to be named to the U.S. Rowing Honor Roll which takes into account scholastic and athletic accomplishments.

There were numerous unofficial and official visits all over the country with many scholarship offers to consider. Avery narrowed it down to University of Washington, University of California Berkeley, University of Virginia, University of Connecticut, and University of Alabama.

At the University of Alabama, Avery was impressed with what they had to offer both athletically and academically. Avery plans on studying Nutrition and Biochemistry in the Honors College at Alabama. 

Nick Ranallo, Athletic Director at Westlake High School, remarked, “Westlake is so very proud of Avery for making the commitment to further her academic and athletic career at such a prestigious institution as the University of Alabama. Her work ethic, dedication, and discipline makes her an immediate asset to the school and rowing team. We know she is going to have great success at Alabama just like she has here at Westlake High School.”

Avery’s father, Ryan Douglas added, “I am extremely proud of Avery and how she handled the entire recruiting process. Her mom and I were very hands off and Avery talked to all of the coaches herself and made all of her own decisions along the way with very little influence from us.”

In January, Avery will attend a special camp in Chula Vista, California, hoping to secure an invite to U19 National Team try-outs. Her other goal is to qualify for Junior Nationals once again with her CFJ teammates at the Foundry.

Michael Ferry and Angela Douglas

Managing Director at the Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center and Supporter of Community Journalism

Read More on Schools
Volume 15, Issue 23, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.19.2023