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Caz athlete transitions from turf to surf

Track, basketball, field hockey star makes big splash on college rowing team

Ellen Burr, center, helps her Boston College teammates carry their racing shell to the water in preparation for a recent race on the Charles River. A standout athlete while attending Cazenovia High School, Burr joined the BC rowing team and experienced much success in her freshman year.

Ellen Burr, center, helps her Boston College teammates carry their racing shell to the water in preparation for a recent race on the Charles River. A standout athlete while attending Cazenovia High School, Burr joined the BC rowing team and experienced much success in her freshman year.

Just eight months after first learning to row competitively, Cazenovia native Ellen Burr has been selected to partake in the 2012 USRowing Women’s National Team Freshman Camp.

Burr, who just completed her freshman year at Boston College as a communications major, had no prior training in the sport and had never sat in a racing shell when she was approached by a coach at the college’s orientation in September 2011. She finished the year as one of BC’s top rowers — usually occupying the fourth-seat on the team’s First Varsity Eight boat and boasting the second fastest women’s rowing time for a 2K race in the school’s history.

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Courtesy BC.edu

Ellen Burr

“I had always been involved in sports in high school, and though I told myself I would go to college solely for academics, I found myself missing athletics. I saw a flyer for the rowing team and thought it sounded interesting … and the rowing coach approached me, initially for my height,” Burr said. “It’s an honor [to be attending the freshman national camp]. I’m really seeing this as an opportunity to get better, because I find that I am a little behind other rowers when it comes to technique. There are some women who have been doing this their whole lives.”

The humble six-foot, 18-year-old was one of 20 athletes across the nation to be asked to attend the freshman national camp, which runs from Friday, June 10 until Friday, June 17 in Seattle, Wash.

Women from illustrious rowing programs such as Yale, Princeton and Cornell were also asked to participate in the camp, which aims to teach technical and physiological basics as well as to expose the athletes to National Team training standards during multiple daily sessions.

While she was sought after by the athletic departments of numerous colleges and universities for her prowess in field hockey, basketball and track, Burr decided to attend BC and concentrate on her studies. Upon joining the women’s rowing program, she and her teammates won numerous competitions, including the Green Monster, Jesuit Invitational, Irving-Christensen Cup and the Knecht Cup, among others.

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