A unique fall signing day

Two senior rowers signed their National Letters of Intent in the West High cafeteria Nov. 9.


Ceci De Young

Camille Gretter ’23 and Emily Elizalde ’23 pose for a photo in the West High cafeteria moments before signing their National Letters of Intent Nov. 9.

Ella De Young and Lily Prochaska

When one thinks of a high school student-athlete, it is highly likely that they picture a student who participates in a sport for a particular school. However, West High seniors Emily Elizalde and Camille Gretter break this norm as student-athletes who solely compete for a team outside of West — a rowing club.

Elizalde and Gretter row for the Hawkeye Community Rowing Program ran through the University of Iowa Recreational Services. Elizalde has been rowing in the club for four years now, while Gretter has been rowing there for three years. Throughout these years, they have both spent abundant time practicing and traveling across the nation to compete. Their hard work has now paid off in the form of Division 1 college commitments and signings.

Elizalde will head off to Clemson, South Carolina in the fall of 2023 as she has committed to be a rowing Clemson University tiger. She plans to study health science or sports medicine to eventually end up with a career in physical therapy or athletic training. She details what made Clemson the right fit for her.

“I wanted a college that made up the town, and Clemson has 10,000 people without the college,” Elizalde said. “Then, I also wanted a program that was heavily funded and that was competitive; Clemson just felt like home.”

Gretter will stay closer to Iowa City than Elizalde, but she will still have a two-hour drive in the fall of 2023 to her new home of Drake University in Des Moines. Gretter has committed to be a coxswain at Drake, helping to steer the bulldogs in the direction of success. She will be majoring in public relations and minoring in marketing. Gretter describes why she ultimately chose to continue her academic and athletic career at Drake.

“I wanted a smaller school in the Midwest that I could still row at that wasn’t too far away from home,” Gretter said. “Drake checked off all the boxes, and they have really good scholarship opportunities. So, it’s not going to be that expensive, which is good. Also the coaches are great.”

As Elizalde currently finishes her senior year and her time in Hawkeye Community Rowing, she shares her advice for rising high school students and anyone else willing to try something new.

“Everyone should give rowing a try,” Elizalde said. “You never know; I gave it a try and look where we are.”