National rowing champion


Columbia University sophomore’s father and grandfather are Hillsboro natives

For The Times-Gazette



Rye Walker (far left), a Columbia University sophomore with ties to Hillsboro, is pictured with his national champion rowing team.

Rye Walker (far left), a Columbia University sophomore with ties to Hillsboro, is pictured with his national champion rowing team.


Submitted photo

A Columbia University student with Hillsboro ties found his lane, literally, as a member of a national championship rowing team.

Rye Walker, is the son of 1985 Hillsboro High School graduate Richard Walker and grandson of Dick Walker of S.R. 73, Hillsboro.

Recruited to row for the Ivy League Lightweight Rowing Program at Columbia in New York City, Rye Walker finished his sophomore year winning a gold medal at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships held at Lake Windsor, New Jersey.

It was the third national lightweight rowing title in Columbia’s school history. The gold medal win awarded Columbia The 1922 Trophy, which commemorates the origin of men’s collegiate lightweight rowing in 1922 and is presented to the winner of the men’s lightweight varsity eight grand final at the IRA Championship Regatta.

Racing in the eight-man boat, plus a coxswain, Rye rowed in the eighth seat of the boat, known in the rowing world as the “stroke seat.” The stroke is custodian of the technique and rhythm of the boat, which proved to be executed well on race day.

As the grand final began, the Columbia Lions jumped out to a quick start in the race with a two-second lead after the first 500 meters. The Lions continued to maintain their lead the rest of the way in holding off favored Navy by two full seconds. Columbia crossed the finish line in 5:56.348, setting off a shoreline celebration with spectators and team members.

Competing in the oldest collegiate sport in U.S. history, Rye began rowing on the waters of the Licking River in high school when he discovered the Cincinnati Junior Rowing team and their Newport, Kentucky boathouse.

“Once I got on the water for the first time, there was no turning back. I’ve been rowing ever since” Rye said.

Rye will be returning to Columbia University in the fall to continue his rowing training and junior year of academics.

Information for this story was provided by Kara Schwandner, Rye Walker’s mother.

Rye Walker (far left), a Columbia University sophomore with ties to Hillsboro, is pictured with his national champion rowing team.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/07/web1_Rowing-pic.jpgRye Walker (far left), a Columbia University sophomore with ties to Hillsboro, is pictured with his national champion rowing team. Submitted photo
Columbia University sophomore’s father and grandfather are Hillsboro natives

For The Times-Gazette