Hampson Predicts a UCF Conference Championship Win

April 22, 2010

By Brittany Dixon

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Senior Lauren Hampson began her high school sports career with gymnastics but UCF rowing is grateful that she grew to be 5'10'' and switched from gymnastics to rowing. Hampson is a big asset to the Knights' varsity rowing squad.

This season, Hampson rows with the varsity eight boat and has already garnered six victories. The varsity eight squad has defeated Boston, Miami, Kansas State, Columbia, Navy and nationally ranked Iowa.

Hampson raced with the second varsity eight and varsity four boats her previous years with the Black and Gold. In 2009, she came in third in the finals of the South/Central Regional Championship with the varsity four squad.

Hampson began rowing for social reasons. It was a way to meet new people while exercising and having fun. But as she raced more often, she began to love the sport. The senior wanted to continue rowing into college and looked to UCF because the coaching staff's and team's passions matched hers.

"The coaches really respected the athletes and wanted us to love what we did," Hampson said.

After Hampson came to UCF, the coaching staff changed mid-season in 2008.

"The head coach leaving was such a shock," Hampson said. "But Becky stepped up, took initiative and got us through the year."

Hampson and the team have a chance to win the Conference USA Championship this year, something they have never done before. The first conference championship results will be decided at the South/Central Regional Rowing Championship in May. In 2011, the league will conduct its own regatta.

SMU, Tulsa and UCF are the only three Conference USA teams that sponsor women's rowing.The conference has welcomed six affiliate members of the league: Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

"We're excited about the championship because our conference is very manageable," Hampson said. "I feel that we're one of the top two teams in the conference. We look forward to being able to say we are conference champions and win the ring."

Although the end of her college rowing career is approaching, Hampson plans to keep rowing in her future. After graduation, she plans to get her master's degree in education and have a graduate assistant job coaching a rowing squad.

"Keith Tribble always says he wants us to graduate and be successful later on in life," Hampson said. "I think that because I made it through rowing I'll be able to handle any job situation."

Hampson plans to be a high school history teacher, but also wants to travel the world so she can tell her future students about her adventures.

"I'm a history major and I want to see the things I've been studying for the past four years," Hampson said.

Hampson will miss the women on the team when she leaves after this season. She will especially miss seeing a sunrise every morning with her teammates.

"I'll miss the beautiful weather we experience and having eight people move in perfect unison," Hampson said.

Hampson will compete in her final home regatta with the Knights on May 1 against Alabama on Lake Pickett.

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home for UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.