By Carey Reeder
Special to The Tuscaloosa News

The University of Alabama rowing team’s season gets underway Saturday as it travels to Oklahoma City for the Head of the Oklahoma race.

The race is a part of the Oklahoma Regatta Festival, which concludes Sunday.

Glenn Putyrae was hired as the new head coach of the rowing team in June, replacing longtime coach Larry Davis after 12 seasons at the helm.

Putyrae comes from Gonzaga University where he won five of the last seven West Coast Conference championships (2013, 2015-18). Putyrae will bring in a new coaching staff including assistants Gracie Barbara and Madison Keaty. James Mulcahy remains on the staff for his third season.

“I can share some perspective with the athletes from my experiences to hopefully guide them in the right direction,” Putyrae said. “The goal is to use that perspective the drive them to greater success, in everything they do.”

Alabama is coming off a fifth-place finish last year at the Big 12 championships including sending a team to compete in all five of the Grand Final races. The team medaled in three races for the second consecutive year earning bronze in all three races.

“Rowing is a racing sport so it’s up to the team to decide how fast you go to reach the goals you have set,” Putyrae said. “From there we can gauge how we want our season to go.”

With the departure of Nicole Lane who earned a selection to the Collegiate RowingCoaches Association (CRCA) All-Conference team and All-Big 12 honors last season, a new group of rowers look to put their name in the conversation for national awards. Senior Lauren Fehr and junior Virginia Dodenhoff will see their roles expanded this year.

“I think we have a good mix of experienced athletes and newcomers to the program,” Putyrae said. “A good mix like that can produce great things in the future for us.”

Events on Saturday at the festival begin at 10 a.m.