Cal Poly Humboldt

National champion Lumberjacks honored at the White House

Photos by Cal Poly Humboldt Athletics – The Cal Poly Humboldt women celebrate their national championship at the White House on Monday.

On Monday, the Lumberjacks got the “sports movie ending” head coach Matt Weise had hoped for.

Two weeks after winning the program’s third NCAA Division-II national championship in 12 years, the Cal Poly Humboldt Women’s Rowing team celebrated that historic achievement with a visit to the White House.

The Lumberjacks, along with national rowing champions from Divisions I and III, attended the event as part of the White House’s College Athlete Day, which seeks to celebrate the NCAA’s national champions across all divisions and sports.

And for Weise, who is the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, it was a fitting conclusion to a season he and his rowers won’t easily forget.

“I talked to my wife a week before the championship and I said I wanted my ‘sports movie ending’ to this season, because it’s been so good,” Weise said. “There’s not a much better ‘sports movie ending’ than being at the White House.”

For Humboldt rower Dana Foley, who was named GNAC Rower of the Year, Monday’s visit was a culmination of a magical season.

“I feel really happy to be here today with this particular team,” Foley said. “To end up here, at the White House, where everything feels very special and gold, I am just really happy to share it with everyone.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, and President of the NCAA Charlie Baker presided over the ceremony.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Humboldt athletic director Nick Pettit said. “Celebrating (this team’s) achievements as national champions, being in front of the White House, and seeing their faces is a really special thing, not just for them, but for the whole community.”

Humboldt earned its invitation to the exclusive event after winning the NCAA Division-II title on May 27 at Cooper River Park in New Jersey, where the Jacks snagged gold in both the Fours and Eights grand finals. 

Weise was named head coach of the program in 2020 and his staff includes assistant coaches Pat Hyland and Ashley Donnell and volunteer coach Lisa Weise, all of whom also earned West Region Staff of the Year from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA).

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