Cal Poly Humboldt Rowing Makes White House Visit
Cal Poly Humboldt head coach Matt Weise called the visit to the White House a
Cal Poly Humboldt head coach Matt Weise called the visit to the White House a "sports movie ending" to the season. Photo courtesy Cal Poly Humboldt.

Monday, June 12, 2023
by Cal Poly Humboldt University Communications

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Fresh off their NCAA Division II championship victory, the Cal Poly Humboldt women’s rowing team celebrated in style with a visit to the White House on Monday, June 12.

For Humboldt rower Dana Foley, who was named Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) Rower of the Year, the visit was a culmination of a magical season that saw the Lumberjacks win their third Division II championship in program history.

“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.”

The Lumberjacks, along with 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.

Humboldt head coach Matt Weise, the GNAC Coach of the Year, said he couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the season. Weise’s staff, which includes assistant coaches Pat Hyland and Ashley Donnell and volunteer coach Lisa Weise, also earned West Region Staff of the Year from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA).

“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.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and NCAA President 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 in New Jersey, where the Jacks snagged gold in both the varsity 4+and varsity 8+grand finals. It is the third championship for the program and the first for Weise since he was named head coach in 2020.