Lauren burright

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Benton senior Lauren Burright poses with teammates after signing to join Kansas rowing team Monday.

The national signing period opened last week, and a number of area high school student-athletes signed to continue their careers at the next level.

Among them was Benton senior Lauren Burright, but she won’t be playing a sport she’s been seen competing in before.

Burright signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Kansas rowing team Monday afternoon.

Although she has admittedly never rowed on water before, Burright said she thinks her skill set will translate well.

“I just wanna make sure I give all the effort that I can,” Burright said. “I know it’s gonna be a new thing for me, but I’m pretty athletic, they know that I can do it, so as long as they’re encouraging me, I think I’ll be great.”

Burright said she initially became interested in rowing while watching her cousin compete with the KU rowing team.

“I went and watched her, and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s pretty cool, I bet I could do that,’” Burright said.

From there, Burright said she started to pursue a spot on the team.

“I went to their prospect day, signed up, went to their Zoom call, had an interview, and then they invited me on an official visit,” Burright said, “and whenever I was on my official visit, they decided to give me an offer, and I took it.”

After being a member of the Benton girls basketball team, which made it to the final four last season, and the volleyball team, Burright said the team atmosphere attracted her to the sport of rowing.

“They really, really care about you a lot, and it was very similar to a family aspect, as it was in our basketball team, in our volleyball team,” Burright said. “It was really important to me to have a community when I went to college, and I found that whenever I went on my visit.”

Once she decided she wanted to pursue rowing, Burright said she and her parents spent a lot of time learning about what it took to succeed at the sport. She said it turned out that she already had some of the background to be a rower.

“I already do some of the workouts that they do for basketball, because it’s an endurance sport,” Burright said. “Through CrossFit, I did rowing and stuff like that, so I had some of the aspects already that it takes to be a rower.”

Burright becomes the second Benton student-athlete to row at KU. While she said she wasn’t aware of the lineage, she said she’s excited to continue the legacy of a non-traditional sport.

“You don’t really think about rowing whenever you’re in Missouri, because there’s not a lot of places you have the opportunity to do that,” Burright said. “It’s really exciting to me, and it’s gonna be really fun.”

Jacob Lang can be reached at Follow him on twitter: @NPNowLang.

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