CR athletes transition from Eagles to Hawkeyes in football, rowing

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

Janelle Burr, left, and Colten Rastetter, right, are enjoying college-level athletics at the University of Iowa. (Photos submitted)

By Molly Moser

Many talented athletes graduated from Clayton Ridge High School in 2015, and two classmates are now competing on the collegiate level at the University of Iowa. Colton Rastetter, son of Julie and Thor Rastetter of Guttenberg, has been a part of an undefeated season for the Hawkeye football team. Janelle Burr, daughter of Raynelle and James Burr of Guttenberg, joined the Iowa rowing team when she started school this fall. 

Burr consistently participated in volleyball and basketball during high school, and competed in a single season of track and field. “Growing up, I never imagined sports as part of my life. Although I always felt pressed because of my friends and the assumed athleticism that came with my height, I have never been a star athlete. I figured that once I left high school, I would cease to participate in sports because I wasn't at the level that most collegiate athletes are on,” she told The Press. “Now that I'm here, however, I'm beyond excited to see what rowing holds for me.”

Burr was recruited during an informational fair at her University of Iowa orientation. “A couple girls (a rower and a coxswain) grabbed me from behind and bombarded me with enthusiasm and brought me over to the rowing team's table at the info fair. Coach Julie Quoss (the novice coach and talent transfer person) started talking to my parents about rowing. So I was encouraged to join because of my height advantage and build. They gave me some information, and I went to the initial meeting and from there got my physical and started practice. It was totally out of the blue, but I'm so glad it happened,” Burr told The Press.

“Rowing is kind of a unique sport, and it's one you have to watch or actually do before you realize how hard it is. The boats we use are of varied size (1 person, 2 person, 4 person and 8 person; as a novice I've only been in an 8). The rowers fill up those seats and face the stern (back) of the boat, so we can't actually see where we're going. Then, there's a small person called a coxswain who sits in either the front or back of the boat (depending on the boat) and they steer us and basically coach us on the water. The competitions are boat races of varying length,” Burr explained. “As a rower, you have to keep your weight set, watch the height of your oars, and follow the stride of the person in front of you to keep the boat from tipping and keep moving forward. In the boat, your feet are stationary in the shoes built into the boat, and your seat slides back and forth so you can get the most reach and the longest stroke.” 

“The biggest lessons I've learned from my teammates, coaches, and experiences so far is that it always gets better, and that giving up is never an option. For example, as much as I hate running, I've learned that once you finish, there is no better feeling in the world,” said Burr. “I thank everyone – my past teammates, coaches, and fans – who have pushed me and helped me push myself to reach the point I am at now.”

Rastetter never imagined he’d be playing for the Iowa Hawkeyes, simply because the idea seemed too far-fetched. “Growing up if you were to tell me that I would be playing football for the Iowa Hawkeyes, I would have said, ‘That’s a false statement.’ This level of a college sport is indescribable – but I am just following a childhood dream.”

Though Rastetter participated in football, basketball, baseball, and track at Clayton Ridge, he admits that the transition from high school to college sports was difficult at first. “Responsibility and accountability are thrown on your shoulders a little more. I knew prior to starting this adventure that football was going to be hard, but I had no clue it was going to be a full time job. I have no control over my schedule like I did during high school.”

Both athletes agree that the intensity of the competition, even during practice, is much higher now that they’re playing at a college level. “Everyone is good; day in and day out you are always competing for a spot and your spot can be taken at any given moment,” Rastetter explained. Burr shares that sentiment. “College sports are much more intense than high school sports, as well as more competitive. In college, you need to compete each day at practice to show your worth.”

“The biggest lessons I have learned so far are to come prepared, be on time, and give your full effort with anything you do. Balancing time is the key factor in being a student athlete,” said Rastetter. He was a preferred walk-on this fall. "I already made the team, they just did not have a scholarship to give to me. Being a walk-on simply is just another player that is paying for his education; I do everything that a scholarship guy does but the expenses are out of my own pocket."

In spite of their busy schedules, Rastetter and Burr have felt the love from their families and community at home during their first months as collegiate athletes. “I know it made my parents sad to think that high school was my last hurrah for sports, but now they get to witness something entirely different. As for the community, I haven't been home much because of practice and college, but whenever I am home I only get encouragement and congratulations,” said Burr. 

Rastetter agrees. “So far during this unbelievable adventure, I have felt a very strong support base from my family, my friends, my community, my high school teachers, and my high school coaches. It is always awesome to see people from back home at the games supporting.”

Rate this article: 
No votes yet