Evan Odom Marietta Purdue Challenge Cup

Article by Brad Colwell


Last March, the 2017 KSUSA US Kneeboard Titles and Festival were held at Oceanside Harbor.  Kneeriders from Japan, Washington, Texas, and throughout California joined the Oceanside locals for the day-long competition which culminated with Tom Backer defending his 2008 Title at the Harbor.  However, one Oceanside local, Evan Odom, was conspicuously absent as he’s continuing his education at Marietta College in southeast Ohio.  Although it was hard for Evan to have to pass on the 2017 Titles this doesn’t mean that he wasn’t competing in March.  Evan is a sophomore on the Varsity 8 Rowing Team and on Saturday, March 25 the Marietta College men’s rowing team captured the annual Marietta/Purdue Challenge Cup.   We asked Evan to tell us a bit more about this event.

Brad: Hi Evan, congratulations on what sounds like a big win for the Marietta College rowing team.  Can you give us some background on this event?

Evan: The Marietta Purdue Challenge Cup has been contested between the two teams for over 60 years now, and Purdue has held the cup for the past five years.  Marietta and Purdue at times have been some of the best teams in the country, and so continuing that competition is both an honor and a very important competition between the two teams.

Brad: As your team looks at the schedule for the year does the Marietta/Purdue Challenge Cup get circled, as a big event your team is gunning for?

Evan: Being the opening race for our season, the Challenge Cup is one of the most significant events we compete in.  Having only one winner and one loser also makes the stakes much more immediate.  Having lost for the fifth time in a row last year left a very sour taste with the Marietta crew, so this race was absolutely one of the bigger races we had this year.

Brad:  What does the yearly schedule actually look like for rowing; when is the Competition Season?

Evan: There are two main seasons for rowing competition.  In the fall, the season is known as Head Race Season, where the races range from about 4,000 meters to 7,500 meters, and the races are held in a time-trial style, with every boat going alone.  In the spring, the sprints are held, which are always held at 2,000 meters.  The Sprint Season is the most important season, and determines who is the fastest crew. There are also summer seasons, but each member of the team trains either on their own or for a club somewhere in the country.

Brad:  How many months does your team actually train; do you train when it’s snowing out?

Evan: Marietta College trains for nine months out of the year, from the middle of August to the end of May.  It is a grueling training season, as part of the year in the winter months, all training is conducted l indoors.  We train on Concept2 rowing machines at least twice a day, and are lifting weights at least twice a week, and either running or biking twice a week.

Brad:  How’s it going in League this year; will your team be able to improve on last year’s performance?

Evan: So far, our top boat has posted faster times than last year at the same events, and have beaten teams we did not last year.  I do think we are much faster than last year.  That being said, other teams have definitely stepped up their speed as well, but I know we are still competitive with some of the top crews in the country.  Our current goal is to finish the year at the Dad Vail regatta in the grand finals, something Marietta College has not done for more than 8 years now.

Brad:  If my recollection is accurate you have been rowing now for about 4 years.  Where are you on the development curve?

Evan: I’m in the middle of my third year of rowing now, and the learning curve has developed from just working on form and general fitness to much more technical approaches when it comes to following the guys in the boat and finding the level of failure consistently, and to push that threshold further than it already is. I have much more improving to do before I reach my physical peak.

Brad: Have you been contacted yet by the United States Olympic Rowing Team in advance of the 2020 Olympics in Japan?

Evan: Haha, no, the process will be very difficult, and almost impossible for me to qualify with a team for Tokyo.  But, a goal of mine is compete on the US National Team someday, and I hope I have the physical and mental capacity to achieve it.

Brad:  How hard was it to miss the 2017 Titles at the Harbor, your home break in Oceanside?

Evan: It was very difficult to hear that I had to stay in Ohio and drive to Georgia for spring break instead of going home to compete, but the commitments I made to my teammates and my own goals in the sport held me there. I am happy the contest was held this year, and to be held at the Harbor was a very positive event for the progress of the sport.

Brad:  When will you be returning home for the summer?

Evan: I will be home at the latest, by early June.  My return depends on whether I decide to stay and compete for the National Championships this year, the IRA.  The length of my stay home also depends on where I decide to train this summer, being at home at the San Diego Rowing club, or a club on the East Coast.

Brad:  Sounds good Evan, thanks for your time.  Let’s meet up for a session at Blacks when you’re back!

Evan: Haha, absolutely, going back home and charging Blacks again with the crew sounds great!