Kingsport's Hallock tackles new challenges for college

Greg Peters • Jan 6, 2018 at 4:30 PM

Football, basketball and baseball scholarships are common for this area, but rowing ? Not exactly a sport that you will find in the Scoreboard section of the newspaper. But then Ashley Hallock is by no means "common" in her intensity and drive.

The Sullivan South senior signed a rowing scholarship with Jacksonville University, despite the fact she had never competed in the water.

The road to the scholarship had its ups and downs as Hallock had to overcome two ACL injuries, intense rehabilitation, and start a new sport.

"I tore the ACL in my knee during basketball tryouts in May before my freshman year," said Hallock. "I committed myself to serious rehab and was medically cleared to play in four months, only to return and tear the other ACL four months later."

Once again, Hallock made her way back to the court for her sophomore season but the two injuries had taken a toll on both knees.

A strong interest in fitness led the way to Crossfit where she discovered the Erg machine. The Erg (short for ergometer) machine allows an athlete to follow the same pattern of that of a normal rowing stroke and can be used by coaches to evaluate rowers.

"After my sophomore year, I started watching some of the Crossfit competitions and I decided with a friend of mine to find a local gym and start. The Erg was part of the workouts and it was good for my knees as well as great cardio," added Hallock.

As her skill on the machine improved, so began a search for camps and schools that offered the sport - a search that led to a rowing camp at Jacksonville University. In 2017, there were 152 colleges that offered rowing programs.

"Out of all those that went to the camp at Jacksonville, there were only three of us who had never rowed competitively, but luckily they used an Erg and I did have the experience there," said Hallock.

Her fitness level at last year's camp impressed Jacksonville University rowing coach Mike Lane who offered her a scholarship even though she had never competed in the water. Lane took over the Jacksonville University program in 2015 after spending eight seasons at the University of Pennsylvania.

"We have offered scholarships before to those who have not competed before but not very often," said Lane. "We had the pleasure to meet Ashley last summer and were excited about her performance and her superior fitness level."

Her scholarship is both athletic and academic, representing her hard work in the classroom as well.

"Rowing is the only Division 1 sport where you can walk onto campus and immediately compete," added Lane. "As long as the athletic fitness is on point, then we can teach the rest. Athletes like Ashley are few and far between, but we met her, her parents were great, and it only made sense to make an offer."

Jacksonville University's rowing team competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and has won the conference title for the last four years, finishing 22nd in last season's NCAA tournament.

Hallock, who will study kinesiology, currently competes on the Lady Rebels' swim team and continues to work on increasing her overall level of fitness.

"I'm very passionate about my exercise and fitness and try to do something almost daily to improve," said Hallock.

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