MAHOMET — London Acree was supposed to be a college softball player. She was headed toward signing with a Division III school to continue her softball career.
She got a ding on her recruiting profile. Except it wasn’t a softball team. Iowa’s women’s rowing program got a hold of Acree. They were interested in bringing her onto campus for a visit.
Rowing? That’s a sport? Those were some of the questions that went through Acree’s mind. But when Acree learned that she could go Division I for rowing, she was all in. After visiting over 20 schools, the 2017 Mahomet-Seymour graduate decided on Kansas.
What’s followed has been pretty remarkable.
As just a sophomore, Acree moved all the way up the ranks and helped Kansas’ top rowing squad to a huge 2018-19 season. Kansas placed sixth at the Big 12 Championships. After the season, she was named Academic All-Big 12.
“Honestly I love it here,” Acree said. “I can’t imagine my life without my team at this point. I think at this place, I’ve been able to grow as a person and sets me up for what I hope to do for the rest of my life.”
On May 8, Acree was named first-team Academic All-Big 12 for the second year running. In order to qualify, student-athletes have to have a GPA of over 3.20. They also must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher over the two previous semesters.
“I have always really enjoyed school,” Acree said. “School hasn’t been the hardest for me, but I’m definitely getting the most out of it.”
Acree is on pace to graduate from Kansas next year with a geography degree, a political science degree, an applied behavioral science minor and one more certificate.
“There are some people who can’t get their degree in four years, but somehow, I was able to finesse the system and get all four of mine done in four years,” Acree said with a laugh.
Rowing is a brutal sport. Sometimes, Acree will have two practices per day. Or they will lift weights early in the morning and practice late at night with a handful of classes squeezed in between. She’s been forced to stay on top of everything. It’s not for everyone, but she’s fallen in love with the sport.
“Sometimes, you don’t get home from practice until 7 or 8 at night,” Acree said. “And you haven’t eaten dinner yet and you have homework. So it makes it tough.”
Acree only has a few more finals to accomplish before her junior year is officially wrapped up. In the fall, she plans to head back to Kansas for one more year.
Thanks to rowing, she’s a Division I athlete. And she has plenty of big goals to accomplish after college too.