McCornack leading the way for rowing

Junior oarsman came to Pullman without experience in crew


Courtesy of Devon McCornack

Commodore of the Cougar Crew team, Devon McCornack, speaks with Allison Cornia, head of the Cougar Crew Booster Club. McCornack is involved in budgeting for the club.

JACKSON GARDNER, Evergreen reporter

Cougar Crew junior oarsman Devon McCornack has gone from no rowing experience to being a leader for WSU’s club rowing program in three years.

There is hardly any crew culture in his hometown of Moses Lake, McCornack said. Neither of his parents rowed, but his friend Madison Molitor, who now rows for the University of Washington, introduced him to the sport.

Molitor was training to walk on to UW’s crew team at the time when he invited his friend to work out with him. McCornack’s first impression stuck with him as he came to WSU his freshman year.

“I had no real plans to get involved with [Cougar Crew],” McCornack said. “I just got bored [during] Week of Welcome and I thought I would give it a go.”

EZEKIEL NELSON | Daily Evergreen File
Cougar Crew conducts an early season water practice under warm temperatures at the Snake River in September.

Now an experienced oarsman, McCornack is the commodore of Cougar Crew, who oversees the student-run leadership. He is directly involved in essentially all aspects of the team. He helps crew achieve its goals and deals with budgeting.

Head Coach Peter Brevick expressed appreciation for McCornack’s leadership. He said McCornack has a unique ability to “try hard at trying hard,” which is a recipe for success in an oarsman’s career.

Brevick mentioned that McCornack’s attitude not only betters himself, but it benefits his teammates to race at the level he is.

“We are trying to help get everybody on the same page with seeing a high level of success,” Brevick said. “Devon wants to see everyone come with him. If it’s just him, that’s great, but there are nine people in the boat, and it takes a team to win.”

For WSU’s first varsity eight, McCornack will typically sit in the stroke seat or seven seat. These are the first two seats in the bow, which generally go to the team’s strongest rowers. Their job is to set the pace for the six seats behind them.

While he will acknowledge his leadership benefits himself, McCornack said it is Cougar Crew’s legacy that drives his passion to see his team succeed.

“I was able to see the team’s history, and meet the different alumni, and I saw how they are still invested into this rowing team,” McCornack said. “I thought it would be so cool to be a part of that.”

The relationship between oarsmen goes far beyond their time in the boat. McCornack lives with five of his teammates, and there are several houses in Pullman that are comprised solely of Cougar Crew athletes.

McCornack’s entire friend group — like many athletes — is centered around his team. He said the time and effort he put in helps to connect him with other rowers, but it is by no means just a business relationship.