Marquette native wins gold at World University Games

MARQUETTE – Marquette native Wesley Vear and his eight-man crew won a gold medal in rowing at the Summer World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea, on Tuesday.

He worked from Seat 4 in the middle of the U.S. men’s eight competition to help the team post a winning time of 5 minutes, 37.30 seconds, beating the runner-up boat from the Ukraine by 3.5 seconds, which was listed as a full length.

Third place went to the Netherlands, followed by Russia, Hungary and Norway at the Chungju International Rowing Center.

The race took place in the late afternoon in South Korea, which was about 3 a.m. in Marquette.

In a qualifying heat held on Sunday, the U.S. team also won by a similar 2.58 seconds.

The U.S. team is coached by Michigan Wolverines head men’s rowing coach Gregg Hartsuff.

Vear, 21, is a former three-year youth member of the Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club and later was a four-year member of the University of Michigan rowing team, according to the UPCRC’s Debi Cook. He has also returned to Marquette periodically to help coach with the UPCRC youth team.

A 2010 graduate of Marquette Senior High School where he was an All-U.P. swimmer, Vear was team captain for the University of Michigan Rowing Men’s Club his senior year.

He competed in U-M’s top freshman boat his first year, then was in the second varsity boat as a sophomore when he was undefeated.

He moved up to the Varsity eight as a junior and senior and won several prestigious races, while also being named an All-American First Team rower for this past season.

Just a few weeks before heading to South Korea, Vear participated with his U-M teammates in the U.S. Rowing National Championships in West Windsor, New Jersey.

The son of Tom Vear and Jenn Ray, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Wolverines senior is majoring in chemistry and economics and plans to attend medical school after graduation, according to the World University Games website, www.gwangju2015.com.

The UPCRC youth rowing program is in its 10th year this summer and has 28 rowers, according to Cook. For more information on the program, call Ann Piereson at 458-8145.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.