State weightlifting champion Wagner to join UCF rowing team

  • Surrounded by her mother and head coach Cory Aun, Hannah Wagner signs her letter of intent to row at the University of Central Florida. NEWS-GAZETTE PHOTO/J. DANIEL PEARSON
    Surrounded by her mother and head coach Cory Aun, Hannah Wagner signs her letter of intent to row at the University of Central Florida. NEWS-GAZETTE PHOTO/J. DANIEL PEARSON
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Hannah Wagner, who won a state weight lifting championship for St. Cloud High School earlier last month, will continue her athletic career on a different stage.

On Wednesday, Wagner signed a letter of intent to accept a preferred walk-on spot on the University of Central Florida’s nationally ranked women’s rowing team.

Wagner is coming off a sensational season where she dominated her weight class – winning the Orange Belt Conference, District 11 and Region 8 Playoffs. At the state championship, she tied Hagerty’s Katy Enot in the state championships (370-370), but was awarded first place because of having a lighter actual body weight.

She said she had been contacted by UCF coach Mari Sundbo about joining the Knights program earlier in the year.

“She explained to me that because rowing is not a high school sport, they have to recruit their athletes from other sports and weightlifting is one of the main sports where they look for talent,” Wagner said. “Obviously I have never had any experience in the sport, but they invited me over and explained to me why they thought this was something I would be good at. I had a great visit and really liked the school, the coaches and the athletes I met and felt it would be a good fit for me.”

Wagner also said the opportunity to continue her athletic career at the next level persuaded her to sign with the Knights.

“Unfortunately, there are few options for high school weightlifters to continue in that sport at the next level,” she said. “This will give me a chance to be a college athlete and I am so excited and grateful for the opportunity they are giving me.”

Cory Aun, her weightlifting coach at St. Cloud, believes Wagner will be successful at the endeavor.

“There’s no question Hannah’s work ethic, her will to succeed and her ability to learn will carry her through and serve her well,” Aun said. “When she came to us as a freshman, she really didn’t know what she was doing, but her desire to learn and her dogged determination and hard work turned her into a state champion four years later. I know she will take that same positive attitude into this next challenge of her life.” Wagner plans to double

Wagner plans to double major in legal studies and political science with a goal of becoming a lawyer.