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Julianna_WelchSanta Fe High School Principal Bill Herschleb, Athletic Director Michele Faulk, Julianna Welch, mother Annette Welch, sister Sammantha Welch, father Jay Welch and brother Mackenzie Welch celebrated as Julianna signed her official letter of intent to join Jacksonville University’s rowing team.

ALACHUA – Santa Fe High School senior Julianna Welch signed a letter of intent to join the women’s rowing team at Jacksonville University (JU), where she’s been offered a full scholarship.

The decision to attend JU came after Welch received rowing offers from numerous schools.  For recruiting schools, she is an ideal student athlete with a 4.6 weighted grade point average.  Welch settled on JU because it offers a marine science program, an area she wants to pursue as a career.

JU women’s rowing coach Kris Muhl said, “Jules is an outstanding student and athlete and has accomplished a great deal in the time she has been rowing.”

On Jan. 11, Welch finalized her commitment to attend JU with a signing ceremony at Santa Fe High School where she was joined by coaches, family, friends, teammates and faculty. 

Welch, 17 years old, is a varsity member of Gainesville Area Rowing (GAR), a team made up of students from several Alachua County high schools. 

Before joining GAR in the last year, Welch was also a starting player on Santa Fe’s varsity volleyball team.  After three years in volleyball, she opted to sit out her senior year to return to her passion for rowing competition.

A proud Santa Fe Volleyball Coach and Athletic Director Michele Faulk congratulated Welch on her achievements, noting that she was missed on the volleyball team.

About Welch, Faulk said, “I knew this young lady was going to be tremendously successful because when she takes something on, she does it wholeheartedly.

“I know you’re going to go out there and make us extremely proud,” Faulk said to Welch.

Santa Fe Principal Bill Herschleb was elated with Welch’s scholarship.

“Never in my 15 years as a principal has a student been given a full rowing scholarship…she is a pioneer,” said Herschleb.

Welch is following in her older sister’s footsteps.  Sammantha Welch also rowed competitively, including at the University of Central Florida.

“She’s been able to outdo me in everything,” Sammantha Welch said.

According to statistics obtained by JU, Welch is the women’s varsity captain in her senior season and posted a 6k split time of 2:06.4.  She also was a gold and silver medal winner in the U.S. Southeast Regionals, and was a U.S. Rowing national qualifier along with being a U.S. Junior Women’s National Team Developmental invitee.

Glowing with excitement, Julianna Welch told the large gathering, “This is just such a big experience for me.  I feel like I’ve done my best, and I guess it’s paid off.”