OSU in Pros: Devery Karz (Rowing)

OSU Women’s Rowing crew competes on the water in their 2018 season. 

Claire Platt, Sports Contributor

Oregon State has had a number of its student-athletes throughout the years go on to become professional athletes, a few of whom have even elevated their careers into the Olympics. In 2016, Devery Karz became one of them.

Karz, a four-year member of the Oregon State Women’s Rowing team, saw her hard work pay off when she was selected to become a rower for Team USA, going on to compete in the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016.

With the 2020 Summer Olympics now being delayed until 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Rio Olympics in 2016 remains the most recent Summer Olympics event– making Devery Karz Oregon State’s most recent alumna to participate in the Olympic Games. 

But before she was rowing for Team USA in 2016, even before she was rowing for the Beavers, Karz was getting her start in athletics in her hometown of Park City, Utah.

Karz grew up in Park City alongside her three siblings. She attended Park City high school where she established an athletic career early on, lettering in Cross Country and Track and Field for all four years of high school and eventually being named captain of the cross country team. When it came down to deciding on colleges, Karz chose to become an Oregon State Beaver to continue her academic and athletic career.

In joining the Beavers, Karz proved herself early on as an asset for the rowing team. As a freshman in 2007, Karz rowed in the stroke seat of the Novice 8+ as well as competing with the Varsity 4+ and 1N8+ that earned dual victories against Victoria. 

Karz also helped to bring her team to wins over Gonzaga and Columbia at the Virginia Triple Dual and climbed her way up to row in the three-seat of the Varsity 4+ that defeated Washington State. Karz also rowed in the three-seat of the Varsity 4+ as a freshman in the conference tournament for a team that finished fifth in the Pac-10 Championship. 

Continuing into her sophomore year in 2008, Karz was primarily in the seven-seat of the Varsity 8+. As a team, with Karz’s help, the Beavers earned victories against Victoria, Gonzaga, and Washington State. Karz also raced in the stroke seat in the Beavers’ Varsity 4+ win against Victoria, the seat typically viewed as the most competitive position for its role in setting a rhythm for the entire team. 

Oregon State continued to perform well in the bracket, achieving a second-place victory in the preliminary heats of the Pac-10 Championships and later raced to a third-place finish overall. This was the first time OSU’s Varsity 8 had medaled since 2000, an achievement that qualified the Beavers for the NCAA for the first time since 2000. Oregon State would go onto finish sixth as a team at the Third Level Final of the NCAA Championships.

Karz continued to help Oregon State heading into her 2009 junior year by racing at the bow seat of Varsity 8+ for the majority of the season. And while failing to reach the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons, Karz still managed to earn some individual recognition by playing for the United States’ Under-23 Lightweight Women’s Sculling team and being named a PAC-10 All-Academic Honorable Mention.

Into Karz’s senior year at Oregon State, she raced in the Varsity 8 for most of the season. At the tail end of her senior year, Karz broke her arm, forcing her to sit out of the last race of the season. the PAC-10 Championships. Despite this setback, Karz was still chosen as Oregon State’s Most Valuable Oarswoman by her coaches. 

As an Oregon State Beaver, Karz was recognized as an outstanding student-athlete, both by her team and by the PAC-10 Conference. In addition to being picked as the team’s Most Valuable Oarswoman and earning that All-Academic Honorable mention her junior year, Karz also earned PAC-10 All-Academic Second-Team honors twice in her college career.

Karz would graduate from Oregon State in 2011 with a degree in Speech Communications and a minor in Spanish. Devery Karz has also educated herself in Mandarin, making her tri-lingual.

Following her graduation from Oregon State, Karz competed in the Olympic trials from 2010 to 2016 where she competed and won the lightweight double sculls at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials. As a member of Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics, Karz’s team managed a 10th place finish.


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