Rowland is one of the most decorated athletes in Hutchison history, winning multiple track and cross country regional championships and holding several school records.
Mur the Blur will be rolling her way into Crimson Tide country next year.
At a ceremony held in the Labry atrium, standout multi-sport athlete and Hutchison’s inaugural recipient of the Number Five designation Meriel Rowland ’24 signed a scholarship to run track for The University of Alabama. “I was told that the place you should go should feel like home,” Rowland said. “And Alabama felt like that. It’s going to be a great community for me, and the coach is exactly like my dad.”
Rowland is one of the most decorated athletes in Hutchison history. She has won multiple track regional championships in the 800 meter, the 1600 meter, the 3200 meter, and as part of the 4x800 relay team. She’s won multiple cross country regional championships as well. In addition to those honors, Rowland holds Hutchison school records in the 1600 meter, the 3200 meter, and for cross country’s 5K distance. She’s also a member of Hutchison’s lacrosse team and swim team. It’s no wonder she was in such demand from a number of major Division I schools.
During the ceremony, Rowland had two hats on her table, one from Alabama and another from Baylor. After some classic signing ceremony trickery, Rowland eventually put on the Crimson Tide hat and signed on the dotted line. Despite several big-time programs targeting her, she immediately fell in love with the culture and character shown by her future Alabama teammates.
“I’ve actually known one of my future teammates for a while. I go to a month-long Christian camp each summer and she’s one of my counselors," Rowland said. "They were all really nice and so welcoming, there wasn’t one person I didn’t like.”
It was more than the personal touch for Rowland, though. She was blown away by the top-tier facilities at Alabama too. “Their athletics department is like none other in the country, and track shares facilities with the football team. You can imagine what that’s like!” Rowland said. “The weight room is insane. There are two iPads per lifting area with information on them. Each station has 3D imaging monitoring your form as you lift.”
Chuckling, Rowland talked about how her family relations might be a little strained thanks to her decision, “It’s funny because growing up as a kid, I hated Alabama and loved Tennessee because my mom’s whole side of the family is Tennessee fans. Now here I am.”
What's even funnier about the decision is that her older siblings, Sarah Elizabeth ’22 and Council, who went to Memphis University School, now attend Auburn University. "They didn’t know where I was going, but I sent them a goodie bag from Gibson’s with Alabama cookies," she said. "They told me, ‘We’re going to have to throw this out! Our friends are going to burn this!’ They actually hid it when friends came over.”
Rowland credits her family for their unwavering support, even if Thanksgiving might be a little feisty this year. She thanked her Hutchison family as well: “At Hutchison, everyone is rooting for you, and everyone wants the best for you. You do not get that at every school, which makes it very special.”