Montrosians Row to Distinction

Monica Stack '15

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 While many Montrosians are splitting their time between a plethora of after-school activities, seniors Emma Woessner and Bella Sardegna dedicate the majority of their time to crew. This highly competitive and challenging sport involves teams of 1-8 who race against each other in “shells,” or long, thin boats directed by a person called the coxswain. Emma and Bella began rowing the fall of their junior year and began competing the following spring. Emma explained that she decided to pick up an ore after trying pretty much every other major sport: “I wanted a team experience where you literally have to rely on each member to pull her own weight. There isn’t one standout star.” She laughed, “you can’t row an 8 by yourself.”

 During the fall and spring competition seasons, they spend 2 ½ hours at the boathouse, seven days a week. Emma described a typical practice saying, “its about 15 minutes of warm ups, 10 minutes for boat assignments and getting the boats out, then about an 1 1/2 hours on the water.” Practices are two hours during their winter training.

 Aside from the frequent practices, the two routinely compete in regattas. These competitions take place most weekends in the fall and spring. Fall regattas are usually on Sundays, while spring regattas stretch over two days among crews drawn from all over New England and New York. The majority of their regattas are in Massachusetts, but they take a weekend in the fall and spring to travel to Saratoga, NY for their biggest competition, aside from districts and championships.  There are many different categories in which one can race. Emma explained, “you can either row in a sweep boat, where each rower has one oar, or you can scull, where each rower has two oars. For sweep boats, you can row an eight plus a coxswain, a four with or without a coxswain, or a pair with or without a coxswain. For sculling, you can race a quad, a double, or a single.”

 As far as keeping up in school considering their time committed to crew, Bella explained, “it’s a huge time commitment, but I find it forces me to manage my time better and be more productive in that time.” Emma agrees, “getting home from practice late is just more motivation to start my homework right when I get home, and it makes me actually use my studies at school to do work. Some nights are worse than others, but it all works out.”

 When asked if she would recommend the sport, Emma exclaimed “I would definitely recommend this sport to anyone who wants to try it out, but they have to be prepared to work hard and sacrifice a lot of time.”

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