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Freshmen gear up for crew tryouts

Courtesy Goldia Kiteck

By August Zangrilli, Staff Reporter

Conestoga has offered crew as a club sport at ’Stoga for 25 years. Tryouts begin in January, but the season unofficially starts in the fall with the Learn to Row program, a series of training sessions to teach novice crew members the basics of rowing in time for tryouts.

Freshman Aarush Kumar saw an advertisement for the program that piqued his interest.

“The program was helpful in warming up new rowers for the season. It imitated how real practice sessions are held,” Kumar said.

Crew interest meetings during the 2022-23 school year introduced then-eight grader Serafina Ameche to the program before she entered high school.

“Some of the JV and varsity kids came down during eighth grade and did an interest meeting for anyone who wanted to go,” Ameche said. “That was the main thing that stuck with me.”

Ameche and Kumar aim to find a community and improve their grasp on rowing skills. They look forward to building a strong team and friendships.

“I am joining for the bonds I will form with my teammates,” Serafina said.  “Long friendships can be made from the comradery of rowing and everything.”

Both freshmen had no crew experience before joining the team, but had been involved in other sports. Kumar plays tennis, and Ameche had experience with softball, basketball and sprinting.

During the tryouts, there is a certain process and traits that head coach Goldia Kiteck looks for in potential athletes.

“We are mainly looking for coachability on top of fitness. Are they responding to instruction? Are they communicating with the coaches? Attitude is another aspect. Are they bringing energy to the team and bringing others up?” Kiteck said. “So, it’s not necessarily just the physical aspect but also seeing if they are a good fit for the team overall.”

Kiteck said students trying out formed a distinct group.

“We have a very large, energetic group that is naturally competitive, even if they aren’t all natural athletes,” Kiteck said. “This is something that we do not get every year. What I have seen definitely embodies what we want to see in novices.”

August Zangrilli can be reached at [email protected].

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August Zangrilli
August Zangrilli, Staff Reporter
August Zangrilli can be reached at [email protected].