Jennifer Ariola: Student, Athlete, Teammate, Role Model
A Look at One of Nutley High School’s Finest Raiders
Jennifer Ariola, a senior at Nutley High School, is not a girl to be overlooked. She is a teammate and leader on the winter track and spring crew team. Among her teammates and coaches, she is better known as Jen, a hardworking, and supportive athlete. Jen will graduate in June 2018, taking with her the memories, maturity, and growth from her time as a student athlete in the Nutley High School athletics program.
“Perseverance.” That is the first word that Kevin Smyth, head coach of Nutley High School’s crew team, uses to describe Jen. Coach Smyth continues with, “Reliability and dependability. I know Jen will be at practices. I know she will do her best. I know she will help others, and I know she will be an exemplary student athlete and citizen.”
Unlike most girls on the crew team, Jen tried out during her sophomore year. This meant Jen had to work extra hard to prove herself to be just as good as the other sophomores who had a previous year of experience. “I didn’t know about tryouts until the day of,” says Jen. “I showed up right after school in boots, and my gym clothes because I didn’t have anything else. It was kind of last minute after my friend Max told me about tryouts earlier that day.”
Fast forward a year, and Jen is in one of the varsity team’s most competitive boats. Jen rows with the lightweight four girls, which is best known as the quickest boat on the team. During her junior year, she was able to medal at State Championships at the Cooper River with her teammates in the lightweight four boat. These girls include: Meghan Mackle, Sara Araujo, Jazzy Delamerced, and Victoria and Marissa Daly.
“At Nationals, after our race, I remember falling back onto Marissa, because we put everything we had into that race," Jen said. "We cried because we gave it our all and didn’t make it to finals, but it’s a memory that always comes to mind because of the emotional moment we shared together.”
In addition to the time and effort she puts into rowing, Jen works equally as hard as a member of the Nutley High School track team. Her commitment does not go unnoticed by her teammates and coach. Head Coach Gerald Ryan says, “She is willing to do the little extra things to make herself and the team better.” One of her teammates, NHS senior, Sean MacDonald describes Jen as “hardworking, and dedicated to whatever she does.”
In 2018, Jen’s time with the Nutley Athletics Program will come to an end. However, after graduation there is a possibility that Jen will carry her admirable qualities to a college-level rowing team. Coach Smyth reveals that Jen may continue to pursue her rowing career with Manhattan College. Jen’s coaches and teammates are confident that wherever she goes, she will bring the same positive attitude and work ethic she has demonstrated here at NHS.