NHS Crew Season Ends, But the Memories Remain
The Nutley High School Crew Team’s Season Concludes
As the Nutley High School crew season came to an end, the athletes were nostalgic about how much their team accomplished this season. The crew team had three team captains, Meghan Mackle, who is currently a senior, Jen Ariola, who is currently a senior, and Danielle LaRosa who is currently a junior.
At the beginning of the season, the coaches and athletes were a little skeptical. Captain, Daniella LaRosa, explains how, “the season started off to be a little tough considering the lineups were changed around and we had pretty bad weather in the beginning. But the whole team kept pushing forward and, in the end, we all achieved so much.We all did so well at the home race, when our team won all three cups back. And did awesome at Stotes (Stotesbury) and Nationals. And we all grew as a team and really learned what it means to put the team first and not to give up.”
The NHS crew team accomplished so much this year, in a short period of time. They learned to work together as a unit. Jen Ariola, the senior captain, says how, “this season was different than the other seasons I’ve had. We had a tougher time this year and definitely found it harder to keep our spirits up with people leaving the team, finding places in boats for girls to row in, and having a more difficult time than we are used to in general for the girls team.”
Senior captain, Meghan Mackle, has been on the NHS crew team all four years of her high school experience. “My years on Nutley Crew have truly been life changing and extremely positive," she said. "I can’t imagine that this season was the last time I had the chance to race on the river with the girls that have became my forever best friends.”
“Preparation is essential to our success,” claims Head Coach Smyth. “A lot of work, maintenance and planning takes place during the offseason. I've also learned to appreciate the detail in things. Sometimes, I will adjust the rigging on our boats by only a half centimeter and it makes a difference. Sometimes, I will just enjoy the reflection of the crew in the water as we row. One of our mantras (and we have about a dozen hanging in the locker room) is ‘We must either find a way, or make one’ taken from Hannibal. As a coaching staff, we have learned to adapt and overcome, to problem solve, to find a way to deal with adversity, and when solutions do not present themselves, we make new ones. There are so many unpredictable variables (70 student athletes with scheduling, academic, health and family concerns, weather and river conditions, movable, breakable, and consumable parts on our equipment, administrative limitations and expectations, travel accommodations, finances, parents) that it seems we are always finding a way or making one."
Crew play a key role in the high school life of NHS rowers. “Crew definitely has impacted the way I see my future. It has made me realize that it didn’t just teach me techniques to use on the water but it taught me that I can implement what I’ve learned in rowing in my life,” says Jen Ariola. “I take all of the positive and negative things I have learned from my time in rowing and use them to navigate life. It was a sense of direction. I was a lost puppy before crew, a sophomore without a place and with no idea where I was going. Crew was a sort of compass and now I don’t feel lost. I may not know exactly where my destination will be, but I am confident in everything I face from this point forward.”