Elizabeth Forward students finding success as rowers
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Abby Guenther doesn't have a particularly romantic, inspiring or humorous story for how she ended up being one of the area's top rowers for her age group.
“It was kind of random,” said Guenther, a sophomore at Elizabeth Forward. “I woke up one day and said I wanted to row. My parents looked into it, and that was that.
“I joined a summer rowing program, and I loved it. So I joined a team.”
She took one of her best friends with her. Now, Guenther and Maddie Hill are two girls from the Mon Valley who are part of a Three Rivers Rowing Association team that typically draws its rowers from closer to its Washington's Landing headquarters.
Late last month, Guenther and Hill, also a sophomore at EF, were part of boats that placed highly at a pair of regattas in Ohio: the Governor's Cup in Columbus and the Cincinnati Invitational.
Guenther and Hill didn't take up rowing until about a year ago. In a relatively short period of time, each has built a proficiency for the sport — and a love of it.
“Just the team aspect, we have a pretty great team, and being so close to each other you just trust everyone to be moving as one,” Guenther said. “Whether it's eight or four people, when you're synchronized, it's pretty great. Plus, the scholarship opportunities that girls can have is unbelievable.”
Should Guenther and Hill keep on the trajectory each has shown in rowing success over their first year, who knows how far each can go in the sport? Both were part of a Three Rivers “Novice 4” team that won a gold medal from Columbus and earned a silver medal in the “Novice 8” from Columbus.
A few years back, Hill's mother had reached out to Three Rivers Rowing and potential sponsors about bringing a boathouse to the Mon Valley. It ultimately fell through, but when Guenther got the rowing bug from watching it during the Olympics, it didn't take long for her and Hill to be hooked.
“I don't know how to explain it, really, but when you're out there on the water and the boat has really good chemistry and you're going really fast and it's really powerful and everything, it really makes you feel real excited and makes you feel happy,” Hill said.
“That feeling just gives you the motivation train and work hard. ... Throughout it all, it makes me a little bit better of a person.”
Each day after school, Guenther and Hill make a 45-minute commute to Washington's Landing for three-hour practices. Both say that supporting each other and pushing each other have helped them adapt to the sport.
“The ones who are very good at rowing are the ones who come to practice and are dedicated,” Guenther said. “People who have natural talent and a strong core and really good technique help, but I think dedication comes very much into play.”
Next season, Guenther and Hill will have graduated from the Novice level, which is generally reserved for first-year rowers. Each has her sights set even higher. Both have eyes on top universities.
But that's not all.
“I'm not going to lie,” Hill said, “when Abby and I first started, I was dreaming of going to the Olympics for it.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Laurel Ballet student dancers entertain at Mad Hatter Tea in Unity
- Junior Princess from Marshall continues community work with pasta fundraiser
- Flash!: Circle Sinners and Saints; Tribute to Veterans
- Jazz musicians draw crowd at art gallery in Pittsburgh’s West End
- Seton Hill University’s E-Magnify women’s business center bestows Winners’ Circle Awards
- Unquestionable courage & sacrifice
- Arnold Palmer presents Spirit of Hope Award to archabbot at St. Vincent College event
- McCandless ‘Rock-a-thon Queen’ keeps on rockin’ for fundraiser
- Craig Davis Consortium wows Westmoreland Jazz Society audience in Greensburg
- Quantum Theatre celebrates 25 years with gala in Pittsburgh’s Union Trust Building
- Greater Pittsburgh YWCA gives Women Leadership Awards to diverse group