Row row row your boat

Rowing gains popularity among student athletes


Photo courtesy of Thomas Stoffel '25

PORT-SIDE PERFORMANCE Thomas Stoffel rows on machine during off-season. “For the winter season we go to [Ann Arbor] Skyline to do conditioning on their machines,” said Stoffel. “It’s hard work for sure but it prepares us for when we go out on the water in the spring.”

Izzy Baru '25, Lifestyles Editor

“Tick tock” the sound of your alarm clock joltingly waking you up at 6 a.m. It’s still dark out, but you need to get on the road for Saturday morning crew practice. This is what students like Thomas Stoffel ’25, Clara Thorne ’26, and Harper Cash ’26 experience. All three row crew. They endure practice six days a week on the river that can last up to three hours, not to mention the out of state race days.

Regardless if students row by themselves or with others, they still have the same intensive schedule for practices and competitions. Intense schedules that require balance which all admitted was difficult when your academics are across town from your athletics. Most of these students have already begun their day by the time you or I have pressed the snooze button. 

“Rowing certainly does affect my workload, I had a harder time with it last year than this year, now I’ve kinda figured out how to manage my time more efficiently,” said Stoffel. 

Like Stoffel, Thorne felt a shift with this being her first year rowing in high school. 

“It took me a little while to transition into being able to be productive, but it’s definitely helped my time management skills and I’m on my phone a lot less,” said Thorne. 

Even with the demands put on students from crew there is still an increasing demand of students wanting to join, Stoffel said. 

“I was the second person ever to join the team from Greenhills and now four more freshmen have joined, so I definitely see a rise in interest and demand,” said Stoffel.

Over the past two years there has been an increase in the number of students wanting to participate in the sport. As rowing is not offered at Greenhills, students interested in rowing join the team at Skyline High School and use the available amenities there. Greenhills does not offer the sport due to the cost of the resources needed such as: a boat house, different sized boats, boat racks, and oars. There has also been a lack of interest shown in creating a team with all Greenhills students. However some students were in favor of a merger, also known as a “co-op,”with Skyline High School. 

“It’s kinda up in the air if we would ever officially merge with Skyline or other public schools in the area,” said athletic director Meg Seng. “I have made several inquiries in other sports about co-oping, with schools near us. When I’ve contacted AAPS [Ann Arbor Public Schools] they have indicated that they are not interested in co-oping with us because we are a private school.” 

Seng said this is most likely because their superintendent would have to agree to the proposition. Seng has been informed it is a “non-starter.” However, she has not given up hope and will continue to pursue the idea. 

Several other students also supported the idea of Greenhills having a merger but not Greenhills having their own team. 

“I think in an idealistic situation Greenhills and Skyline would partner together so we can row with their resources and be able to row with the team during competitions,” said Cash. “I would like to merge but I wouldn’t want Greenhills to have their own rowing team.”

Stoffel, who previously rowed with other students has begun rowing independently due to not attending Skyline High School. He agrees with Cash because he prefers to row with his teammates. 

“I wish they would do some kind of merger where Greenhills would take advantage of Skyline’s resources,” said Stoffel. “This way I could row with everybody and get Greenhills into the rowing district of Skyline and not have to be an independent and row as a single.”