Freshman Ava Thigpen is a jack of many trades. This year, she joined the Upper School rowing team, but rowing isn’t her only talent. Thigpen ran cross-country before high school, although she chose to row in ninth grade.
Thigpen’s rowing career began in the summer before she began eighth grade when her mom took her to participate at a rowing summer camp. It immediately lit a fire inside of her.
“I came to try in the summer of seventh grade,” Thigpen said, “and I was just kind of like, ‘Oh my God’.”
Although she didn’t start on a team until ninth grade, Thigpen went back the summer afterward as well. She said she finds rowing relaxing.
“It’s really peaceful, just rowing with the oars,” she said.
Thigpen also said she enjoyed rowing with a team rather than individually. Cross-country is a solo sport, in which everyone competes for their schools by themselves, but rowing requires a team at each boat, emphasizing the importance of communication and coordination.
“Since some people use high school sports to get into college, they’re just naturally more intense, which I think makes them fun to participate in,” Thigpen said.
She plans on rowing throughout high school, but isn’t sure what her future looks like. Rowing isn’t currently her main focus for college, but Thigpen said she would be open to using her skill in the sport to apply for scholarships and continuing to row at the college level. In the end, she said it would depend on the quality of the college academically.
Although Thigpen does want to continue rowing throughout high school, there are some downsides to pursuing this exhaustive sport.
“It’s quite time-consuming because of all the driving,” she said. “I don’t get home
until 7, so I guess I have less free time.”
The schedule isn’t the same for every day though, and Thigpen said she enjoys the other aspects of the sport, which is what motivates her to continue to row.
“It’s like you’re part of something bigger than yourself.”