By Hayley Fedor
When the Florida State Sculling Championships come to town, rowers find out if they have what it takes to compete with the best of the best. Well, Newsome High School senior Katie Hall rose to the occasion, putting on an exquisite athletic performance that concluded with her as a top finisher in the race.
The state championship competition took place on April 10 at Nathan Benderson Olympic Rowing Training Park, located in Sarasota, and Hall’s race began promptly at 10:44 a.m.
“The hardest part of this race was a strong tail and cross wind. When we got into the middle of the course you could really feel the impact of the wind. The water was white capping which caused a choppiness on the surface,” said Hall.
Despite the rough conditions on the water during the day of the race, Hall placed third in the competition, racing in a lightweight single boat against 12 other rowers.
Her coach, Mike Smith, said, “The weather certainly made it difficult … but even better for Katie that she was able to pull the third-fastest time.”
Hall not only has a passion for rowing but also has the experience to match given that she started sculling five years ago as an eighth-grader while attending Randall Middle School.
As a student athlete, Hall is a member of the Palm Riverview Training Center through which she and other rowers in the Tampa area come to practice and compete as part of the Plant High Rowing Association.
Ultimately, Hall’s ranking in the state championship race reflects the hard work and determination that she puts in each day as an athlete and as an individual. Going above and beyond, she continuously shows concern for her fellow teammates, as seen through a project that she set up in coordination with Girl Scouts to build pull-up bars for the whole team to use at their training facility.
“She’s been a fantastic athlete and team member and she’s one of our captains this year, which she has definitely earned,” said Smith.
In college, Hall has high hopes of continuing her rowing career at the University of Oklahoma and will be trying out for the coxswain position on the Sooners Division 1 women’s rowing team later this year.