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FHE Rowing: A Spotlight on Ruth Gleason


“We’re in a race against Northern. Things are getting intense. Northern is barely behind us when all of a sudden, wham! The oar popped out of the oarlock and fell into the turmoil of water (partially because of some user error). The boat continued down the river as the race went on. My mind was racing all over the place. I screamed, ‘Guys keep rowing!’ Everyone then continued rowing as I leaned out of the boat, whipped the oar back into the oarlock, and then locked it. Now it’s nearly neck and neck with Northern. With my adrenaline pumping, I started rowing again and we ended up winning the race significantly. It felt like Northern was miles behind us.” As a senior and third-season rower, this was the moment Ruth Gleason recounted as the most exciting experience she has had on the rowing team.

For those of you like me (who don’t know anything about rowing), I asked Ruth for a brief summary of the sport. There are two main aspects of rowing: the boat (or shell as the professionals call it) and eight rowers (plus one coxswain who yells directions to the rowers in order to keep their strokes in sync). Ruth is positioned at the fifth seat in the boat, which is typically where the strongest and tallest rowers are placed. Those in the fifth seat “work as hard as everyone else, but pull a little more water.”

Rowing is the only dual-season sport at Eastern, because “when it comes to rowing, like other sports, if you stop practicing you lose potential and the only way to keep working towards that potential is to keep practicing on the water,” Ruth explained. When asked about her prospects for this year’s rowing team, coached by Ben Norrix, Ruth stated, “Our team is kind of a wild card.” She believes the team will definitely make it to states and regionals (Midwest), and that they have the potential to get to nationals.

After only two years of rowing, Ruth has already become a star on Eastern’s rowing team, having broken the 5k, 10k, and 1500 meter records at Eastern, along with colleges like Tennessee, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Oregon State reaching out to her about rowing scholarships. Michigan State recently offered her a full-ride scholarship to continue her rowing career with them, leading her to officially commit there. She is currently looking to study aerospace engineering, and with MSU ranking among the seventy highest undergraduate aerospace engineering programs, she believes MSU will be a perfect fit. 

When asked what people should know about rowing, Ruth said, “The community is really great, and it’s a very underrated sport. It’s one of the hardest sports I’ve ever done, and I’ve done a lot [of them].” Rowing is very physically challenging as it uses all muscles in the body; “you really have to be able to endure the hard moments.” In order to get through the challenges of rowing, Ruth stated her mindset when rowing is to just “get it done. I’m in my own thoughts, excited to finish the race, and that motivation propels me forward. Like many sports, it is difficult, but I like difficult things.”

Don’t forget to send your support to the rowing team at their first regatta on September 23, 2023 in Toledo, Ohio!

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About the Contributor
Reagan Carpenter
Reagan Carpenter, Staff Writer
Reagan Carpenter is a first-year writer for the Hawk Herald and a senior at Forest Hills Eastern High School. She participates in the National Honor Society, Kids Food Basket, Volunteer Club, FHPS Shared Voices Committee, and is a leader for Project ChARLIE. She has also played on the Varsity soccer team since her freshman year and has loved every moment of that experience. Outside of school she enjoys spending time with her friends and family; you can often find her  watching a good movie or tv show in her free time.
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