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What it means to be a Giant
What it means to be a Giant
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Seniors launch their caps in their air as Dr. Barnaby Payne announces they have officially graduated.
Redwood class of 2024 graduates amid tears, cheers and airhorns: A celebration to remember
Cora ChampommierJune 15, 2024

  On Thursday, June 13, the Redwood class 2024 solidified their impact on the school over the past four years and became a step closer...

Racing into spring: MRA revs up for competition season

For many, spring means gorgeous weather and longer days, but for the junior members of the highly decorated Marin Rowing Association (MRA), spring marks the beginning of intense preparation for the racing season. After spending the fall concentrating on distance and endurance, spring training focuses on shorter races, increasing stroke rates and rowing together as a unit. If anyone knows how to train hard and come together as a team, it’s the Marin Juniors —roughly 125 high schoolers from throughout Marin Countywho currently hold seven world records. U16 member, Dean Wozniak recalls last season and acknowledges what needs to be improved to make this season equally as successful.

“There are a lot of changes that need to happen for eight people to work well in a boat. We take the strengths and weaknesses of the previous years and divisions into consideration, Wozniak said. 

Marin Junior girls finishing a race (photo courtesy Row2k).

Since its inception in 1968, the Marin Juniors have been a force to reckon with, clinching an impressive 23 national championships and 30 regional team titles. The 2022 and 2023 seasons were particularly remarkable, with the Men’s JV 8+ boat and the Women’s U16 8+ boat each securing first place at the USRowing Youth National Championships. The women’s youth 8+ made a splash by winning the main event, earning the title of the nation’s fastest women’s youth boat

Although MRA strives to be the best they can be, Sandy Armstrong, the executive director for 33 years, the coach of the U19 girls’ team and a Redwood rowing alumni, preaches the importance of being true and kind to yourself and others. While coaching students in rowing, the program also values the development of critical teamwork skills.

“On top of [winning], we have our organization’s goal, the philosophy: work hard and be nice, do your job, make sure we’re following the mission to teach the art and sport of rowing,” Armstrong said, “it takes management to keep everybody on the same page in terms of this philosophy.” 

Their philosophy has helped them earn impressive titles. After placing first with a 13-second lead at last year’s USRowing Youth National Championships, Wozniak attributes his team’s success last year to their unwavering commitment.

Marin Rowing girls’ varsity practice (photo courtesy of Sandy Armstrong).

 “We were committed as a group to fight to be better. We wanted to hunt down the boats that were even faster than us or at a higher age group. We were just always committed, every practice,” Wozniak said, “When we won, I was happy and glad to know our work throughout the year paid off.”

Wozniak thanks his coaches for really pushing him and his team and attributes it to part of the association’s success.

“I love how seriously they take us. I know sometimes coaches who teach kids will allow them to slack off because they’re young, but our coaches keep us to a very high standard and expect nothing less, and that’s important,” Wozniak said. 

The season officially started in March with the Fault Line Face-Off. Go Marin!

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About the Contributor
Lily Skinner
Lily Skinner is a sophomore at Redwood High School and a Cub reporter for the Bark. She enjoys being outdoors, with friends and traveling.