Viera High graduate qualifies for crew Nationals


Coach Terry Davidson, left, Kyra Baldassarra, Avery Morris, Theresa Cogen, Sophia Keezel and Sydney Novak of the South Orlando Rowing Association team recently qualified for the U.S. National Championships in Sarasota, Fl.

VIERA VOICE courtesy of Bill Novak

Sydney Novak is looking forward to competing in the U.S. National ChampionshipsViera resident Sydney Novak, a recent graduate of Viera High, rows for the South Orlando Rowing Association’s high school crew team.

As a member of that team, Novak is headed to the U.S. National Championships in Sacramento, Calif., June 8-10.

“This is the first crew in 10 years of girls to make it to the nationals in this club,” said Coach Terry Davison. “The last one to go to nationals was a boys double four years ago. But this girls team is the first of many, I hope. This is the first for all girls.”

Working toward the championship, the team crew received a second-place silver medal and a third-place bronze medal at the Florida State Rowing Championships in April in Sarasota, according to Novak's father, Bill. The crew received a third-place bronze medal at the Southeast Regionals, held May 12-13 in Sarasota, qualifying the crew to row at the U.S. National Championships.

Novak has been rowing for five years. This will be her third time qualifying for the U.S. National Championships.

A rowing team has four rowers and a coxswain, who is the coach onboard, keeping rowers organized and coordinated toward the goal.

The team must be committed to daily practice to get to the national level.

“Training is six days a week. The ones (teams) that make the nationals have trained a lot,” Davison said. “They have to be committed for they train from 3:30- 5:30 p.m. each day and again Saturday at 8 a.m., and then national teams do Sunday morning as well for technique work when getting toward state championships.”

But dedication for each team member consists of three things: family, academics and rowing, added Davison.

Davison adds that both his sons are junior rowers, and one is on a full rowing scholarship at the University of Washington.

“There are many opportunities for women and men for rowing scholarships because most universities have rowing teams,” Davison said. “It is a really popular event.”

“Crew is a sport for people of all ages,” said Bill Novak. The South Orlando Rowing Association offers Learn to Row events where people of all ages can come out and try a new sport that’s fun and has tremendous health benefits.

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