Lehigh Rowing Seniors Reflect on Collegiate Careers

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BETHLEHEM, PA. – The Lehigh Rowing Seniors have shaped the program throughout their careers, including a challenging year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Lehighsports.com caught up with the five seniors (three women, two men) after their senior season.

“These seniors will always have this as a year of learning how to overcome difficulties and lead into uncertainty,” said Lehigh’s head coach Brian Conley. “They did it through a lot of work, poise and constant adjustment to what was needed. I couldn’t be more proud of this group.”

Ellie Falk – Sewickley, PA. – IDEAS (mechanical engineering and environmental sciences)

What’s your favorite Lehigh rowing memory?
EF: My favorite Lehigh rowing memory was the last workout in Chula Vista before we found out the 2020 season had been canceled. The weather was lovely and it felt like my boat was floating in the air – so we rowed together. There was so much excitement that day too, because everyone in the boat could feel that we were going to have a really fast season. Unfortunately that was cut, but I loved what we found, even if it was only for a short time.

Describe your relationship with your senior colleagues.
EF: This group of seniors is really something special. We helped win the first Lehigh rowing medals and we led our team through a pandemic. Our time together at Lehigh really showed me that I can trust that they are doing the right thing. I couldn’t think of a better class to graduate from.

What thoughts are on your mind the last time you graduated from college rowing?
EF: I think about how lucky I am to have this experience. I’ve met my best friends, played a sport I love, and got a great education at the same time. It is definitely sad to think about how I will end this chapter of my life, but I am also very much looking forward to my future and the future of lehigh rowing.

What will you miss most about Lehigh rowing?
EF:
I will miss going quick with my friends. Rowing is such a unique sport that instills a level of confidence hard to find elsewhere and the team is a great support network.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?
EF: I really hope this year marks the beginning of our championship culture. We have a great opportunity to make a name for ourselves in the Patriot League.

What are your post graduate plans?
EF: I will be starting a reliability engineer at PPL Electric Utilities in August and will actually be returning to Lehigh as an assistant trainer.

Sophia Mayone – South Portland, Maine – Chemical Engineering
Sophia Mayone
What’s your favorite Lehigh rowing memory?
SM: The penultimate day of rowing at Chula Vista Training Center in California, junior year spring break before everything closed with COVID. We had a strong line-up and made a long row of swings around the lake. The boat felt amazing and it was really beautiful.

Describe your relationship with your senior colleagues.
SM: Susan and I actually met on an official visit to another school before we both got to Lehigh. Ellie and I ran the Via half marathon side by side. I have very fond memories of visiting the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado with Susan and her brother, where we rolled down the dunes like little children. I will keep this in the memory bank forever. For the past four years, I’ve gotten incredibly close to Susan and Ellie, and I know they’d have my back if I ever needed anything.

What thoughts are on your mind the last time you graduated from college rowing?
SM: I’m not ready to finish rowing yet, and I wish I had more time to compete as a varsity athlete

What will you miss most about Lehigh rowing?
SM: Definitely in competition. I loved being an NCAA student athlete and I will miss being competitive with other crews, my teammates, and myself on a daily basis.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?
SM: To be unconditionally there for my teammates, both on and out of the water

What are your post graduate plans?

SM: PhD in Chemical Engineering from Ohio State University, hopefully with an emphasis on biopharmaceutical processing. I also take my first summer “off” from work and / or academics for the first time since I was 15, so I’m very excited about it.

Susan Westman – Orland Park, Ill. – Bioengineering
Susan Westman
What’s your favorite Lehigh rowing memory?
SW: My favorite Lehigh rowing memory would have to go to California for spring break last year. The team felt quick and it was a beautiful place to row.

Describe your relationship with your senior colleagues.
SW: We’ve been through a lot together. It’s crazy to think that some random girls who were also recruited turned out to be my best friends and will likely be at my wedding one day. I had a great time with five of the other seniors this year. From our sausage board to our work of art, it was a great time.

What thoughts are on your mind the last time you graduated from college rowing?
SW: I can’t believe it’s over now I am proud to have ended my four years with the team. Rowing is hard and when I know I can do it I believe I can handle most challenges.

What will you miss most about Lehigh rowing?
SW: I will miss the routine and the schedule. Especially during COVID it was nice to have a place to go away. While I don’t think I’d ever go alone, it’s fun to get up at 5am to be elite with all of my friends.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?
SW: I want to leave the legacy of never being afraid to speak your mind and advocating changes to the coaches. Plus, rowing is only as good as you can make it. When you’ve shopped and working hard, the job is a lot easier.

What are your post graduate plans?
SW: I will be staying in Lehigh next year to finish my Masters in Bioengineering. I’m happy to say I have accepted a GA position in the Athletics Department working under Roseann Corsi in Public Relations / Alumni Relations.

Darby Henagan – Atlanta, Ga. – Civil Engineering
Darby Henagan
What’s your favorite Lehigh rowing memory?
DH: My favorite Lehigh rowing memory is definitely Bucknell racing this season with the nine guys we had this year. While the results weren’t what we wanted, it’s exciting to see how much each of the underclassmen have grown as athletes and rower. The group showed how good they can be and what bright future they have in the coming seasons.

Describe your relationship with your senior colleagues.
DH: Ryan and I are good friends! We’ve been friends since I joined the team and I’ve always had a great time with him, be it at the boathouse, off campus, or in the library. He’s a great teammate and one of the most knowledgeable people I know about the sport. Ryan has always been supportive and pushing me to do my best and I can’t wait to see what his future looks like in graduate school.

What thoughts are on your mind the last time you graduated from college rowing?
DH: I wish I had started earlier! I joined the team in the spring of 2019 and really wish I had joined as soon as possible in the fall when I got back from my leave of absence. While I wish things had gone differently for other aspects of my Lehigh experience, my time on the Lehigh rowing team is by no means one of them, and the rewards were well worth all of the early exercises and hard workouts. I admit that I am melancholy that this chapter of my life is coming to an end, but I know that I appreciate the memories I have, the lifelong friends I have made, and the lessons I have learned will.

What will you miss most about Lehigh rowing?
DH: What I’ll miss the most is the camaraderie in the boathouse, outside of practice, and on the water. You will have a hard time finding a more acceptable and supportive group of people willing to work hard day in and day out. I will miss having the support of my boat and friends when things are challenging and my motivation wears off.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?
DH: I hope to leave a legacy of hard work and a willingness to pull hard no matter what. I hope I can set an example that as long as you support your teammates and have the will to row hard even when you are tired, no race result is out of reach. But also that you can have a little fun doing it and that there is nothing better than celebrating successes with your teammates.

What are your post graduate plans?
DH: I will be responsible for construction management for Turner Construction in the Philadelphia area and I will compete in as many Lehigh races on the Schuylkill as possible!

Ryan Kynor – Sharon, Vt. – Mechanical engineering
Ryan Kynor
What’s your favorite Lehigh rowing memory?
RK: Second place at Dad Vails in my sophomore year!

Describe your relationship with your senior colleagues.
RK: We are all very close. Rowing together for so long has created lifelong friendships.

What thoughts are on your mind the last time you graduated from college rowing?
RK: As I near the end of my college rowing career, I remember all the successes and struggles and hope that the team will continue to thrive after I leave.

What will you miss most about Lehigh rowing?
RK: I will miss my teammates the most by far. Rowing together through COVID brought our entire team very close together.

What legacy would you like to leave behind?
RK: I hope to leave a legacy where consistent hard work produces results.

What are your post graduate plans?
RK: Next year I will start my Masters at USC in Aerospace Engineering.

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