Cabrini’s walk-on rowers

By Kelly Kane
May 1, 2023

The Varsity 8 on the water. Photo by Gabby Palladino.
The Varsity 8 on the water. Photo by Gabby Palladino.

Rowing, or crew, is one of the few sports whose roster includes “walk-on” athletes, and often members of the team are brand new to the sport. A “walk-on” is an athlete who tries out for a sport without the coach’s support or being recruited. But even with several walk-ons this year, the Cavaliers are rowing strong.  

Being a collegiate athlete can be a huge honor, but it’s also extremely time-consuming. Great time management skills are a necessity. However, while starting a completely new sport in college can be difficult, it’s also extremely rewarding.  

The rowing team hits the water. Photo by Gabby Palladino.

Freshman exercise science major Gabby Palladino is a forward on the Cabrini women’s soccer team and is also a brand new member of the rowing team. Though she grew up playing soccer, she added a new sport to her athletic career. 

“It was very challenging, but it was very fun to learn something new. It was intense, but all of my friends on the team helped me get through it and now I am starting in the Varsity Eight boat,” Palladino said. 

The Varsity Eight boat is an eight-person boat that performs as the first or top squad. Palladino looks forward to getting better at this sport and learning more with her friends to hopefully make it into the Four Varsity boat, a four-person boat of the fastest rowers. Palladino was approached by rowing coach Tim Hagan while working out at the Dixon Center.  

“He came up to me while I was working out and I thought that would be a fun thing to do, to be on the water every morning,” she said.  

But trying to balance two sports can be difficult for any collegiate athlete and rowing hours can be a real struggle. “We have to get up at six in the morning every day for practice, so you can’t really slack,” she said.  

Many athletes have been recruited for rowing while running at the Dixon Center. This is because running is a huge aspect of training for crew. Running trains your natural movement pattern in rowing, because there isn’t a sustainable pace that forces your lungs to work as hard as they can.

Hagan became head coach for rowing at Cabrini in August 2021 after serving as an assistant coach from 2017-19.  He also rowed for four years as a student at Temple University and graduated in 1998. He even helped start the rowing program at Gwynedd Mercy University in 2017, so he knows how to recruit a strong squad.  

Cabrini’s Four Boat on the water. Photo by Gabby Palladino.

Cabrini rowing’s freshman team is made up of all walk-ons. That’s a total of five walkons who never rowed before but were open-minded about starting a brand new sport at the collegiate level. 

Freshman exercise science major Mckenna Reber started rowing this year. Reber walked on to the team last semester after talking to the coach during her senior year of high school.  

“I just wanted to try something new and be a part of a sports team,” she said.  

Reber came to rowing after doing roller derby in high school.  

“It was a very big change, but I love the [rowing] environment. It was very accepting and welcoming,” she said.  

It wasn’t easy, though. “The sport is very hard and it’s very demanding on you, it’s a lot of technique and everything has to be perfect,” said Reber.

Rowing is not just sitting in a boat and rowing but also running, lifting, and long practices on the erg, an indoor rowing machine. 

This team works hard not only to prove to themselves it’s still possible to learn new things as you get older, and also that they can be successful doing them.  

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Kelly Kane

You May Also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap