[Sept. 2016 Sports] McGinley sisters and Burke row at the Junior World Championships

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By Lili Romann ’19 & Seby Shuken ’18

Staples students took their rowing skills to the next level at The Junior World Championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands, a week-long competition in August. Harry Burke ’18 and Kelsey McGinley ’18 were both awarded bronze medals at the event, while Grace McGinley ’17 was awarded fifth place.

The rowers described the race as very exciting yet a bit stressful, as Kelsey McGinley’s boat beat Great Britain by just four tenths of a second. The order of the girls’ finish was as follows: Germany, Italy, United States, Great Britain, China and New Zealand. The contestants described the experience as “extremely surreal.”

“It didn’t really hit me until we were literally rowing, and I had team Romania sitting next to me,” Grace McGinley said. “It was just really mind blowing.”

Burke had a similar experience at Worlds, as he said, “We crossed the finish line and I had a feeling that we edged Serbia out.” Soon after, it was confirmed that his boat won bronze by one tenth of a second.

The selection process involved the contestants attending a tryout camp in March 2016. Then they were invited to a selective camp during the summer. About  50 girls were invited to the selective camp and ultimately 20 were picked.

The camp was described by Kelsey McGinley as an “emotional rollercoaster,” considering contestants were constantly being sent home throughout the camp.

Burke started at a developmental camp and then was moved up to the selection camp for World Championships.

“I didn’t think I was going to end up at Worlds,” he said. “Maybe I’d do the developmental camp this summer and do the selection camp next summer, but I never thought it would happen.”

The rowers’ showed their commitment,  with practices taking up 25 hours a week; they practiced seven days a week, along with two or three two-a-days, requiring them to wake up at 4:30 am. The McGinley sisters said balancing rowing and schoolwork was a bit of a struggle.

“My only experience with Staples and the work is always having rowing,” Burke said. “There’s never been a time that I’ve had that extra three and a half hours to work, so I don’t know any better.”

All  three  rowers are looking to continue   their rowing  careers in college,and possibly even taking it to the Olympic level. “It would take 9 years if I wanted to go to the Olympics. It would be so cool,” Grace McGinley said. “Although, I’m not sure yet. I’m going to take it one step at a time.”