USC Welcomes New Class of Oarswomen
LOS ANGELES--Eight rowers have signed with the USC women's rowing team, Trojan head coach Josh Adam announced today (June 29). Anna Molnar, Grete Alttoa, Zoe McCutcheon, Marguerite Scotti, Ingrid Brast, Allison Opuszynski, Tierney Kellish and Ainsley Vondeling will join the Women of Troy in the fall of 2020.
"This incoming class represents a massive recruiting effort from the entire coaching staff," said Adam. "Every staff member was integral in bringing this group of young women into the Trojan Family. We anticipate that these athletes will greatly contribute to our teams speed as soon as they arrive at Troy."
Each incoming rower was asked to describe a defining moment in their athletic careers, and their responses can be found below.
Anna Molnar is a 5-10 rower from Budapest, Hungary. She is a member of the Hungarian Junior National Team as well as a rower for Ferencvárosi Evezös Club. Molnar has many impressive accolades that include placing first in the C Final of the 4- at the 2018 Work Rowing Junior Championship. She also earned first place in the 4x at the 2019 International Rowing Regatta, second place in the 8+ and 4- at the 2019 Hungarian Senior Nationals and first place in the 4- and 4x at the 2018 Hungarian Junior Nationals.
"One of the most defining moments for me as a rower was getting into my first crew," said Molnar. "That was the first time that I not only trained for myself, but for the success of an entire team. I developed both physically and mentally, and I always had to give one hundred percent. I had to learn to trust in my teammates that they would do the same."
"Anna has worked so very hard to achieve her dream of coming to USC to row and to study," said head coach Adam. "From our first conversation about rowing in LA to the elation she had when her SAT score came back, she has had a quiet dedication to the process. My favorite moment in her recruitment was how excited she was when we were able to tell her that she had been admitted to USC. That kind of joy is incredible to witness."
Grete Alttoa joins the Women of Troy from Paikuse, Estonia. The 5-9 rower has been a member of the Estonian National Team for several years. Alttoa placed third in the B final of the double at the 2019 U23 World Rowing Championships. She has many impressive finishes including earning first place in the 2x at the 2019 Estonian Championships and second place in the 8+ at the 2019 Estonian Junior Championships.
"I believe what defined me as a rower was when I first took part in an elite competition," said Alttoa. "It was there when I saw just how powerful and strong my idols were in action. Racing alongside them gave me an assurance that anything is possible. In that moment, I knew this is what I wanted to do; this is what I aspired to be."
"Grete is a consummate competitor and driven academically," said Adam. "She joins a great lineage of Estonian rowers who have chosen USC as the place to help them develop to the next level of performance. The memory that stands out the most to me in the recruiting process was her official visit. The joy-filled smile on her face as she got to know the team and see the facilities in person was just contagious."
Zoe McCutcheon will also cross the Atlantic to arrive at Troy. She hails from Kesh, Ireland and is a member of the Irish Junior National Team. She has rowed for Enniskillen Royal Boat Club for five years. In 2019, Zoe was awarded the Fermanagh Herald Junior Sports Personality of the Year as well as The President's Prize from her rowing club in 2017 for dedication to club. McCutcheon has many top finishes, but some notable ones include placing first in the 4- at the 2017 Homes International Regatta, winning first place in the 4- at the 2019 Irish Championship and qualifying for the 4x in Henley Royal Regatta.
"A defining moment in my rowing career occurred in July 2019," said McCutcheon. "My teammates and I made history as we were the first Irish junior crew to qualify for the Henley Royal Regatta. The opportunity to compete at this prestigious event, against such high quality competition was one of the biggest achievements of my rowing career and one I will never forget. I hope to have many more defining moments at USC."
"Zoe has shown so much grit in her own training and education," said Adam. "This grit revealed itself in almost every conversation we had when she was choosing USC. My favorite memory of recruiting Zoe was talking with her and her mom at one point late in the process. All of a sudden, I realized she had chosen USC. We stopped the whole conversation to dance around and tell the whole staff."
Marguerite Scotti is a 5-11 rower from Bronxville, N.Y. and rows for Row America Rye. Scotti has been rowing since December of 2017. Before rowing, Scotti was an All-League cross country runner at Bronxville High School where her team won the Class C Section 1 Cross Country Championships. In her rowing competitions, she has placed second in the 2V8 at the 2019 New York State Championships and secured seventh place out of 43 boats in the 4x at the 2019 Head of the Charles.
"My defining moment as a rower was earning a spot in the quad that was racing at the Head of the Charles Regatta," said Scotti. "After having spent weeks competing for a seat and then training in our boat, I had never felt so truly united as a team and proud of the work we had done. Rowing helps push me to my limits, giving me a feeling of accomplishment like no other, and I am so happy to have my team by my side throughout it all."
"Marguerite and her family have been so much fun to recruit to USC," said Adam. "Steadily, she has increased her speed since she committed to be a Trojan. This dedication is my favorite memory of her recruitment. Receiving elated message upon elated message from her about another personal best performance has truly made her a part of the Trojan Family already."
Ingrid Brast joins the Women of Troy from Chicago, Ill. Brast, a 5-11 rower, has competed for the Chicago Rowing Foundation since 2016. She has also participated in the USRowing Junior National Team development camps in 2018 and 2019. Some of Brast's notable finishes include placing third in the top novice boat at the 2016 Midwest Championships, winning first place in the novice boat at the 2017 Cincinnati Invitational and placing second in the 2V8+ at the 2017 Midwest Championships.
"My defining moments as an athlete were all of the times I came up short or didn't push myself as far as I could go," said Brast. "These moments lit a fire underneath me that keeps me going and keeps me striving for greatness in everything I do."
"Ingrid and I were able to meet at the 2019 summer nationals," said Adam. "She quickly revealed herself to be a driven competitor. We were sweating and enduring some Ohio heat but, we still found enough space to connect as people and that is still one of my strongest memories of her recruitment. We are so excited to have her competitive drive on the team this fall."
Allison Opuszynski, a 5-7 rower from Wallingford, Conn. will join the team in the fall. Opuszynski competes for Choate Rowing and has been racing since her freshman year of high school. Some notable finishes include placing first in the intermediate 8+ at the 2019 Independence Day Regatta and finishing in fourth in the U19 in the 8+ and fourth in the U19 4+ at the same regatta. Opuszynski also competes in swimming in the off-season. She is a stellar student and is an AP Scholar, National Society of High School Scholars member and dean's list honoree.
"My defining moment as a rower was my race sophomore year at the NEIRAs championship," said Opuszynski. "My boat knew that we were going to be the underdogs heading into the regatta, so we pushed ourselves to improve in the weeks before. I vividly remember crying tears of joy and hugging my teammates after crossing the finish line in first place. It was the moment when I realized that I truly loved rowing. The satisfaction of our hard work paying off combined with the love that I felt for my teammates was something I couldn't live without."
"We had to cancel Allison's visit to campus due to the current COVID-19 crisis, so we were unable to finish her recruitment with a tour of Troy," said Adam. "However, her commitment to USC and to training has been the most inspiring aspect of her recruitment. The coaches and I cannot wait to have her training with the team this fall."
Tierney Kellish is a 6-2 rower who competes for Mile High Rowing Club in Denver, Colo. Rowing is a family affair for the Kellish family as both of her parents were collegiate rowers are Syracuse. Some of her notable finishes include placing first at the 2017 Boulder Sprints, finishing in second place in the 8+ and 4+ at the 2017 Wichita Frostbite Regatta and winning the 4x at the 2019 Oklahoma City Fall Regatta.
"My defining moment as a rower was being told by someone that they didn't believe in me or my passion for rowing at USC," said Kellish. "I took that negative mindset and turned it into motivation to strive to be the best I could be. When I met the coaches at USC, I quickly realized that I was in a community of people that not only believed in me, but they also would push me beyond my athletic capabilities. While my defining moment may not be in medals or trophies, my drive from that conversation will get me to those accomplishments along with a lot of hard work."
"Tierney and her family were very dedicated to ensuring they made the best decision for her future," said Adam. "We saw this dedication in her training all along the way. What stands out most in my mind is her excitement about improving herself. This desire to be the best version of herself made her a clear fit for the Women of Troy."
Ainsley Vondeling arrives at Troy from Portland, Ore. The 6-1 rower competes for Rose City Rowing Club. Some of her top finishes include 12th place out of 85 boats in the 8+ at the 2019 Head of the Charles, a first place finish in the 8+ at the 2019 San Diego Fall Classic and a fourth place finish in the 8+ at the 2019 Northwest Regional Championships.
"A defining moment I've had as an athlete was during my freshman year in our 3V boat at the regional championships," said Vondeling. "Our crew won by more than a boat length of open water. That season taught me that even if you aren't in the top boat, you could still have a really strong crew and contribute to the success of the team."
"Ainsley has a delight-driven work ethic that truly stood out to us as a coaching staff," said Adam. "Sitting in my office and talking about the foundations of Trojan Family, I could tell she was really interested in the environment we create on the rowing team. But it was listening to Coach Martina talk about her evaluation of Ainsley at her home club that stands out to me in her recruitment. We knew after that trip that she was going to be a great fit for USC."