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Valley Parents: Woodsville High Grad Spends Summer Learning New Sport

  • Lily Kinder, of Haverhill, N.H., prepares for a rowing practice on the Connecticut River at the Kendal Waterfront Park in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Kinder will be attending Bates College in the fall where she will be on the school's rowing team and is leaning towards studying neuroscience. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lily Kinder, of Haverhill, N.H., makes her rounds on the Connecticut River nearby Kendal Waterfront Park in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Kinder rowed for the first time the previous summer and came back to it when she attended the Upper Valley Rowing Foundation's week-long Sculling Program earlier this summer. She will continue her rowing on Bates College's rowing team. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Lily Kinder, of Haverhill, N.H., carries her single scull back to the boat racks as she finishes a rowing practice on the Connecticut River at the Kendal Waterfront Park in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. Kinder, who has competed in basketball and soccer at Woodsville High School, enjoys how rigorous of a sport rowing is and how it tests her abilities. (Valley News - August Frank) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Correspondent
Friday, August 03, 2018

Lily Kinder was a standout student-athlete and leader on Woodsville High School’s soccer and basketball teams.

After collecting numerous accolades with the Engineers, the recent graduate won’t be playing soccer and basketball in college.

Instead, Kinder will be taking on a new challenge in a new sport at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Enter rowing.

Kinder took a recent clinic with the Upper Valley Rowing Foundation to hone her skills in preparation for the rigors of collegiate rowing. 

UVRF is a nonprofit community sports organization that includes instructional, competitive and educational aspects, and operates primarily on the Connecticut River. Kinder’s five-day junior sculling clinic took place in late June at Kendal Waterfront Park in Hanover. The group of five or so scullers-in-training met for two-hour sessions beginning at 7:30 a.m. Sculling, in which individual boaters use two oars, differs from the sweep technique where eight rowers each pull a single oar.

She’s not entirely a novice though: Kinder first learned about crew as a youngster by listening to her father, Ken Kinder, talk about his rowing days at the University of New Hampshire. Her interest developed into a passion after she attended the five-week educational Advanced Studies Program at St. Paul’s School in Concord last summer.

Kinder’s chosen afternoon recreational activity was rowing. Practices — which placed inexperienced rowers such as Kinder in the same boats as members of the Concord crew team also attending the program — were five days a week.

“During those five weeks, I totally loved the sport,” Kinder said. “I loved the learning, the different techniques and challenges mentally with how precise you have to be and the physical challenge of the sport, and I totally loved how different it was from soccer and basketball.”

The Advanced Studies crew team, made up of three sweep (eight-person) boats, culminated its summer training with an inter-squad race.

“That was my first go at it in the eight-boats,” Kinder said. “And it was kind of interesting because after I did that and I started touring colleges, I was like ‘Wow, this would be a really fun sport to do in college.’ ”

While studying and rowing at St. Paul’s, Kinder met a few students from Bates College — Advanced Studies interns who spoke highly of their school. Liking what she saw on her campus visits, which included taking in a crew race, Kinder decided to apply through the binding, early decision process.

“Every time I’ve gone, the interactions have been great,” said the aspiring science major. “When I originally started looking at schools, I was looking big because Woodsville’s pretty small, but I realized when I went to Bates the structure of the small community and connections with professors seemed great.”

The Bates women’s crew team won Division-III National Championships in 2015 and 2017.

“(The national titles) didn’t factor into my decision because I know with crew there’s going to be a few boats and there will be like a varsity and a novice boat,” Kinder said. “But knowing that now, that they’ve done all that, is very intriguing and it would be awesome to be in that boat in the future, but also because it just means that their program is very cohesive.”

Woodsville girls basketball coach, Russ Wilcox, acknowledged Kinder’s hardwood greatness (14 points per game as a senior, first team all-state selection), but said he’s glad to see his former player continue her athletic career in college, regardless of what sport she chooses.

“It’s right up Lily’s wheelhouse,” Wilcox said of rowing. “She’s just ridiculously focused. And that’s what it has to be to row crew.”

Wilcox, who coached Kinder throughout four varsity seasons, said the latter showed a willingness to put in extra work.

“In the offseason, Lily was always getting in to lift and work out,” Wilcox said. “She just kept adding shoulder, arm and leg strength. She went from this scrawny little freshman to a really strong senior, and I think rowing crew she’s probably going to get even stronger.”

And Kinder keeps practicing.

UVRF program enrollees automatically become members of the organization, which allows them ongoing access to equipment. Kinder tries to get down to the Connecticut to row as often as she can in between work shifts at Slick’s Ice Cream in Woodsville.

Sculling will have to suffice until she joins the Bobcats as they prepare for the their fall and spring seasons.

The accomplished soccer and basketball player doesn’t seem to mind the prospect of initially rowing in a novice boat.

“Obviously, I have limited experience,” she said. “But when I did do that one race at St. Paul’s, it kind of hooked me in because you’re going hard as you can, trying to win, but you know that all eight people in the boat are wanting it all the same. … The boat is just gliding across the water; it’s a pretty magical feeling.”