Great interview with Martha, gearing up for the season ahead. Check it…
row2k Interview – Virginia’s Martie Kuzzy
posted on March 13, 2012
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This week’s row2k Interview checks in with Virginia senior Martie Kuzzy: she has won gold at Junior Worlds, raced at U23s, and helped put the Hoos over the top at the NCAAs. She’s come a long way from Nordic skiing–the sport that took her brother to the Olympics–and tells row2k that rowing and family have taught her how success is sweeter when shared.
row2k – How did you get your start in rowing and why did you decide to row for Virginia?
Martie Kuzzy – I began rowing with the Minneapolis Rowing Club the summer before my sophomore year of high school. I used it as cross-training for Nordic skiing and running. After a successful season, and a lot of fun with the club, I was hooked!
As for Virginia, I had never heard of it until my first summer on the Junior National Team. A few of the girls at camp were headed there in the fall. I decided to take a last minute official visit during the fall signing week of my senior year and immediately fell in love. Everything about Virginia seemed perfect: the weather, architecture, southern hospitality, plus their rowing program wasn’t too shabby, either. Once I had visited Virginia, the decision was easy. The night I got home, I signed the papers and I haven’t regretted that decision since.
row2k – You’ve been on past Junior and U23 National Teams, what did you learn from those experiences that have made you the rower you are today?
Martie Kuzzy – The experience that shaped me the most was my first summer on the Junior National Team. Going into camp, I did not have much rowing experience besides a few summer seasons and a qualifying 2k. It was a bit of a shock when the aches, pains, and blisters began. It was a long seven weeks leading up to Junior Worlds in Beijing, and much of that time was laced with doubt and wondering if I even liked this whole rowing thing.
The whole experience taught me to be mentally tough. Since that summer, I find myself making comparisons and thinking, “well if I could handle that, then I can definitely do this.” It gave me a lot more confidence in my ability as an athlete and helped me realize that rowing can really take you places if you work at it. And sometimes if you stick with something, you may just turn out to win a World Championship.
row2k – You’ve had success at multiple levels of the sport, winning a Junior World Championship and NCAA Championship. What has been your most vivid memory to date and why?
Martie Kuzzy – My favorite moment to date was rowing into the beach after our NCAA team title. It was really surreal having crossed the line and immediately knowing we had finally done it, but it didn’t really hit until we rowed into an extremely enthusiastic crowd of teammates, coaches and family. It really put things into perspective. Just knowing how much the win meant to [UVA coaches] Kevin [Sauer], Steve [Pritzker], and all our staff who put in endless hours and years to achieve a championship title, is truly incredible. You work so hard to achieve something so personal, but in the end, it’s only worth it if you have people to share it with.
row2k – What are your strengths as both a student and an athlete?
Martie Kuzzy – I view attitude as my strength. Even though we dedicate what seems our entire lives to competing and studying, it’s only fun and hopefully successful if you stay positive while you’re doing it. Chances are you’re going to be doing the work either way, so why not make the most of it and at least (at times…pretend to) have fun? It really can make the toughest of workouts just a little more manageable.
row2k – What do you like most about the sport of rowing?
Martie Kuzzy – The people. Rowing is an incredible sport truly independent of all others. The camaraderie and teamwork, combined with an individual effort, creates something that is much greater than the sum of the parts. People in the rowing community are such a hard-working, passionate, and fun group—at the end of the day, that’s what I love most about the sport of rowing.
row2k – What are you studying at Virginia and do you have any plans yet for after graduation?
Martie Kuzzy – I’m graduating from UVA in May. At this point, my efforts have been focused on finishing out a strong final season with my team. Afterwards, I would still love to stay involved with rowing, either as an athlete or coach, but I don’t have any specific plans yet. Ideally, I’d find something where I can share my knowledge and inspire the next generation of champions.
Awesome photo from Sunday night…
Until next year…Go Pack Go!
Like most of the continental US, Vermont hasn’t had much snow this winter. That changed on Friday afternoon when a brief blizzard dropped close to a foot of snow in the mountains. That was just enough to get out and play during the long Martin Luther King weekend…
Playing in the Powder – Friday Afternoon
Bread Loaf Mountain (both shots from the same place) – Saturday afternoon
…and everything in between:
Here’s to fresh snow! (finally.)
Still no snow in Vermont. That, combined with cold weather, has made the skating ideal this winter.
Cruising on the Lakes in Minneapolis…
The Lemon Fair River in Shoreham, Vermont…
Pond hockey in the back yard…
With Cam MacKugler, Frost Mountain Nordic, and the Middlebury High School ski team…
The skating has been one of the highlights of the winter so far. Time to get out and enjoy!
Check it. G-Kuz.com is back! Finally resolved an issue that prevented photos from loading–part of a New Year’s resolution to get this site going again. It might take a little while to get back into the rhythm of posting, but stay tuned for more…
Enjoyed the sunrise ski at Stowe this morning with a free gondola ride to the top of the mountain at 4:30 am, followed by 45 minutes of hiking to get to the summit, just in time for sunrise. I’m sure if we hadn’t been surrounded by a thick fog, the sunrise would have been beautiful!
As it turned out, the descent down Stowe was pretty sweet!
The view from my last ski of the season? Who knows. I’ve already thought that at least six times this spring!
In any case, I sure am happy to be on real snow. Not quite ready for this yet. . .
I’ll leave you with my favorite Easter comic. . .
It may have been raining in the Champlain Valley on Saturday, but Mount Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont, was in the midst of an April 23 blizzard. Sit at home and stay warm around the fire? No way! Gotta hit the slopes. . .
As I took off my skis at the end of the day, I commented: “well, what a great way to end the ski season” for about the 5th time this spring. Little did I know I’d be waking up at 4:30am the next day for another “last ski of the season. . .”
That’s right, still skiing out here in Vermont, even after Tax Day. Got up to Mad River Glen last weekend and hiked to the top for a run on April 16. If anything, it was still too cold to be great spring skiing.
Terry, Jake, Brodie, Cam and I got in some serious elevation skinning up to the top of the mountain. Rafter, our 100lb Golden guest for the weekend, was a real trooper and made it all the way to the top-and back down.
The quote of the day once we finally pointed our tips back downhill? “Wow, the trail’s actually worse than it looks!” That may have summed up the descent, but we had a great hike up to the top. I’m definitely going to get up there again this year, but next time I’m going to wait until the temperature’s above freezing so the moguls are a little softer.
Rafter definitely gets the effort award for the day. Afterwards, he showed us all how to “sleep like a dog.”