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Mount Mercy Senior Rows Her Way to a College Scholarship

There are plenty of stories about athletes who are successful in their sports who instantly fell in love with their sport.  They couldn’t wait to practice and participate in the sport. Instant love was far from what Mount Mercy senior Chloe McHugh-Freedenberg felt about rowing.  However, as time passed, McHugh -Freedenberg learned to love the sport and that love has been parlayed into a full scholarship for rowing. McHugh–Freedenberg recently signed her letter of intent to accept a rowing scholarship to Temple University.

    Her cousin was a coach for the West Side Rowing Club and her mother thought that rowing would be a good activity for her daughter. So McHugh-Freedenberg began rowing in middle school “I was terrified of the boats and the water and never wanted go back.  This caused me to cry almost every day. However, my mom refused to let me quit, making me realize later on that rowing was the sport for me,” McHugh-Freedenberg stated.

    She has been rowing since middle school, starting in the summers before high school and then joined the junior women’s team for the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association (BSRA) as a freshman.  McHugh -Freedenberg has competed in numerous regattas and competitions in the past few years, but cites the races when she was the stroke seat of the Northeast under 18 quad and under 18 four boat that won gold at the Olympic Development Program Cup as her proudest moments. She was also a part of the under 18 8 boat which earned a silver medal. McHugh -Freedenberg was invited to represent the Northeast region as part of a team of twenty eight girls. They raced against girls from all over the country at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida.     

    Another proud moment related to rowing came when she signed her letter of intent to accept a scholarship to Temple University.  Although she did receive other scholarship offers, McHugh –Freedenberg believes that Temple is the best choice for her.  “I feel that the endless academic and athletic opportunities that are provided at Temple are a major factor in my decision to attend Temple next year. The strong community at Temple was also an important consideration in my decision,” she stated. 

McHugh -Freedenberg plans on majoring in both Early Childhood Education and Special Education. An honor student, McAuley Scholar and a member of National Honor Society at Mount Mercy, McHugh -Freedenberg is quite capable of successfully obtaining the double major.  She then hopes after graduation to travel to third world countries in order to teach those who do have an opportunity to obtain a proper education. 

    Currently the women’s rowing program at Temple is made up of about fifty-five girls and has six coaches along with a strong team of athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches and academic advisors.  Temple competes in the American Athletic Conference, against teams such as Southern Methodist University, University of Tulsa, The University of Central Florida, San Diego State University, University of Connecticut and Old Dominion University.

    Rowing is a strenuous sport with demanding practices and workouts.  A typical practice and work-out involve running, erg work-outs (a rowing machine that focuses on upper and lower body muscles to increase cardiovascular endurance) that focus on either technique or endurance and race pace work-outs. Water practices often involve drills that allow rowers to work on the technical aspects of the stroke or high intensity pieces that focus on what would happen during an actual race.

    The winter is obviously a down time for races, but the work continues for dedicated rowers.   The winter schedule is full of normal winter training practices as the team works toward the New York State Rowing Championships.  This spring race is held in Saratoga, New York where teams from all over the state compete in order to go to Nationals. 

    It is quite obvious that McHugh -Freedenberg has progressed quite a long way from the scared middle-school student to a scholarship winner.  Her initial fears have been replaced by a prodigious love of rowing. “My favorite thing about rowing is that it allows me to form so many great bonds and friendships with my teammates,” McHugh -Freedenberg commented. “I also love the feeling of being on the water and feeling the water move under the boat when I row.”

    Just recently McHugh-Freedenberg returned to Florida to attend the US Rowing Youth Regional Challenge.  This was a continuation of the Olympic Development Program. The trip consisted of two practice days and two days of racing. She raced against girls from all over the country in an under 18 pair and a under 18 four.  McHugh-Freedenberg was representing the Southwest region during this program because they were in need of more athletes to fill their roster. 

    With her skill, dedication and determination, the sky is the limit for McHugh –Freedenberg’s future in rowing.


"Mount Mercy has positively changed my life forever. Through the inviting community, I was able to grow as a woman, as a daughter, as a friend, and as a member of society. Throughout my time here I have gained an education in both academic areas and life in general through the school's ongoing efforts to educate students on gender inequality, racial injustice, and environmental crisis'. Furthermore, Mercy has given me the space to gain confidence that 4 years ago I never would have guessed I would have. Mount Mercy has helped me take that initial step toward becoming the strong woman of color I am today. At Mercy you are more than just a student, you are whoever you wish to be."

Melina Courtney

Class of 2022

"My future, success, and the ability to be an empowered woman in society come from Mount Mercy. My school is a strong foundation for my role in life. From attending Mount Mercy, I can say with confidence, that I will graduate with the mindset that I can accomplish anything. Mercy is my home and my sanctuary to be whoever I want. Mount Mercy has been bringing forth generations of strong intellectual women into the world, and I am more than honored to be one of them. Mercy teaches girls more than academics, but also about the world around us. As a mercy community, we give back to the world because it is our home. From my four years at Mercy, I have been educated on pushing for equality and peace and the understanding that there is no limit to what I can do. I have the confidence to go out in the world and make a difference because being a Mercy girl has given me that opportunity. "

Cassidy Reid

Class of 2022

"Mercy is more than just a school. Mercy is my second home and a shoulder to lean on. Mount Mercy has given me the confidence and resources to pursue my passions and make the world a more inclusive place, propelling me to take strides into male-dominated fields. Mercy blessed me with an environment to grow intellectually and in the community, giving me the foundation to make a tangible impact while making lifelong friendships."

Adrianna Awald

Class of 2022

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