In 5th grade, during the first soccer practice of the year, Madison Mariani did one lap around the field and ended up in tears, saying she was going to throw up from the short run. But she didn’t stop. Her competitiveness seemed to squash the nausea.
She transitioned into a great goalie – bossy, firm but nice, alway giving direction to her defenders. She had that instinctive vision of the field that, as a coach, you sometimes just can’t teach.
By 8th grade, another sport stole Madion’s attention. Crew. She still honored her commitment to her soccer team, but it was clear where her focus was – on Lake Sammamish with the new sport she was learning.
By 9th grade, crew was her sport. She loved it. It honed her competitiveness. 5-days week, over 3 hours per day were spent on the lake and at her rowing club, Sammamish Rowing.
Crew turned out to be the sport that would have the prestigious rowing program at the University of Washington knocking on Madison’s door within three years.
Coxswain: Coach on the Water, the Driver
During her first year rowing, Madison’s coach saw some potential and suggested she become a coxswain – kind of a coach on the water. A coxswain is essentially the driver of the boat, responsible for steering, executing race strategy and motivating the rowers who act as the boat’s motor.
The new role capitalized on Madison’s ability to manage and direct teammates. She tried it; loved it; and never looked back.
By 9th grade she was the coxswain of the Men’s Varsity Team.By her sophomore year, she went to Nationals in the Men’s Lightweight 8+ and continued competing through the summer in other national races and development camps.
During her junior year, Madison found herself in the Junior Varsity Men’s boat, though, which motivated her to win every race and prove herself. That year, her boat won two races at the largest Junior Regatta in North America, The Brentwood School Regatta, and at the Northwest Regional Championships.
After those impressive wins, Madison was one of only three coxswain in the country invited to attend the U.S. Junior National Team’s Selection Summer Camp in Connecticut. She came home that summer with a bronze medal from Club Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
By her senior year, Madison was being recruited by college crew programs. She was offered scholarships at the University of San Diego and Oregon State University. But her dream since beginning crew at 13 was to be part of the University of Washington Women’s Crew team.
Crew College Dream Realized
On November 12, 2014, Madison Mariani, signed a letter committing to join UW Crew as a coxswain for the women’s team in fall 2015. She will get less scholarship money than other colleges offered – a partial scholarship with the potential to earn more based on her performance – but her dream of being a member of one of the best rowing programs in the country came true.
Her mom Wendy, explained, “There was nothing that could beat the UW program… facilities, education, not to mention the gorgeous lake and view while in the water.”
Wendy said she can’t say enough great things about crew and the positive impact it’s had on Madison’s life, not to mention opening many doors for her daughter. Wendy said it’s a great sport to try for kids who love to compete, and as most kids don’t begin crew until high school, it’s a pretty even playing field from the start.
Madison will also be graduating from Mount Si High School in June with her AA from Bellevue College, where she has been doing the Running Start Program since her junior year. At UW she plans to study psychology and then pursue a career counseling teens with eating disorders.
Congratulations, Madison. As your former soccer coach, I am so happy to see that bossiness and direction you displayed on the field paid off… and your dad was worried I was letting you be too bossy!