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08/04/2022 02:02 PM

Roscoe’s Making Waves with the Warriors

Matt Roscoe has become a key member of the crew program at Valley Regional. Matt mostly rowed from the second seat as a junior this year, but moved into the stroke seat to help the Warriors earn a big victory at the Emerson Regatta. Photo courtesy of Matt Roscoe

Once he got his sea legs, Matt Roscoe loved being on the water. Now a rising senior with the Valley Regional crew, Matt is getting more opportunities to spend time on the water as an integral rower for the Warriors.

Matt was a member of the Pettipaug Yacht Club from 5th to 6th grade. His family now owns a boat named Whine da Poot at the East Haven marina. Matt’s family includes his father Matt and his Ursala, who often went sailing with her grandfather. Matt always felt a connection to the water and, once he made the transition to rowing, he had a chance to experience his favorite habitat in a competitive fashion.

“It really clicked with me. I always loved being on the water. I was a part of a sailing club. Right now, I have a boat in East Haven,” says Matt. “I’ve always been really connected to the water. Rowing connects to that. You’re always rowing. You’re always out on the water.”

Matt realized how tight-knit the rowing community is during his time at the Pettipaug Yacht Club. Matt noticed how diverse the community was with all the different backgrounds that everyone had, and he immediately felt a sense of family. With that feeling and some convincing from his friend Jamie Pullin’s mom, Matt decided to sign up for the Valley crew as sophomore.

Matt felt nervous about joining the crew program during his sophomore year. Although he was in the yacht club, Matt had never actually competed in rowing. At the beginning of the year, Matt performed well at the team’s preseason Row-a-Thon, which was a 5K race on indoor rowing machines. Between an early motivational boost and support from his senior teammates, Matt felt comfortable and was ready to make his mark on the water.

“It was a little nerve-wracking. I had never done a sport like this,” Matt says. “I was a little nervous, but everyone on the team was so welcoming. Everyone was so encouraging, so nice. They wanted me to do my best. I thought I was doing well and I had potential in the sport.”

Matt was a member of Valley’s eight-man JV boat during his sophomore season. By his junior year, Matt had made the leap to the varsity team. Matt also stopped competing in cross country in order to focus more on crew.

When he started rowing, Matt was 6-feet tall. Now, he stands 6-foot-5. In addition to his physical growth, Matt grew mentally through his participation in crew and realized that you have to be more than just a strong rower in order to succeed in the sport.

“Going from JV to varsity, you have to put in that extra effort to prove to the coaches and the team that you could do this,” says Matt. “When you’re varsity, you have to help out JV and give them advice.”

Matt finished out his junior season with the Valley crew by competing at the Emerson Regatta in Middletown on June 5. The Warriors’ mixed varsity eight boat featuring Matt in the stroke seat took first place in its race. Valley’s boat also included freshman Oliver Rotella as the coxswain, along with freshman Tristan Smith, junior Emily Mezick, freshman Abby Jones, sophomore Nat Barton, freshman Owen Courtright, and sophomore Millie Gardner, in addition to sophomore Maddie Morrisey as the bow. When the Warriors crossed the finish line, Matt felt proud of his team and was excited to see everyone’s reaction to the big win.

“It was amazing to see how everyone reacted in the boat,” Matt says. “Everyone was so nervous, but we were pushing through, doing the best we could. Seeing all the energy in the boat was phenomenal.”

Matt spent most of his junior season rowing from the second seat, which is a power seat. He was competing out of the stroke seat for the first time when Valley rowed at the Emerson Regatta. Matt realized that he now needed to be a leader and guide the stroke pace of the boat. After Valley won in the semifinals, Matt felt that he was getting the hang of the stroke seat and was ready to help lead the Warriors to victory in the final.

“Going from a power seat to a stroke seat was definitely a jump,” says Matt. “It comes with some sort of leadership. You have to control the rest of the stroke rate for everyone else. You have to lead the charge in a way.”

Head Coach Ashley Malinovsky took note of how much Matt grew as both a rower and a leader during his junior season. Malinovsky says that Valley younger athletes look up to Matt, and she feels that he’s bringing tremendous potential into his senior year.

“Many of the younger rowers look up to Matt. He is thoughtful and brings a lot of positive energy to the team,” Malinovsky says. “Matt is a strong rower and, if he can fine-tune his stroke, I think he can beat the school record for the 2K. I look forward to what he can bring to the team next spring.”

Matt’s goal when he joined the Valley crew was to continue spending his days on the water. Along the way, Matt found a group of people with whom he can share his passion. When he’s rowing for the Warriors, Matt feels as if he’s one with both his environment and the people who are competing alongside him.

“It’s really special to me to be involved with such a tight-knit group. It’s amazing to be connected to nature, to the water, and the team,” says Matt. “It’s an amazing experience, and I’m so grateful for the people who have supported me throughout my entire journey.”