Baron a Quintessential Skipper of the Boat for Valley Crew
Only a year or so ago, Quentin Baron decided to dip his toe in the water figuratively by trying out the sport of crew. Less than two years later, he dove all the way into the seas and navigated the Valley Regional crew team to great ocean views.
The Warriors senior and crew team co-captain and coxswain was always involved in sports growing up, playing soccer and baseball through middle school. After joining the Warriors cross country squad upon his arrival at Valley and post COVID, Quentin was encouraged by a friend to run over to rowing as a junior last year and has worked his way up to a pivotal position in the boat that acts as the eyes and ears of the crew. He additionally garnered the CAS-CIAC Scholar-Athlete Award for Valley Regional for this year.
“The coxswain sits, calls directions out, steers, and helps to maintain safety. It is a very rewarding position and it is like a coaching position,” says Quentin, who was also a captain for the boys’ cross country team last fall. “I intended to be a rower, but I am only 5-foot-6 and most rowers are about a foot taller. But I like to lead people, and the sport just kind of clicked with me. It is very tranquil and relaxing on the waters with the team. I also have had success thanks to others on the team; I had the chance to work with experienced rowers that went on to row in college.”
While sometimes sitting idle underneath the chilly winds on the water can be tough, Quentin details that he is warmed by the hard work and tangible progress put forth every day by he and the Warriors in preparation.
“Practice is my favorite part of the sport. Every day we work on different things, such as handle heights and strokes,” Quentin says. “It is great to see and feel the improvement as you make the calls and corrections to everyone else in the boat. Days when we have Regatta races are fun, but long days. You spend the whole day there, and on the chilly days when I am not moving and exercising in the boat, I tend to get cold.”
Being in the spring, the time frame and scope of the actual crew season may seem small on the surface, though Quentin and Valley are pushing, practicing, and perfecting their physiques during the dark, cold days of winter.
“Our offseason really starts around December with training,” says Quentin. “During that time, we meet about three times a week in the school cafeteria. We also have everyone hop into rowing machines, and then we also have some days where we watch film of rowing, and then we also spend time in the weight room other days.”
As he sometimes runs his voice hoarse, it is all worthwhile for Quentin and the betterment of his squad at Valley. Though he does hold a captain designation, his assignment on the shore has given him a great experience to lead his peers.
“Being cox it is a very vocal position, and my voice can get tired,” Quentin says. “I feel I have improved vocally and with my leadership skills. It is a good position, because even if you are not a team captain, it is still a position of authority and responsibility.”
A basketball team can try and draw up the perfect play and still get the bucket after a quick hiccup, or a football squad can punch it into the end zone on a designed run play after a quick fumble. Yet with the crew, Quentin explains that every finite detail must be perfected in order to produce success.
“In the boat, I tell everyone else about acting as one,” says Quentin. “Everyone has to be on point, or else the boat does not work. We make sure to work on staying focused and together. There is not that same level of precision when it comes to teamwork with other sports.”
Valley crew Head Coach Ashley Malinovsky details that not only does Quentin set the pace on the water with currents of consistency, but he also gives the squad an emotional boost with his confidence.
“Although Quentin is only in his second year of rowing, he has worked hard and gained a lot of experience working with a variety of crew teams. He can cox all levels of rowers,” says Malinovsky. “Quentin is very reliable and consistent, which is extremely helpful as we get our novices up to speed at the beginning of the season. But more importantly, he has confidence that he brings to the boat, and he can drive a varsity boat to the finish line without any hesitation. As a co-captain of the team, Quentin demonstrates his leadership on a daily basis and his teammates regularly look up to him for guidance. I hope that he’ll continue to row in the future.”
Speaking to the future tides of his tenure within the sport, Quentin is ready to tackle some lofty but quite attainable academic goals for himself, as he will simultaneously let Mother Nature guide his next athletic endeavors.
“I am committed to attending Brown University next year,” Quentin says. “I may in fact do crew for them, but it is very high level and intensive there. I am going to study Biomedical Engineering, but with crew, it is wherever the wind takes me I guess.”