Electra Cassells is a prime example of where hard work can take an athlete. Electra had no rowing experience when she went out for Valley Regional crew as a sophomore, but as a result of her dedication, she worked her way up to the first boat, and will take on captain’s duties next spring. In the upcoming fall season, Electra will be a senior captain for a Valley volleyball squad that always makes some noise in the playoffs.
Electra decided to give rowing a chance when she was looking for a new spring sport. Her brother’s girlfriend suggested that Electra give crew a shot and, when she did, everything just fell into place.
“My brother’s girlfriend was a rower and captain of the team for three years...She said that rowing is hard, but it’s also really good for you,” Electra says. “So I decided to try it out, and I loved it.”
Even though she loved rowing, Electra still had a lot to learn about the sport, and so she put in the time and effort to improve, and became more self-assured as a result. Now, Electra watches new rowers go through the same thing when they join the Warriors.
“When I was a sophomore, I never rowed before, but I went through the process of learning,” says Electra, an Ivoryton resident. “You come in and you don’t know what to do. The first time you get in the boat, it’s kind of scary, and you don’t know how to do anything. But you start to learn, and you see the confidence grow.”
As her confidence grew, Electra worked her way up the ranks with Valley crew. She rowed in the first boat this year and, as the season went on, Electra and her crewmates trimmed minutes off their time, eventually recording a mark of 5 minutes and 56.6 seconds. Electra feels pleased with how much her boat progressed during the course of the season.
“We had so much improvement. I think our first time was in the high eights,” Electra says. “You rotate people out and try new things. We found our fit, and our time improved.”
Valley Regional crew Head Coach John Laundon saw Electra at each practice and every regatta this spring, and that’s why she was presented with the Warriors’ Attendance Award. Electra is always ready to work, and Coach Laundon feels that the future looks bright for her and the Warriors.
“She’s a good athlete. She’s just got a great personality. The girls love to be around her,” Laundon says. “The potential for her being a good prospect for rowing in college is good. She’s made a lot of progress and, with her training, I’m sure she’s going to be even better this year.”
As a captain, Electra believes her job will be to keep the crew motivated in the face of a physically taxing sport, while also making sure she and her teammates bond both on and off the water.
“I think the biggest thing is to motivate the rowers to work their hardest. It’s hard to stick with the sport, because it’s so demanding,” says Electra. “Also, keeping the team together as a tight-knit group. We usually have team sleepovers, and we do a lot of fundraisers.”
Electra will bring that same approach to her role as a captain for the volleyball squad. She wants her Warriors to play for each other and keep any distractions away from the court this year. In turn, Electra hopes that translates to another deep postseason run.
“We have a really tight-knit team. We really try to build our confidence, and we try to be a drama-free team,” says Electra. “We can go really far and win. We almost did it last year.”
The Warriors posted a record of 16-8, advanced to the Shoreline semifinals, and then made the quarterfinals of states in 2016. Electra made key contributions on the attack throughout the season. After earning Valley’s Most Improved Player Award in her sophomore year, Electra had 127 kills with 24 blocks and 35 aces on her way to winning the team’s Heart of a Warrior Award as a junior. Valley volleyball Head Coach Kathy Scott believes that Electra has all the tools to be one of the team’s biggest assets in the 2017 season.
“Electra has been a key player on our team and really excelled last year as an opposite left-handed hitter with a high kill percentage and top blocker,” Coach Scott says. “She is a natural leader who is dedicated, mature, goal oriented, highly organized, and she is an outstanding communicator with a great sense of humor. While she [works hard every day] to improve the level of her play, she is quick to recognize the efforts of others and has a great team mindset. Electra is mentally tough, and her court presence is critical to our success.”
Electra gives opposing teams a different look as a lefty. It’s a thrill for Electra to play above the net and get solid contact on a nice set from a teammate, mainly because she’s knows she’s helping her club succeed.
“Sometimes you’re waiting a long time for your hit, and I’m left-handed, so for me they have to set it up backward since I’m on the other side,” she says. “It’s great when I see the perfect set, and I’m ready to go in for it and get the kill. Then the team just celebrates so much. It’s such a good feeling that you have the power to help your team like that.”
One of Electra’s biggest motivators throughout her volleyball career has been her mother Jill Cassells. Jill had a successful high school career with Valley volleyball, and Electra likes that she gets to carry on the family tradition.
“My mom was huge in volleyball, and she played at Valley,” says Electra. “My goal for volleyball is to win Shorelines and states. When she played, she did just that, and I want our year on that banner.”
Electra thanks her family and her coaches for all of their support. As she looks ahead to her senior year, Electra feels eager to compete for both of her teams, so she can keep seeing her hard work pay off.
“I’m pretty excited for next season. I just want to try to win every competition that we have,” Electra says. “I’m really dedicated to my sports, and we both have good teams next season.”