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Kush Patel has progressed into an excellent leader in the coxswain position with the Guilford High School crew. This spring, Kush is serving as a senior captain for the Indians. (Photo courtesy of Kush Patel )
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Kush Patel didn’t know that much about rowing when he joined the crew at Guilford High School. However, Kush was determined to contribute to the Indians and worked hard to learn everything he could about the sport. Now a senior, Kush is guiding Guilford on the water as one of the crew’s senior captains.
Kush was encouraged by a few of his friends to sign up for crew. While he had no rowing experience, Kush’s became a student of sport and earned his spot as a coxswain in the varsity boat. The coxswain is the person who is in charge of the boat’s steering and navigation. Kush says that he never could have made so much progress without the companionship of his crewmates.
“Being able to have good friends on the team and established good relationships with them has helped me. I’ve been able to become a captain because of those things,” Kush says. “Having those friends has helped me do my job better and keep everyone on task.”
Kush has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders while leading the Indians at the coxswain position. As he’s gained experience, Kush has gotten stronger from a mental perspective along the waves.
“Coxswain is one of those positions where you only get better with more experience under your belt. Racing more and more helps you get better as a leader,” says Kush. “Coaching myself with discipline has helped me improve. It’s more about mental conditioning than anything.”
Coordinating the crew on an everyday basis can prove a grueling experience. Kush takes the daily grind in stride, because relishes the opportunity to be there for his friends.
“It can be tough always having to be on task for the other guys and never taking a day off,” Kush says. “I love having relationships with the guys and being for them as a teammate and also as a leader.”
The Indians have certainly grown as a program during Kush’s tenure with the team. In recent years, Guilford has formed a few additional crews in order to foster year-round development in the sport. Kush feels pleased all of that extra effort is paying dividends for the Indians.
“We have about 30 or 40 guys on the team this year. We’ve progressed over the last few years,” says Kush. “We also added fall and winter programs, which has definitely helped us improve and grow.”
Head Coach Matt Wilson says that Kush has made great strides as a coxswain throughout the past four seasons. Wilson notes that Kush has all the necessary attributes to serve as an ideal leader in that prestigious seat.
“Kush has grown into a confident, strong leader who works hard every day to help his boat succeed,” Coach Wilson says. “The rowers believe in his ability to lead the boat, and he is always looking to improve his individual performance, as well as his fellow rowers in the boat. Kush has been a coxswain for four years in the program and understands how to effectively lead the rowers to their optimal performances.”
Kush and the Guilford crew are looking to make a major splash at the State Championships later this month. Kush feels confident the Indians are on the right course to paddle their way toward the podium.
“Our team is looking good so far this year,” says Kush. “We certainly want to medal for states this year, and so we are just working towards that right now.”
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