Sports Person of the Week
Beatty Steers Her Crew to Success
Mary Beatty competed for the Guilford boys’ crew the past two seasons and led the charge on the water as the coxswain of her boat. (Photo courtesy of Mary Beatty)
Mary Beatty progressed into one of the top rowers for the Guilford High School crew program during her tenure with the team. Mary performed so well that she earned her way into the starting eight for the boys’ varsity squad as a sophomore two years ago.
Mary, a recent Guilford graduate, served as the coxswain for her crew throughout her high school career. Mary says that she started making her greatest strides as a rower when she began competing with the boys’ crew.
“My favorite aspect of my sport is being a part of the boys’ team. Although I originally believed this to be a challenge, the boys I was with had a profound impact on myself not only as an athlete, but as an individual,” Mary says. “I had a strong relationship with my [assistant coach] Nick Hill, who continually pushed me to be a better coxswain and fostered an environment of growth. Nick is primarily the reason that I was able to succeed, as the trust and responsibility he gave to me taught me invaluable lessons of team building and leadership.”
Being a coxswain requires the ability to multitask. The coxswain has to remind the rowers about things like technique, power application, and steering a straight line, in addition to knowing how much the crew can handle and when to call for certain strategic moves. Even with all of these responsibilities, there is no place that Mary would rather be than in the coxswain’s seat.
“I love coxswaining. Coxswaining is the most difficult position in the boat, especially when it’s a girl commanding boys,” says Mary. “Through Coach Hill’s teaching and mentorship from experienced coxswains such as Kush Patel, I worked diligently in improving my skills, so that the guys could rely on me to be a leader. The mutual respect between the rowers and the coxswain is a bond that I will never forget.”
Head Coach Matt Wilson says that Mary quickly earned the trust of Guilford’s rowers. Wilson feels that Mary did an excellent job of leading the squad.
“Over the last three years, Mary has grown into a confident, strong leader who is always looking to improve her individual performance, as well as the performance of her fellow rowers in the boat,” says Wilson. “The rowers believed and trusted her ability to lead the boat. Her understanding of how to effectively lead the rowers helped optimize their performance and made every boat she coxed successful.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering at the start of the season, Mary was unsure if the Grizzlies would be able to compete this year. Guilford managed a five-meet schedule and recorded two victories, but Mary believes that the team’s achievements go beyond the win-loss column.
“I am extremely proud of our season. Although we didn’t have the time or resources of a normal year, I believe that Coach Wilson and Coach Hill created an environment on the team that allowed us to thrive,” Mary says. “Additionally, I am very proud of the underclassmen that will continue to grow and better the team. I am so grateful for their respect and teamwork over the past season. Our goal this year was to build for the future, and I have no doubt that the boys will be successful.”
Some of Mary’s fondest memories of high school came with the friendships that she created with her teammates. Mary made plenty of lifelong friends as a result of rowing for Guilford.
“The memories and lessons and friendships we have gained along the way will stick with us,” says Mary. “I remember being terrified of the boys at the knowledge that I would be joining their team. However, the same guys I was afraid of are now lifelong friends that I can’t wait to see succeed.”
Aside from rowing, Mary also enjoys horseback riding and was a part of the Guilford High School Theater Arts Program. In the fall, Mary will attend the University of Richmond in Virginia.
Rowing will always have a special place in Mary’s heart. Mary feels grateful that she was able to finish her career at Guilford by competing alongside her crewmates in her senior year.
“During the pandemic, I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to be on the water together at all,” Mary. “In that, I am very lucky as we had a good season together as a team, even if it wasn’t the season we imagined.”