McKenzie Sandel is currently a Junior majoring in entrepreneurship and marketing. McKenzie not only has a passion for the sport, but she proves day in and day out how committed she is to this team. She excels on the water and her focus in the boat sets the tone for her team. McKenzie is a key part of the Rowing club’s recruitment efforts by making every novice feel like they belong on the team as soon as they step foot in the boathouse.
What is your role in the off-season?
“In Grand Valley Rowing, we practice in fall, winter, and the spring. So, summer is typically considered our off-season and what I do is speak to different rowing teams.”
What is one word or phrase that you hope teammates and coaches will use to describe you?
“The one word I want to be known as would be relentless. Whenever I get knocked down, I just want to get right back up again and keep going, keep fighting a little bit harder.”
How did you become part of the Rowing Club here at GVSU?
“I rowed in High School and I was looking for a college program that would accept me to their rowing team, but I was dubbed at “too small” to row. I got an e-mail one day from Coach Bancheri that was like, “hey, if you want to row, come to Grand Valley and we’ll give you a shot.” I was like “alright-alright, this is my chance.” So, I made the varsity boat, and then at one of our first regattas, we raced a bunch of the teams that wouldn’t accept me as a rower for being too small and we completely destroyed them. I think that was the one thing that got me to stick around and join the Grand Valley Rowing Team.”
What do you enjoy most about Rowing?
“I honestly love everything about rowing. I have been doing it for so long, this is my seventh year. Overall, I think the one thing that stands apart is just being a teammate and having my family with me - no matter where I go. I know they always have my back no matter what.”
Do you participate in any other Recreation & Wellness activities, programs, or services?
“I personally do not participate in any other Recreation activities, but my team always likes to get together and got to the gym, we’ll do volleyball or basketball, go try soccer or something together.”
Why do you participate in Club Sports?
“Well I found rowing in high school, and then I came to Grand Valley and they had it. I was hooked from there.”
How do you plan on being a Laker for a Lifetime?
“I want to be an entrepreneur and start my own business, eventually work my way up to having my own rowing team. I know I can take a lot of things I learned here to implement to my own team. Then hopefully when I am more successful, I can come back and give to this rowing team because they’ve done so much for me.”
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