Rowing to success

Senior Kendalyn Furukawa hopes to take crew skills to college


Courtesy of Kendalyn Furukawa

Senior Kendalyn Furukawa sits in the coxswain position to command a boat during competition.

Senior Kendalyn Furukawa spends her time focusing on school, spending time with friends, and rowing competitively. 

Furukawa began her rowing career during her sophomore year of high school. 

“My mom introduced me to it, and I really just took off from there,” she said. 

A rowing crew consists of rowers and a coxswain. The coxswain faces the rowers and is responsible for steering the boat and yelling commands. Furukawa is a coxswain for her team. 

“I was too light to be a rower, and I enjoy being a leader,” she said.

Although she is rowing with the goal of walking on at Kansas State, Furukawa is just enjoying her time competing. 

“I love it, the experience of it all has been amazing,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of great people who I’ve become very close friends with.” 

Speaking of friends, senior Paige Mesina, who has known Furukawa since middle school, talked about her thoughts on her unique hobby.

“She has always been a leader, that is what makes her such a great coxswain for her team,” Mesina said.

There are not many rowing teams in the state of Missouri, but Furukawa was able to seek out a team that could use her skills and leadership. 

“There are not a lot of teams around the area, but the boys’ varsity team invited me out to join and train with them,” Furukawa said.

For the past couple of years, Furukawa has been training with a boys varsity rowing team on the St. Louis Rowing Club to keep active in the sport.

Physical Education teacher Mickey Wendling incorporates rowing in his Adventure Pursuits class. 

“You could clearly see the skill gap and experience Kendalyn has compared to the others in the class,” Wendling said.  

As Furukawa’s senior year comes to an end, she said is excited to further her career in rowing at Kansas State.

“I’m looking forward to the next step into college. The sport is growing and I can’t wait to make new memories and meet new friends,” she said.