Marissa Jennings, a senior at Summit High School, is taking her passion for rowing to the next level by signing a Division 1 Letter of Intent to row for BigEast bound Southern Methodist University in Dallas starting next Fall.
Marissa is a busy student athlete, winning multiple letters for swimming and softball at Summit High School; and a letter at Westfield for rowing.
Marissa joined Westfield Crew Club her junior year and found her true athletic passion. Not only had she found a sport that allowed her to flex everything that she loved about sports and competition; Westfield found a powerful and intense team player. In just her first full year on the water, Marissa and her quad, won Gold at three spring meets and medaled in 6 of 8 races, including qualifying for the semi-finals at the historic Stotesbury Cup Regatta. The Stotesbury Cup is the world's oldest, and largest, high school rowing competition with more than 5,000 rowers from 180 U.S. High Schools/Clubs.
When asked “why rowing?” Marissa responded, “It’s a unique sport. It is incredibly rigorous but it is also incredibly addicting! Rowing is beautiful; it is strong, graceful, fluid, and technical. It is also very much a team sport. Everyone has to pull their weight to make something great happen (literally!). So, when asked 'why rowing,' I can’t help but smile and think ‘Rowing? Why not!’”
Rowing first entered the collegiate sporting arena in 1843 when a Yale student purchased a second hand boat, according to US Rowing. The very first intercollegiate rowing race was held nine years later between Harvard and Yale. Since then, rowing has been an important asset to collegiate athletic programs across the country. Rowing is one of the rare sports that combines precision timing, raw power, and synchronized teamwork.
Is there an organized rowing program in Summit? Not yet, but that’s not a problem – if you're dedicated!
Marissa joined neighboring Westfield Club Crew and made the daily trek to Rutgers Boathouse on the Raritan River during the spring racing season. Juggling the demands of being an outstanding student, a passionate rower, and a youth intern at The Presbyterian Church at New Providence, Marissa makes everything work, with a smile.
Marissa felt right at home as she chose SMU over other top D1 programs: Brown, Clemson, and UNC.