Randolph has several student-athletes who compete for their school, but then there are some who participate and excel in various sports outside of school. Molly Gillikin is one of those student-athletes. Molly spent a month in Boston this past summer, after being accepted into the competitive youth summer program at Community Rowing Inc. Molly then competed in New Jersey at the U.S. Rowing Club Nationals, where she placed 10th in the nation in the Women’s Junior Eight. We talked to Molly to get her thoughts on the sport of rowing.
Do you row locally?
I am co-captain of a youth rowing club located at Ditto Landing, Huntsville-Madison County Rowing and Watersports, Row Huntsville for short. During the summer we do community outreach, but rest of the year we train to be nationally competitive. Three years ago I was the first novice girl the program officially had, and I’ve been here ever since. My coaches Jeffrey Coy and Irene Fleischman have been with me through the thick and thin, and I don’t know what I would do without them.
What is the rowing season like?
My season is actually very similar to cross country and track athletes. We have a long distance season in the fall, an indoor season over the winter, and a sprint season in the spring. I tend to extend my spring season into the summer, and just make it a year round thing. I get about two weeks at the end of summer and fall where I have real free time. That said, I can only stay still for about a week before getting antsy.
How long have you been rowing competitively?
I’ve been rowing competitively for three years, and right now I’m working on my fourth year.
What is your favorite part of rowing?
The people. Rowing is such a repetitive motion that sometimes the only way to get through is remembering the people you are rowing with are struggling as well.
Do you see yourself continuing this sport after graduation?
I think I’ll try to row for the rest of my life, wherever I go. As for the next year, the goal is to row on a NCAA Division 1 team.
How did it feel to compete at club nationals?
Being with a large program such as CRI was a completely different experience from the usual regattas, just as a matter of the ginormous scale. It was hard not to be overwhelmed, but I found my drive in the small moments. I remember our team had a boat meeting the night before racing, and it was special because we all decided that we were going to do it as a unit, not as just individuals. The next morning, the CRI head coach didn’t recognize us because we were going at it so hard. For that moment, I don’t think I could’ve been any prouder.
What do you want people to know about your sport?
Rowing is for everyone. I had tried over six different sports by the time I found rowing. I ended up falling into a group of strong women, and a team of athletes with all different backgrounds. I have friends who brighten my life every day, and without rowing I wouldn’t have ever met them.
How has Randolph helped you?
Before I started rowing, what really got me into fitness was this 8th grade strength and conditioning class led by Coach Twig. I wasn’t necessarily the most athletic kid by far, but that class laid the groundwork for me to learn that I have the option and the privilege to be the hardest working person in the room. When I got a barbell in my hands for the first time, it felt right, and I never wanted to let go. So at the start of this year, I was psyched to find out that Coach Gaunt was running a strength and conditioning class. The attention to detail that he brings every day in the weight room allows me to improve, instead of worrying about injury.
We wish you the best of luck Molly and can’t wait to see what great accomplishments you have over your career. #WhyRandolph #RandolphStrong
“Spring Quad,” Molly is 1st from the left. Row Huntsville Women’s Varsity Quad
Dogwood Championship Regatta May 2018