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Redefining the Panther

-Toni Cuevas

"I’ve been a student athlete since I can remember. First it was basketball (Go Ducks!), then it was volleyball for 6 years (with 1 year of soccer in between) and then it was nothing. I didn’t make it to Middlebury’s varsity volleyball team, and that affected my first year experience. I was lazy, my grades were not the best, and my body didn’t feel like itself. And then, by chance, my CRA was the novice coach of the crew team. He brought up that crew was a no-experience-necessary sport. So, that summer, I committed to getting back into shape, and joined the team my sophomore fall. I made a lot of mistakes that fall, which almost cost me my education, but one of the few things that kept me grounded was how invested I was in the crew team. It amazed me that I could be working towards a common goal (getting faster and stronger) with 50+ other people. A Los Angeles native somehow ended up at on a small liberal arts college rowing team and fell in love. With the people, with the water, and with the oar. My boats went to the Head of the Charles, beat Bates, and went to Dad Vails. Then, after just 2 years on the team, I was elected captain and served as such with every part of my being because crew had become one of my strongest passions. The team drove me nuts sometimes, but I realize how blessed I am to be a part of a tradition of perseverance, strength, and community. I’m already anxiously awaiting my return to Middlebury for reunion so that I can take a trip down memory lane to Lake Dunmore." - Toni Cuevas '18 (Middle Right)

In a sport usually barred to those from inner city backgrounds; stories like Toni Cuevas inspire us most. No matter the background of our students, whether it be a four year varsity rower from New England or a student who's never sat in a shell, we are committed to making rowing accessible and known to all. We'd like to thank Toni for her service as captain this past year and wish her good luck as she is beginning Teach For America in Richmond, California.

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