Row, Jenna, Row
October 14, 2016
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The last brass ring Cathedral Catholic High School student Jenna Van de Grift ’17 expected to climb after joining crew her freshman year was a summer spot on the Junior Women’s National Crew Team.
However, when the national team called, Van de Grift answered the phone.
“Going into the selection process for the national team, I honestly had no idea what to expect,” Van de Grift said. “I knew that the competition would be incredibly strong, and I just went into the whole process with the mindset that I would work my hardest every single day and be content with the outcome no matter what.”
After earning a spot on the Junior Women’s National Crew Team, Van de Grift travelled the country, racing in various regattas. Eventually, the team competed in the World Rowing Championship in Rotterdam, Netherlands, where the team placed ninth against other teams from around the world.
“I am so extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to represent my country,” Van de Grift said. “It was an incredible honor and experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Before her big break, Van de Grift’s hard-working attitude was illustrated in the way she carried herself at practice.
According to her teammates, her work ethic and competitive drive motivate the rest of the team to follow her example.
“Jenna’s always super upbeat and ready to work hard at practice,” CCHS varsity crew member Audrey Endres ’17 said. “She doesn’t complain when it’s a hard workout, but instead just tries as hard as she can.”
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Van de Grift also dedicates significant time and effort to academics.
Currently, she takes three advanced placement classes and an honors class. Moreover, Van de Grift is a member of the National Honor Society, an organization that allows her to serve the CCHS and greater San Diego-area community through tutoring and service projects.
When asked about her future plans, Van de Grift said she hopes to work in sports medicine in an effort to keep athletes healthy and safe while continuing her crew career.
Van de Grift balances sports, academics, and extracurriculars throughout her daily life, yet she maintains an optimistic outlook on life.
“Jenna exhibits an unparalleled level of commitment and determination,” Van de Grift’s longtime friend CCHS student Daniel Robinson ’17 said. “Her work ethic to accomplish her goals, whether it’s in the classroom or on a boat, has inspired me throughout high school.
“I know she is going far in life.”