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West Orange Times & Observer Monday, Apr. 25, 2022 3 weeks ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Betsy McFarlane

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McFarlane is Legacy High School’s first female athlete to earn a scholarship to a Division I university.
by: Andrea Mujica Staff Writer

Betsy McFarlane, a senior at Legacy High School recently committed to the University of San Diego, where she will be a part of the school’s rowing team. She is Legacy’s first female athlete to earn a scholarship to a Division I university. McFarlane has been rowing at OARS since seventh grade. She competed at the FSRA Sculling Championships April 9-10 in Sarasota in the varsity 4x- category. Her boat, composed of Jayden Grisaffe, Lizzie Hall and Maia Fitch, placed second. 

How long have you been rowing? 
I’ve been rowing since seventh grade. ... I got into it because I used to swim, and I was getting really bored of it. I was actually a former fat kid and like fat kids just float, you don’t swim, so I was like, “This isn’t for me.” I went to rowing, and I think I stayed because I made friends that I didn’t really make in other sports. 

What other sports have you played? 
I tried playing softball, and I think the only time I actually hit the ball was with my eyes closed. .. I got hit a lot, I wasn’t very good at that kind of stuff. After that, I swam, and that was about it. 

How did you first hear from the University of San Diego?
I was doing something with my brothers one summer and I just started getting emails on my phone. … I was just kind of thrown into the recruiting process, and it definitely makes you think, “Do I even want to go to college? Do I even want to row at the collegiate level? Do I really want to move that far away from my family?” And you really have to make those decisions for yourself, because no one else is going to make them for you. … San Diego was also the first university I talked to, and I remember immediately after I got off the phone with them ... I told my parents, “I’m going here.” And they were like, “No, you’re not, because it is way too far away.” … I just knew that’s where I wanted to go. 

In rowing, what’s your favorite category in which to compete? 
I have a motto that’s kind of opened up a lot of opportunities for me. And it’s just, I can row wherever I need to row in the boat. So, if a coach needs me to row a sweeping boat or a sculling boat, or on port or starboard, I can do it. And that’s opened up a lot of boat opportunities for me. 

Favorite food? 
I make a smoothie every morning. I put cherries and berries, papaya, mango, almond milk, spinach and lemon juice in it because I like sour things. And then, I also like bagels a lot. … Oh my God, burritos! I am literally committing to San Diego, because they have so many taco shops. … I’ve already started a list on my phone, it’s like 10 places long.

What do you like to do in your free time? 
I have a niece and nephew. I think that’s going to be the hardest part of going to college — leaving them. My niece really like to have tea parties; she calls them “pea parties,” because she can’t say tea. She’s usually Cinderella or Rapunzel, and I’m always Gaston or Beast. And then my nephew is really young, he’s almost 6 months old, so he can’t do a whole lot, but he’s the cutest little baby. I play with them a lot, I also like to hang with my friends; we usually go thrifting a lot. 

What’s your favorite thing to do at practice?
Definitely not erging. I think I really enjoy running, both of my parents are runners. And honestly, if my school had a cross-country team or a track team I probably would’ve done that. We do a lot of running at practice, I have a really close friend who’s my teammate and she’s also a runner, so we just run before practice or after practice to cool down. 

If you had a superpower, which one would it be? 
Definitely not flying, I hate heights. I think literally the worst way to die would just be by falling. So I’ll never skydive. But maybe breathing under water or moving water. Do you know how fast the boat would go if I could just move water?

What’s a Netflix series you are watching right now? 
I love Criminal Minds, it’s so good. It’s kind of freaky but I feel like everyone should watch it at least once. 

Three things you’ll take with you on a deserted island? 
Chapstick. I actually put a chapstick in my sports bra at races, I’m like known for that. I’ll like whip it out and put it on. Probably a pillow, because I sleep so much. I can sleep anywhere, anytime, in any position. I literally will fall asleep with my head up at the airport. I would bring my dog; I love my dog. 

What type of music do you listen to? 
Just to listen to outside of practice I like Rex Orange County. …Oh my Gosh why did I not say this, Taylor Swift! This is one of those questions were somebody asks you “how would you describe yourself?” and you’re like “I don’t know!” I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift, she’s pretty great, and then Briston Maroney and Frank Ocean.

What would you like to study?
I thought I wanted to go into the medical field, and then I took anatomy (class), and I vomited when we dissected the pig, so I kind of took that off the table. ... I know that my passion is to help people and interact with them, and I really enjoy being around kids, so I think I want to either be a speech language pathologist and work in pediatrics, or I would like to go to law school and get into the political side of education. 

What’s your personal record for a 2K?
It’s a 7:23.08 right now (1:50.09 split). I am trying to break 1:50.00, I’m trying to get in the 7:20s, but it’s been hard. 

Tea or coffee?
Oh coffee, 100%. But I think matcha is definitely the move. I can’t drink much caffeine though, because it gives me the shakes. 

What’s your favorite chocolate?
I like semi-sweet chocolate chips. Those are my favorites. 

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Andrea Mujica is a staff writer for the West Orange Times & Observer, the Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida....

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