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North Hills senior to continue rowing career at West Virginia

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Madison Hrynda, 18, of Ross looks over the paperwork for her letter of intent in November 2014. She signed a letter of intent to row for West Virginia University next year. The North Hills High School senior is a member of the Three Rivers Rowing junior team.

The availability of an academic program at West Virginia University persuaded North Hills High School senior Madison Hrynda to continue her rowing career there next year.

Hrynda, a member of the Three Rivers Rowing junior team — based at Washington’s Landing in Pittsburgh — since she was in the eighth grade, signed a letter of intent with the Mountaineers this month.

Hrynda, who owns a horse and hopes to become an equine veterinarian, plans to study animal science.

She chose West Virginia over Louisville, Findlay, Kent State and Tennessee.

“I want to work with horses,” said Hrynda, 18, of Ross. “West Virginia is very good for that.”

West Virginia assistant coach Stacey Van Order said Hrynda will receive a partial athletic scholarship.

“Madison has great energy,” Van Order said. “She should jump on the varsity squad and make a pretty immediate impact.”

Hrynda will join a West Virginia squad that has struggled in recent years.

One of five women’s rowing teams in the conference, the Mountaineers finished last at the Big 12 championships last May in Oklahoma City. They were fourth in 2013.

West Virginia was 10th of 11 schools at the Conference USA championships last spring in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Mountaineers placed sixth two seasons ago, its first in the conference of Southern and Midwestern schools.

Hrynda said she looks forward to contributing.

“I love everything about West Virginia,” she said. “The academics are good, the campus is nice, and it’s not too far from home.

“The team is very welcoming.”

Three Rivers Rowing head junior coach Steve McCarthy said Hrynda has made great strides by practicing more in the past year.

“She’s more dedicated and has had a big improvement in speed,” he said.

Occupying the fifth seat of a boat in the world’s largest two-day rowing event, Hrynda was 37th in Women’s Youth 8 plus coxswain at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston last month. The time was 18 minutes, 58.89 seconds. She was 32nd in the fourth seat a year ago with a time of 19:04.20.

Rick Brown, executive director and former head junior coach at Three Rivers Rowing, said he thinks Hrynda’s best rowing is ahead.

“She’s been able to show some impressive speed that I think was very intriguing to (West Virginia),” Brown said. “I’m excited to see what she can do with an even more complete training cycle.”

Hrynda, who no longer rides, enjoys visiting the horse she boards in Zelienople, Butler County.

“It’s one place I can relax,” she said.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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