Playing softball in Dexter to rowing at the University of Michigan

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photo by Wendy Sutton

From running the bases on the softball field to the flat water and a fast moving rowing boat, Dexter High School student-athlete Samantha Sutton kept in mind academics when she made her decision on which college to pick and sport to compete in.

Deep in the recruitment process to play softball at the college level, Sutton took a big leap and decided to switch gears from the sport she’s played most of her life and commit to the University of Michigan and its rowing team.

In addition to being a standout softball player, Sutton also played volleyball her freshman year in high school, so rowing isn’t something she has had a ton of experience in.

But no matter, she said she’s excited about the new opportunity and is looking forward to taking it on.

In talking about the decision, she said her goal was always to attend a high academic school that would allow her to play softball at a competitive level.

“Unfortunately, there aren’t many schools that would meet my requirements, and I didn’t receive offers that I was very excited about,” she said. “So when I discovered that novice rowing was a possibility for someone like me, I reached out to the coach. The decision was definitely a difficult one; knowing that I would be leaving behind the sport I’ve loved and played for so many years was the one thing holding me back. After weeks of thought, I decided that the rowing opportunity would be the best thing for me in the long run. I was ready for a change, and I knew I would grow to love the sport.”

photo by Wendy Sutton

On the Michigan sports website it highlights Novice Women's Rowing and says, Michigan Rowing is recruiting athletes with experience in other sports to apply their skills and determination to the sport of rowing and become Big Ten and National Champions!”

Looking back at her athletic life up to this point, Sutton said she’s had a lot of support and encouragement that has helped her grow.

“I never would have made it this far without the people who have pushed me to do my best and supported me throughout the years,” she said. “My many coaches have all encouraged me to work hard, and of course, my incredibly supportive family and friends have been with me every step of the way. My parents are my biggest fans, and they never stopped believing in me. I can’t thank them enough for the time and energy they put into helping me succeed.”

She said she will continue to play softball during this last year of high school. This will help her in part to stay in game shape as she looks ahead to next year. She also plans on participating in a summer rowing program with Michigan to help her further prepare for the new sport.

In the meantime though, she is looking forward to getting back out on the softball field. Another important part in her development has been participating in Dexter athletics. 

The years and many games have meant a lot to her.

“I have been participating in Dexter sports since I was very young. They have introduced me to the sports I play today, and throughout those years I’ve come to love them,” she said. “I will always cherish the memories I’ve made with the many teams I’ve been on. I love the adults I’ve gotten to work with and the girls I’ve gotten to know through Dexter sports, and it’s something I know I’ll remember fondly and miss years from now.”

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