BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK— Shenendehowa senior Michaela Strangia has been in the school’s crew program for the past seven years.
“It takes up most of my life,” she said. “I had a really good coach in seventh grade that just turned rowing for me from just an activity to a competitive level; he took hold of my competitiveness and it all clicked. I was really happy with that.”
“I’m a perfectionist and it’s really a perfectionist’s sport,” Strangia said. “It’s tedious and you go over the same motions and fixing little things.”
Her position in the boat has repeatedly changed. “I’ve been the smallest person in the boat, and now I’m one of the bigger people,” Strangia said. She had always been toward the front end of the boat, but this year she was placed in the middle section. “It’s different,” Strangia said. “I actually prefer it now.”
When everyone is getting situated prior to a race, as the boat rocks back and forth on the water, Strangia never fails to be in the zone, emptying her mind completely. “I try not to think,” she said. “I try not to think at all.”
The spring season will start up at the beginning of April, but sometimes the team is unable to get out on the water until the river unfreezes. “Sometimes we don’t practice before our first race,” Strangia said. “It’s difficult but we are used to it and a lot of the teams here are in the same position.”
“It’s going to be really upsetting,” Strangia said. “But hopefully it won’t be my last race.”
She’s hoping to continue to row in college, where she will major in sales and marketing and minor in accounting. Her two top schools are the University of Buffalo and Trent University.
“I’d always had a strong interest in business since I was about a freshman and it has just developed over time,” Strangia said. “I really enjoy accounting; I didn’t feel I could just be an accountant. My dad is in sales and I really enjoy it.”
Strangia has always lived in Clifton Park.
Her father, Mike, works at OnCall as a district manager pharmaceuticals rep and her mother, Maureen, is a project manager of lighting company VBC. She has an older sibling, Charlee, 19, who is studying to become a social studies teacher at the University of Buffalo, and a younger one, Bryant, 14.
Her dad and her grandmother, Jo, have been her greatest influences. “My grandmother has been a very big inspiration in my life; she had a very rough background but she never used that as an excuse for anything,” Strangia said. “She never completed high school, but she is one of the smartest people I know.”
Strangia was in the fifth grade when her father was granted full custody. “My dad was a single dad for a while; he went from never really parenting to taking on full responsibility of all three of us,” she said.
“He balanced his full-time job and us really well. I never had to give up sports or anything. He figured out a way to make everything happen.”
Six questions for Michaela Strangia
Q: What is the number one thing on your bucket list?
A: Going to every continent.
Q: What is one of your biggest fears?
A: I’m afraid of cats. I like them from a distance, but I don’t like them touching me or being in the same area as me. They freak me out.
Q: If you could have one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets. That is my serious addiction.
Q: If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
A: To fly because then I could go anywhere.
Q: What’s your favorite color?
Q: What’s your favorite book?
A: “Two Suns in the Sky.”