FEATURE: Payne Serves Key Role With UMass Rowing
May 5, 2011
AMHERST, Mass. -
Longmeadow High's Carly Payne Serves Key Role With Massachusetts Rowing Team
By Dick Baker
A bunch of friends in her University of Massachusetts freshman dorm wanted to try it, so Carly Payne went along.
Why not? The Longmeadow High School graduate had spent a couple of weeks at Holyoke Rows during her junior year in high school, so at least she had an introduction to rowing. And she was athletic, having played for the Lancers' field hockey team as well as running indoor and outdoor track. She was a natural for the water because she had spent five summers at the Longmeadow Parks and Recreation Department, first as a lifeguard, and then training and managing a staff of 15 lifeguards.
But her dorm friends never quite got their sea legs, and decided they were land lovers who could do without the dawn's early lights of a 5:30 rowing practice.
"I was the only one who stayed," Payne said.
She's rowed frantically down the stream for four years, enjoying the success of her team, and recently the recognition of being named as a second team All-Atlantic 10 conference performer.
And she wasn't just another rower on the squad. She was the coxswain of the second Varsity 8 boat, the rowing version of a quarterback in football or a point guard in basketball.
"You're the eyes and ears of the boat," Payne said.
"You have to keep track of everything, everyone has goals, and they have to stay on them, a fraction of a second can make the difference in a race. Practice can be painful, but the race itself is a rush."
Keeping an eye on the number of seconds isn't difficult for Payne. A member of the prestigious Isenberg School of Management at UMass, the accounting major sports a 3.55 grade point average, and will be working post-graduation for Ernst & Young in Boston, possibly later attending law school.
At the A-10's at Pennsauken, N.J., Payne's boat was the fastest in the prelim by recording a time of 8 minutes, 40.3 seconds. They finished second in the Grand Final with an even better mark of 8:36.37, trailing only Rhode Island at 8:32.01.
Overall, UMass finished in a three-way tie for first with Saint Joseph's and Rhode Island at the A-10's, but Saint Joseph's won the tie-breaker in the point system.
Typically after the A-10's, there is also lightweight rowing competition where everyone in the boat has to weigh in under 130 pounds. Last Nov. 1, she steered the Lightweight-8 plus to a first place finish at the Head of the Fish competition. That came only a week after serving as the coxswain at the famous Head of the Charles Regatta where her boat finished ninth.
And the season isn't over for UMass and Payne. The Minutewomen compete again starting May 13 for the two-day Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia.