Morgan Joseph, a freshman on the rowing team hailing from Ellicott City, Md., recently checked in with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the team and its upcoming novices competition against George Washington and Georgetown on Saturday. Races begin at 11 a.m. on the Rivanna Reservoir in Charlottesville, Va.
Question: As a freshman, this is your first year on the rowing team. Did you have any prior rowing experience?
Joseph: I just walked on. I swam in high school. My mom introduced me to rowing. She just thought it would be a really good idea and a good form of exercise for me, and something she thought I would really enjoy.
Question: How was the tryout process, coming into it not really knowing what to expect?
Joseph: It was pretty nerve-wracking at first, but then [novices coach] Sarah [Cannon] and everyone made it very comfortable. It wasn’t like “Oh wow. You’re going to die now,” because you were so excited to be there. Or at least I was. It was hard, a little bit, but I enjoyed the challenge.
Question: What is your major?
Joseph: I’m going to double major in international relations and economics. That’s really what I came here to do.
Question: You said you were a swimmer in high school, do you still swim in your free time?
Joseph: I don’t really have free time anymore [laughs]. I tried to go to the pool once last week, but there was a swim meet.
Question: How would you describe your first semester at college?
Joseph: It’s amazing, I’m so glad I came here. UVa is a fantastic place, I’m getting a great education, I have this new aspect of rowing in my life, and I just really love it.
Question: How was your first taste of competition, at the Princeton Chase last weekend?
Joseph: It was so fun. It was 100 times more intense than I thought it was going to be. At some point during the race our coxswain was screaming so loud at the other boat to yield to port. I tried to contain myself but I was so excited to be there and it was great. Words cannot describe how exhilarated I felt.
Question: The team has a couple of home opponents this Saturday, George Washington and Georgetown, do you have any friends or family coming out to watch?
Joseph: My roommate wants to come and my family is trying to come; however, they might end up just coming for the Rivanna Romp.
Question: Before you got here, did you know the tradition and success of UVa rowing?
Joseph: Before I tried out I looked them up on the website and I realized this is a dynasty here. This is big.
Question: Do you have a favorite athlete at Virginia?
Joseph: Well my friend is Jimmy Howell so I watch him punt. When I go to the games I’m like “Look it’s Jimmy punting right now!”
Question: What’s your favorite part of practice?
Joseph: Rowing on the water.
Question: What’s your least favorite part of practice?
Joseph: Extended erg[ometer] sessions.
Question: What is something people might be surprised to know about the rowing team at UVa?
Joseph: Everyone is so nice and down to earth. We’re becoming a family, I can really feel it, especially after last week.
Question: What’s your favorite place on grounds?
Joseph: The McGregor Room in Alderman Library. I go there when I really need to sit down and study, and I just feel so serious and calm and focused. If you go in there no one talks, it’s a silent room, and people will stare at you if you talk.
Question: Being from Maryland, is there anything you miss being at school and not being home?
Joseph: I don’t know if there’s a specific thing I miss, but when we were driving up to Princeton we stopped at a rest stop that’s like 10 minutes from my house and I didn’t realize how nostalgic I felt. I miss my family.
Question: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that people need to know about you?
Joseph: Just say hi to me when you’re walking down the street. I’ll say hi to you, just give me a wave. Sometimes I wave at people I don’t know.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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