Prosper High School’s sports culture has been a powerhouse this year. Each varsity sport made a run in the playoffs and competed against some of the best teams in the state. While most of the spotlight is focused on the traditional sports, such as football, baseball, soccer, etc., one Prosper High School junior is making her mark in a relatively new sport: rowing.

For those unfamiliar with the sport, rowing is a water-based activity in which the competitors simultaneously propel a boat through the water using synchronizing rowing techniques with large oars. There are both individual and team competitions.

Sutton Delaney is a first-year competitor in rowing and a junior at Prosper High School.

She was first introduced to the sport by her father, who was recruited by the rowing team when he was in college.

“After hearing him talk about it and some research of my own, I found White Rock Rowing and decided to give it a try,” Sutton said. “I fell in love with it immediately.”

Besides being a student and a rower, she says she enjoys being outdoors, and in her spare time she works as a lifeguard. She is a member of the National Honor Society and Future Health Professionals, which requires her to attend monthly meetings and participate in clinical rotations at Baylor McKinney.

With so much on her plate, it is difficult to imagine how she finds time to participate in rowing. Sutton says she is dedicated, however. With just six months of experience, she is already excelling in the sport, racing varsity boats with her team.

She practices six days a week in order to prepare for upcoming competitions with other rowers her age in the White Rock Rowing Junior’s Program at White Rock Lake in Dallas — a grueling 58-minute drive from Prosper.

And as if the drive wasn’t exhausting enough, the practices are even tougher.

“Our practices are dependent mainly on the weather,” Sutton said. “When the weather is good, we take boats out on the water and work on technique or race pieces. In a single practice, we row anywhere from about 2,000 meters to 10,000.”

She says the “bad weather” workouts are even more difficult, combining long distance running with “erging” — using rowing machines to simulate the action of rowing in the boats.

“A typical run is about three to eight miles, and an erg, again, is about 2,000 to 10,000 meters,” she said.

Sutton said the demanding practices are worth it though, and they seem to be paying off as the junior is making a name for herself in the rowing community.

On Sunday, May 7, she competed in the US Rowing 2017 Central Youth Championship, in which nearly 1,000 athletes` representing more than 400 crews from 20-plus teams participated in the event, per the US Rowing website. This year’s competition was held in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

As the “stroke” seat, Sutton qualified for the competition with a second-place finish. She advanced on to the finals and led her team of Novice Girls to a bronze-medal finish over several other quality opponents from Austin, Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma.

“(It) was a really great experience,” Sutton said. “It was very fun and rewarding to see all of our hard work pay off and win us the race.”

With one championship experience under her belt, Sutton is already focused on the next big event: club nationals in Ohio.

“My main goal this summer is to get faster erg times and a medal at nationals,” she said.

Sutton will also be visiting some colleges to learn more about their rowing programs.

All the miles, meters and minutes aside, Sutton is a force to be reckoned with in the rowing world.