Though the face of Radcliffe lightweight crew has changed drastically over the past year, the team has found stability and leadership in co-captain Marissa Reichel.
“Marissa is an amazing athlete and a great leader on the team,” senior coxswain Maryana Vrubel said. “She’s been doing a really great job as captain. It’s nice to have someone so dependable on the team.”
Reichel and dependability on the water have gone hand-in-hand throughout her rowing career.
Dating back to her days with Wayland-Weston Crew in high school, Reichel helped lead the way to four Massachusetts state championships.
Reichel has raced in the Black and White varsity eight since her freshman year and has earned two medals at Eastern Sprints in the process.
Reichel spent much of her sophomore and junior years in the coveted stroke seat. Her steady rhythm on the water and quiet leadership set the pace for her crew.
“On land, she is pretty reserved in certain ways, but once she gets that oar in her hands, she becomes very competitive,” Radcliffe coach Michiel Bartman said. “That’s what you want to see.”
But after former coach Heather Cartwright stepped down, Reichel and her teammates faced a new challenge that can often devastate an entire season: unfamiliarity at the helm.
But the unknown proved to be a boon for the team when the Harvard athletic department hired Bartman as head coach.
Reichel has helped welcome Bartman to Cambridge, and the two have developed a strong respect for each other.
“Michiel is an amazing coach, and I have only good things to say about him,” Reichel said. “He has adapted to coaching college lightweights very smoothly in the last six weeks. He has a really positive coaching style; if we ever have a piece that doesn’t go the way we want it to, he asks us what was good and what was bad about the piece, and how we can improve the bad parts.”
Bartman also sees the dependability in Reichel that her teammates have witnessed over the past three seasons.
“I’ve only known her for six weeks, but in the time that I have known her, she has been very motivated and a hard worker,” Bartman said. “When she steps into a boat you notice a change.”
Despite having a new coach, the Black and White squad has high hopes for coming the year.
“Every year, our team has raised its expectations,” Reichel said. “This year, especially, we’ve been working towards achieving our high goals. Our team is very cohesive, and we have a great team dynamic. Everyone pushes each other to row well and to get faster.”