Profile: Senior Helena Yambrick captaining Pioneer crew towards big things


What started out as tipping her toe in the water has become a big splash in the life of Pioneer’s Helena Yambrick.

“I always thought rowing looked like a fun sport, and during the sign-up time in the gymnasium at Pioneer, I decided to give it a try,” says Yambrick. “I participated in the rowing camp for interested rowers and chose to stick with the sport. I’m glad I did.”

She has rowed right to the head of the class for the Pioneers. Now a senior, Yambrick was named one of the team captains for this year’s team.

“Being a captain to me is such an accomplishment because it means I have truly worked so hard as a rower to get to this point,” she says. “I like to think of myself as the captain who is fun but one who will get work done when it comes down to it.”

Helena, the daughter of Tony and Stephanie Yambrick, says being a member of the Pioneer crew team has been one of the best experiences in her four years of high school. It’s been more than just a sport or activity to do after school or on weekends – much more.

“I’ve been able to make so many long lasting friendships as well as so many memories,” she says. “The team has been able to teach me new values and given me skills to utilize in my daily life. Every day at crew is different and I’ve come to love that about the sport; it always keeps us interested and on our toes.”

Pioneer crew also has been very successful while she’s had an oar in her hands. That success has as much to do with events outside the boat as it does inside the boat.

“I think what makes our crew team so successful is how we all love each other and work so hard as a team not just for our own personal gain, but for each other as well,” she said.

The fall season of crew is more or less a tune up for the main season in the spring. The Pioneers had a successful run during the fall season, one Yambrick calls her most rewarding in her four years.

“The goals for the fall season would be to medal at every regatta and definitely just do the best we can do to kick butt in the spring,” she says.

After high school, Yambrick, 17, hopes to attend either Michigan State or Grand Valley where she plans to study either optometry, psychology or physical therapy.

“My plans after high school sadly do not include rowing,” she said.

But there is still the spring season to look forward to with Captain Yambrick leading the way for the talented Pioneers.


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