With her swift progress as coxswain for the junior varsity (JV) rowing team boat and her exceptional leadership skills during crew season, sophomore Julian Mokgoatsana has been honored as Cyclone of the Week.
The UC Davis Regatta on Mar. 6 — racing against UC Davis University, Santa Clara University and Sonoma State University — was a pivotal demonstration of Mokgoatsana’s success as a leader for the crew team. Mokgoatsana coxswained for both the JV8+ and the JV4+ boats. Her leadership skills and her ability to take on challenges head-first has significantly benefited her team. The JV8+ finished 3rd in 8:21.1 and the JV4+ finished third in a 9:37.3, both close behind Santa Clara’s Division one team.
Mokgoatsana joined the crew as a walk-on in the Fall of 2015 and has experienced nothing but improvement and mastery in her coxswain role on the team since then. With no prior experience to the sport of rowing, Mokgoatsana has progressively augmented her performance at a break-neck speed. As coxswain, she is responsible for directing the rowers of her boat, giving statistics on rates and splits as well as motivating the athletes during grueling competitions and practices.
Her skills have improved rapidly in the 19 weeks since she first began coxswaining. As the season has progressed, Mokgoatsana has accepted more responsibilities as a team leader. This has impacted her as both a person and an athlete.
“I have more on my shoulders and it has pushed me to learn and trust myself…I am benefitting from encouragement and help from my teammates,” Mokogatsana said.
Head Coach Sara Nevin has noted the impact Mokgoatsana has had on the team. Mokgoatsana began the season with consistent dedication and authentic athleticism and has maintained those attitudes throughout the season. She has risen to the challenge un-phased by unpredictable obstacles that have risen during practice and competition.
“Her athleticism combined with her intelligence gives her the tools she needs to succeed in the coxswain seat,” Nevin said. “Being in her position is huge.”
In addition to the crew team, Mokgoatsana is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) , acting as a student representative for the athletic department. Fellow SAAC member and varsity rowing team member Cassandra Colten has remarked on Mokgoatsana’s rapid improvement and ability to take-on large leadership roles with ease.
“The team will be really strong with her next year, and she is going to move up as varsity coxswain,” Colten said.