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Morgan Burchhardt

Explore CDSWOY All-Time Roster Members

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Heather Schmidt

Member of the CDSWOY Class of 2022
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Written by Stan Hudy, The Daily Gazette

Rowing has taken Niskayuna High School senior Heather Schmidt to New Jersey, Florida, California and even Bulgaria.

Next, the sport is taking her to Stanford University.
Schmidt will row as part of the Stanford women’s rowing team in the fall after a six-year career with Niskayuna Rowing.

“If you told me my freshman year that I’d be talking to someone at one of the best schools and the best rowing programs, I wouldn’t believe it,” Schmidt said at her final senior practice on the Mohawk River at the Niskayuna Rowing boathouse.

One of 10 high school honorees for the third-annual Capital District Sports Women of the Year awards, Schmidt is a four-time New York State Scholastic Rowing Association champion, a two-time Stotesbury Cup Regatta champion, a three-time Scholastic Rowing Association of America champion and a two-time silver medal winner at the USRowing Youth National Invitational regattas.

During her sophomore year, Schmidt recorded the fastest 2,000-meter time for a high school female on a rowing machine, referred to as an erg.

“The school record was 7 minutes, 11 seconds and I just wanted to beat the record,” Schmidt said. “I beat that by four seconds and then I beat my [personal record] again last fall.”

With a GPA placing her in the top 5% of students at Niskayuna and her new school record, she became a top rowing recruit.

“Our women’s rowing program has a storied tradition, each year competing for scholastic state and national championships,” Niskayuna athletic director Larry Gillooley said. “We have scores of young women who have continued their rowing careers at some of the finest colleges in the country. I can state without hesitation that Heather Schmidt is one of the best women’s rowers who has ever rowed here at Niskayuna.”

An avid skier, Schmidt is also part of the Gore Mountain ski patrol.

“My entire family are ski patrollers,” Schmidt said. “I took the ski patrol course during the spring rowing season which is a lot to handle — practical exams, written exams.”

Schmidt also played three years on the Niskayuna girls’ basketball varsity squad.

“In the winter, I would be in the weight room for crew in the mornings twice a week, play basketball six days a week and then on the seventh day I’d be skiing the whole day,” Schmidt said. “I’ve definitely kept myself active with a lot of things.”

Schmidt still had time to be the secretary of the Niskayuna Outing Club.

Completing her senior year, Schmidt rowed to a national title in the girls’ double at the SRAA national championship regatta in New Jersey in late May and earned a silver medal in her last high school race at the USRowing Youth National Championship regatta at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota in the girls quad. She then flew to California for the US Rowing National Selection Camp for an opportunity to row at the World Rowing Championships in Italy in July. Last year, she rowed for the USA in Bulgaria.

“Rowing has given me such an opportunity to study harder, to train harder and go to really cool places,” Schmidt said. “It blows my mind every day what I’ve been able to do and I’m only 18. It’s super fun to think about.”

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