POMONA — West Franklin High School senior Macy Flory figured basketball would be her ticket for a college scholarship.
She worked hard at it. The six-foot forward perfected her game by playing all over in the offseason.
Flory spent countless hours getting stronger in the weight room.
One day at a basketball tournament in Wichita turned her fortunes into another direction. The Kansas State University rowing coaches spotted her.
They began recruiting her, even calling the school counselor.
Flory was hesitant at first. Rowing?
She was convinced to at least listen.
“I went on a tour my junior year and got to see the campus,” Flory said. “I was not sure. I might take a basketball scholarship.
“My senior year, I went on the official rowing visit. I fell in love. The coaches are great. They have a nice facility.”
Flory came back from her visit, knowing she was about to embark on a new horizon.
“It is a brand new experience,” she said. “It takes a leap of faith to go out there and try new things. The pros outweigh all those nasty practices.
“It is a whole other world out there. I am ready to take it on.”
She officially became a Wildcat rower after signing in November.
“No matter where I would have gone, I would not become the athlete that I will going to K-State,” Flory said.
She is ready to experience so many new things that being a college rower brings. She will travel to destinations such as San Diego, California.
She will experience the perks of being a Division I athlete.
“I get to see the world from a whole new aspect,” Flory said. “You have a tutor, nutritionist and everybody you could possibly need to succeed. They are there for the rowers. They have an indoor rowing facility.
“We all eat in the football stadium. I eat breakfast with [football players] every morning.”
Flory heard all the stories. Rowing is a hard sport. It is a year round sport. It is tough mentally and physically.
“You have to work for everything you get,” she said. “I have not got a T-shirt that says I am a K-State rower. You will not get it for weeks on end.
“It won’t pay off until your second or third year there. Personally, that is rewarding.”
One thing Flory likes about the sport is the teamwork involved and how the rowers are like family.
“You have all those girls that will be your sisters,” Flory said. “They are going through all those bad practices with you.
“There is no MVP. If one person screws up, the whole boat goes down. Everybody is rowing in sync. It is teamwork all the way.”
Flory will have a chance to learn the nuances of rowing and get physically stronger in her redshirt freshmen year.
“I have a whole year to figure it out,” she said. “You are not thrown in there. They ease you into it. You run and lift lighter until they build us up to where we need to be.”
Flory said the K-State coaches are masters at figuring out if a person is right for the team.
“You have to have a lot of work ethic ... the personality,” she said. “If you are going to be a bad teammate, they will not want you.
“They looked at how I treat my teammates. Strength ... how much power you have.
“Once you get on a recruiting visit, that is when they look into your heart.”
Flory said the West Franklin coaches put her in position for this opportunity of a lifetime.
“All of my coaches pushed me,” she said. “They are supportive. They will continue to.
“They are like a second parent to me like I am a second kid to them. I thank them for that.”