Sculling for his future

Induni follows brother’s path into rowing, garners invite to U.S. Junior team development sculling camp

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Matt Induni recently traveled to the U.S. Junior Team Development Sculling Camp in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he trained with other athletes with the goal of making the 2016 United States Olympic rowing team.

COEUR d'ALENE - He's got brains and has competed against the best in the nation in the sport of rowing.

Whether that translates into a berth on the 2016 U.S Olympic team is up to Coeur d'Alene High junior Matt Induni.

Induni began rowing for the Coeur d'Alene Club team after his eighth-grade year and has a 4.175 grade point average. He is enrolled in four accelerated classes this fall at Coeur d'Alene.

He started rowing after his older brother Nick began rowing in Vermont and later at Harvard University. Matt was born in Vermont before moving to Portland when Induni was 2 years old. The family came to Coeur d'Alene in June of 2005.

"This is a sport you can do your entire life if you take care of yourself," Induni said. "It almost feels like we're in the wrong area because of the lack of rowing in the area."

"Watching him, I wanted to see if I could do it too," Induni said. "It can be very relaxing to go out on the lake and just row. He's been really helpful to me."

It wasn't until a Junior Identification Camp in Seattle that Induni began to take his rowing seriously.

"We found a camp in Seattle in January to help get him noticed by coaches," his mother Pam said.

"You could really tell who were seniors and underclassmen," Matt said. "There were guys that towered over me."

Induni added that at the camp in Seattle, Bainbridge High had more than 70 participants in the camp.

"I can handle having that kind of size on a team," Induni said. "(But) I'd prefer to have a smaller team so you could have more 1-on-1 time with the coach."

Induni is 6 feet tall and 140 pounds and competes as a lightweight (140 to 165 pounds). Heavyweights are considered 166 pounds and up.

"If you're at 165, it's better to lose the two pounds instead of going up," Induni said. "It is a lot more difficult to go up in weights on a boat."

That camp in Seattle helped Matt become one of 12 nationwide to be invited to the U.S. junior team development sculling camp July 2-9 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

"It was hot while I was there," Matt said. "All of those guys coming in were about my size, so I wasn't outpowered. But we talked about our 2K (kilometer) times and they were minutes faster than I was. They were really serious and have huge clubs that compete for state championships."

As the week went on, Induni not only kept up, he made his presence felt, finishing second in five singles 4K races. Induni averaged finishes in 7 minutes and 40 seconds, but is hoping to trim 20 seconds off that time by the end of the year.

"I prefer sculling," Matt said. "I'm more comfortable with it."

Sculling consists of rowing with two oars in the boat, as compared to sweeping, in which there is one, larger, oar on one side of the boat.

Induni holds out hope that by developing in sculling, his chances to make the U.S. team in the future will increase.

"We've been outmatched in sculling against other nations in the recent Olympics," Matt said. "With sweeping, you can learn to develop faster and more evenly. They are looking for competitors right now to field the team."

Induni added that his experience with other rowers of his level will only help in the fall.

"It was amazing," Matt said. "With 16 others that share that same experience, I knew what I had to do. I learned a lot and got faster and stronger."

Induni will also travel to a sweep rowing camp in August at Stanford University and also a high performance camp in Florida in December. He'll also visit Harvard University, to see his older brother Nick later this month.

"Harvard's a nice school, but I've got my heart set on going to Stanford," said Matt of his future plans. "It would be awesome to go to school there. If I get to row on their team, that would be even better."

Coeur d'Alene, which has the only high school club rowing team in North Idaho, competes against schools from Spokane and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Due to a lack of high school programs in the area, the club competes against teams from colleges and other adults.

"We basically race against anyone we can," Induni said. "We compete against Gonzaga (Prep and University), Washington State and any other novices from colleges."

Induni has lettered both years at CHS.

Martin Stacey, who coaches the Cd'A club team, has noticed a change since Induni's first practice as a freshman.

"He was a beginner then," Stacey said. "And now, he's no longer a beginner. He's more of an accomplished rower now. He's got plenty of skill and enthusiasm for the sport and brings a lot of different things to our team. Matt is also very smart and knows what he's doing."

"We've got a rig (a rowing simulator) at home I practice on during the offseason," Induni said. "As I like to say, my practice lake (Fernan) is frozen part of the year as opposed to those others that can row all year long."

He also works out at Crossfit Coeur d'Alene and has began weight and conditioning programs at school and plays lacrosse during the spring at CHS.

"Our coach is really tough on us during the season," Matt said. "But the conditioning is great. It can be relaxing to go out and just row on the lake."

Induni begins training in early May and continues in the lake until the end of the season in October or November, depending on the weather.

"It's all about having the oar going in the right time," said Induni of his success in the water. "If it's off by a little, everything will be off significantly. Collaboration is needed at all times."

When he's not on the water, Induni is the captain of the CHS Robotics team and helps his dad, Bryan, teach a class on classic car restoration at North Idaho College.

Should the junior make the U.S team, it could go a long way towards putting the sport on the map in the northwest.

If not the world.

"It's been a pleasure to coach Matthew," Stacey said. "He's really worked hard and deserves any recognition he's gotten."

Matt Induni, a junior at Cd'A High, has a 4.175 grade point average.

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