Duxbury’s Trevisani: A powerful stroke across finish line at UConn

Sara Trevisani of Duxbury successfully made the switch from coxswain to a top rower at UConn.
Steve Slade/UConn Athletics
Sara Trevisani of Duxbury successfully made the switch from coxswain to a top rower at UConn.

Trevisani powers to finish line at UConn

Sara Trevisani was starting to experience what it felt like to be absolutely drained.

She was rowing for the University of Connecticut women’s four this spring when she realized her arms had nothing left. Her shoulders were beyond burning. She felt like she had swapped backs with a 75-year-old woman. But the coxswain kept yelling out demands.

“People tell you to do stuff all the time,” Trevisani started to explain.


“I always use this analogy: If you’re going to do a backflip, just tuck your legs, jump in the air and rotate. But actually doing it is much harder. Especially when you’re exhausted.”

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She had started her rowing career as coxswain the summer before her senior year at Duxbury High, in 2008. She was eventually recruited by UConn. She had been a three-sport (soccer, swimming, lacrosse) athlete in high school.

Now, after putting an oar in her hands her sophomore year, she was propelling the boat.

The position switch is hard to conceptualize. Sure, rowers have been known to lose their physical ability for one reason or another and revert to being a coxswain as a way to stay in the water. But rarely do they jump ship the other way around.

It’s just not that easy. It’s like a boxing coach leaving the corner of the ring to join the fight against someone professionally trained to pound faces. The coxswain doesn’t need to be in prime physical condition. The rower does.


On paper, this looked like a monster challenge. At least for most teenagers.

“I think there are certain people in the world that kind of have it,” said UConn teammate and close friend Ashley Kalinauskas , emphasizing the undefinable quality defined by the two letters. “She’s one of them.”

In order to make the transition, though, Trevisani had to completely change her life. She jokes about what it’s like to be a “real college kid.”

That didn’t include waking up at 4 a.m. to work out, hit the water and compete in a Division 1 sport — all before enduring a full day of academic rigor. She no longer spent time at the gym for “fun.” Instead, she had to mosey over to the free weight area (also known as The Boy Zone) and spend her time bulking up.

“You have to show [the boys] you can lift more than 3-pound dumbbells,” she said, “then they respect you.”


But the full-life commitment of being a competitive rower isn’t something that can be simply turned on with a switch. Well, at least it would seem that way.

“She was never your average college student,” Kalinauskas said. “I don’t think it was hard for her. She was a great coxswain, but she saw it as the easy way out. As a rower, getting up every day and working out, she saw that as a challenge and she wanted to succeed in it.”

Trevisani turned out to be quite the rower, earning the two seat in the varsity four by her senior year. In her final race, the Big East Championship at West Windsor, N.J., she led a come-from-behind victory in a time of 7:55.396 as the Huskies topped West Virginia, Rutgers, and Villanova.

“Being the first boat to cross the finish line was such a good feeling,” she said.

Last week, Trevisani, a graduated senior, was named a 2012 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete, a reward that mandates a career 3.5 GPA.

She studied physiology and neurobiology with a minor in business administration, and has two entrepreneurial ventures with Kalinauskas. But her newest challenge has been trying to master the game of golf.

“My mom told me it would be good for the business side,” she said.

“I played one hole, lost two balls. I think I got a 6 — not counting the plus-three if you lose your ball.”

Well, she’s still learning the rules. But if history is any lesson, she’ll figure it out. And be quite good at it.

Steve McAuliffe joins soccer hall of fame

After graduating from Silver Lake Regional in 1994 and enjoying a successful soccer career at Merrimack, Steve McAuliffe was inducted into the Northeast-10 Hall of Fame on Tuesday. Aside from being a standout individual, McAuliffe will be best remembered by 30-year Merrimack coach Tony Martone for his role in one of the longest soccer games in NCAA history.

In 1997, McAuliffe scored the winning goal (which he doesn’t remember) in the sixth overtime period of the NE-10 championship game, which lasted almost 2½ hours. Merrimack defeated Quinnipiac, 3-2, for its third straight title behind McAuliffe.

“He’s just a great guy with a tremendous desire to win,” Martone said.

McAuliffe was one of three athletes Martone has coached who was a three-year captain-elect. McAuliffe had a tryout with the New England Revolution after graduating from Merrimack and said he was offered a contract, but he had already accepted a job in finance at Arthur Andersen.

He currently resides as housemaster of Plymouth South Middle School. But he’s moving back to sports full-time at the end of the school year, becoming the general manager for South Shore Sports Center in Hingham. Martone sold the complex three years ago.

“I give Tony all the credit,” McAuliffe said. “He’s one of my mentors, and I can’t tell you how much I think of him.”

Track honors for Whitman’s Alves

Whitman native Jill Alves earned her second career selection to the Capital One Academic All-District I Women's Track/Cross Country Team for Stonehill College. The two-time NE-10 defending champion in the 1,000-meter indoor run also finished her career with a 3.46 GPA.

Jason Mastrodonato can be reached at