Brett Bossé, Class of 2020, Wins Gold with U.S. Junior National Rowing Team

Brett Bossé, Class of 2020, Wins Gold with U.S. Junior National Rowing Team

Manhasset resident Brett Bossé, a 15 year old sophomore at Saint Mary’s High School and two-time gold medalist at the U.S. National Rowing Championship over the summer, was a reluctant rower…at first.

“I started rowing when I was 11 years old,” Bossé noted. Every year in June, most rowing clubs host “National Learn to Row Day.” “My parents signed me up without asking me,” he explained. “I agreed to attend, but very, very reluctantly. I did not want to go. I knew nothing about it.”

“Well, those two hours changed my life,” he continued. “The coaches taught me how to erg,” rowing on an indoor machine.  “The varsity boys took me out on the water and taught me how to row.  Since being on the water that first time – that’s the only place I want to be.  The experience was incredible.  Following the session, I asked my parents if they would sign me up for summer rowing camp.  They asked ‘Which week?’  I said – ‘ALL of them!’  I’ve rowed year-round ever since.”

What he once started with hesitation, Bossé now pursues with passion. “I now work out six days a week year-round,” he stated. “During the fall and spring seasons I have practice six days a week and we attend regattas on the weekends.  The winter season consists of a tremendous amount of indoor training sessions as well as travel to various indoor erg competitions.”

Bossé credits the head coach and program director at Port Rowing, Michiel Bartman, with being his inspiration to push himself harder. “He is a three-time Olympic medalist. He teaches us about healthy eating and keeping our bodies physically fit; he corrects our mistakes and encourages us to polish our strengths.”

That inspiration and Bossé’s enthusiasm for the sport led him to pursue his dream of trying out for the U.S. Junior National Team last March. U.S. Rowing holds about 10 open tryouts across the country every year and Bossé spent last winter preparing for one of them. “My parents and I mapped out a plan which included significant travel and time commitments with the goal of performing at my peak during the tryout,” he noted. “All winter I trained with Port Rowing, participated at various indoor erg competitions and refined my technical rowing skills at a camp hosted by a major university.  My dad and I traveled up and down the east coast many weekends last winter.  Ultimately, it came down to an intense six-hour tryout in late-March in Princeton, N.J. A few weeks later I received an e-mail congratulating me on making the team! I was speechless. I was so happy my hard work, sacrifices and meticulous preparation all winter paid off. My dream had come true.”

Following the completion of his freshman year at St. Mary’s last June, “I jumped on a plane to train with the team in Sarasota, Florida,” said Bossé.  “My teammates were from all over the country.  They were just as nervous and excited as I was to be a member of the team. We all worked so hard to be there and we wanted to do our best.  We trained twice-a-day, six days a week in intense heat. Weeks later we flew to Ohio to compete at the U.S. Rowing Club National Championships. More than 2,100 athletes and 1,750 boats from 115 clubs from all over the United States competed for over five days.” When it was all over, Bossé walked away with two National Championship gold medals, in the men’s double and eight. “I have never experienced such a surge of joy and accomplishment running through my veins as when I crossed the finish line first,” he explained.

In addition to his wins, Bossé’s favorite part of the competition was “representing the United States,” he noted. “I was honored to be a member of the team.”

Despite his dedication to rowing, Bossé leads a well-rounded life. After graduating from Saint Mary’s Elementary School, he made the First Honor Roll all four quarters of his freshman year at St. Mary’s High School and is a member of St. Mary’s Scholar Service Institute, which requires service hours and excellent grades.  He noted that while he was prepping for the National Team tryout, his father insisted he study every night in the hotel when their travels included an overnight stay. “My favorite subject is math,” he noted. “I had Mr. Mongeluzzo for Algebra freshman year. He inspired confidence in me and always told me I could do well if I tried my best. I developed a love and better understanding of math because of him.  He also kept me smiling and confident during a very busy year as I adjusted to High School.” Bossé is also a member of St. Mary’s Finance Club, Bible Club, Chess Club and Ping Pong Club.

Outside of school, he carves out time for the Boy Scouts, where he is working on his Eagle Scout rank, and volunteering twice a week as a peer mentor to help Port Rowing’s Adaptive Team for children with autism. He is also very involved in his parish, the Church of St. Mary. He was an altar server as a student at St. Mary’s Elementary School and now works as a sacristan in the parish, and is a member of the Don Bosco Squires, a part of the Knights of Columbus.

Bossé continues to be a member on the varsity team at Port Rowing, where he now pursues even bigger dreams. “I hope to compete once again next summer as a member of the U.S. Junior National Team, but my dream is to someday represent the United States while competing at the international level at the World Championships and ultimately, the Summer Olympics.”

“Rowing has changed my life in more ways than I can count,” he continued. “I am a better son, brother, student, and teammate than I was before I started rowing.  Rowing has given me goals – both short and long term.  Also – given the significant time commitment I now know how to manage my time and other responsibilities more effectively. They don’t call rowing the ultimate team sport for nothing. I would tell anyone thinking of joining a rowing team to remember you cannot row a boat alone.  You get to know your teammates and coaches very well and learn the true meaning of commitment.”

Bossé noted that since he is only at the start of his sophomore year, he hasn’t even thought about colleges or majors yet, but is excited to continue to build on his St. Mary’s experience. “Looking forward, I want to continue to contribute to the St. Mary’s community as much as possible academically and through my extracurricular involvement, be the best student I can be and a valued teammate,” he said.

St. Mary’s is currently working in collaboration with Port Rowing to gauge student interest for workout sessions with their program in Port Washington. Leadership from the organization will be visiting campus to further cultivate a relationship beginning with presentations to current and aspiring St. Mary’s athletes.