Cavalier Corner

December 2021

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18 CAVALIER CORNER EXCEPTIONAL UVA STUDENT-ATHLETES ABBIE BIRD Graduate Student • Rowing England native Abbie Bird's journey to the University of Virginia started during a tour of the United States with other top British rowers. Bird impressed UVA rowing head coach Kevin Sauer with her engag- ing personality during that first meeting. Sauer immediately started recruiting Bird, and not only is the graduate student a member of the Cavaliers, but her sister Izzie has joined her on Grounds, too. "My sister Izzie is my best friend, and having her by my side through the fun and the difficult is amazing," Bird said. "Being able to share the love for Charlottesville, UVA and the team with someone so important to me is beyond describable." Bird has improved every year at UVA. She was part of the ACC champion Third Varsity Eight as a first-year, ACC champion Second Varsity Four as a second-year, and ACC champion Varsity Eight and ACC Crew of the Year as a fourth-year in 2021 following the cancel- lation of the 2020 rowing season due to COVID-19. In 2021, Bird helped the Varsity Eight to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships and was named a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/Pocock second-team All-American. This season, her teammates voted her a team captain because of her work ethic and positive attitude. "My main goal for this season is to bring my team with me, and together increase the Virginia rowing standard," Bird said. "I have some awesome teammates who have witnessed my growth between last season and this semester. I intend for that to rub off on the people around me and bring them with me." Bird has excelled in the classroom as well, earning a spot on the All-ACC Academic team and three ACC Honor Roll accolades. She earned her undergraduate degree in American studies and is pursu- ing her master's degree from the UVA School of Education and Hu- man Development. "Staying involved with rowing is for certain," Bird said of her future plans. "I'm currently in the higher education program here, and I love my internship in student services. Combining athletics and student services is definitely something I want to do workwise. "With Paris [2024 Summer Olympics] being a few years away, I'm looking to try out and be part of the Great Britain development team and hopefully make the LA [2028] team. I'm definitely not finished with rowing yet and know there's a lot more to find. Kevin has been a big believer in me, and now I'm ready to believe in myself!" — Erich Bacher • Photo by Matt Riley/courtesy UVA Athletics

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