Hurricane Headliners: Maya Feldman

Hurricane Headliners: Maya Feldman

Christy Cabrera Chirinos by Christy Cabrera Chirinos

In Hurricane Headliners, Christy Cabrera Chirinos spotlights some of Miami’s top-performing student-athletes as they look to continue excelling in and out of competition.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Maya Feldman has logged more than a few races in Sarasota during her career as a competitive rower.

In high school, she competed there as a member of the Miami Beach Rowing Club. When she came to Miami, she raced there again, this time as a Hurricane.

None of those races, though, was as special as the one she was a part of last weekend.

For the first time in her Hurricanes career, Feldman was able to celebrate a trophy in Sarasota after Miami bested the likes of UCF, Iowa, UNC, and a dozen other competitors to win the Sunshine State Invitational.

It marked the Hurricanes’ first team win at the invitational, a win that was highlighted by Miami’s victory in the first varsity eight, where the Hurricanes crossed the finish line with a time of 6:33.39.

For Feldman – a fourth-year junior set to graduate in May – it will be a memory to treasure.

And, she hopes, it will be a win Miami can build on through the rest of the spring season.

“I think it was a really huge win for us, considering we’d never won that trophy before. That made it really special,” said Feldman, who primarily races in Miami’s second varsity eight boat, which placed second in its race at the Sunshine State Invitational. “It wasn’t just our boat, but we all wanted the whole team to perform well, and it was really cool to see all of our teammates cheering for each other and wanting everyone to do well.

“Immediately after we got the trophy, it was really exciting and everyone was really confident, but once we got back to school and started racing again, it was kind of like ‘All right, that was last weekend. Now we need to focus on what’s ahead.’ As a team, other schools don’t know how much speed we really have, so we’re still trying to prove ourselves and we have a lot to show in our upcoming races.”

The first of those races will come this weekend, when the Hurricanes will split up to compete at both the Miami International Invitational on Virginia Key and the Lake Natoma Invitational in California.

Feldman believes those two races – along with the ACC Championships that loom next month – are an opportunity for the Hurricanes to show just how much their program has grown of late, growth she attributes to a culture change that has come from both second-year coach James Mulcahy and from Miami’s rowers themselves.

“Actually, the fourth-year [juniors] and seniors have been talking about this a lot. To see the change that’s happened from when we were freshmen to where we are now is absolutely insane,” Feldman said. “Four years ago, the team culture was nothing compared to what it is now. I think the girls today actually enjoy being with each other. We enjoy rowing together and going to practice is fun because we get to row with our best friends. … I think [Mulcahy] and the new coaching staff definitely helped with all the team culture. But I think more importantly, it was the girls, too. I think my year and a few of the girls above me really wanted to change the future of the program for the girls coming in.

“It was really important to us that we include them and welcome them when they came in. I can remember how I felt as a freshman and I didn’t want them to feel that way, so I think that was huge. Also, the new girls that have come in, they want to go fast. They’re really motivated to improve the future of this program. I think the personnel on the team have really made an impact on that, too.”

For Feldman, despite the ups and downs, rowing at Miami has always seemed a natural fit.

Both of her parents, Ravit and Mitch, attended Miami and when Feldman came to Coral Gables on her official visit, she quickly realized she wanted to be a Hurricane and continue her family legacy.

"I think it's a really unique experience."

Fourth-year junior Maya Feldman, on what it means to row at Miami

That she now has the opportunity to row with some of her best friends in the shadow of the Miami skyline with the occasional dolphin swimming by has only been proof that she made the right decision, she says.

“I think it’s a really unique experience. There are only 30 other girls in the entire state, maybe even the country that get to experience the exact same thing that I’m feeling,” Feldman said. “No one else is seeing a dolphin. No one else is seeing that glass water. No one else is seeing the Miami skyline. I think just feeling in that moment it’s a really special feeling that you’re experiencing something so beautiful with the people you care about the most. It’s really special to me.”

With the clock now ticking down on her Miami career, Feldman is determined to continue enjoying every moment.

And she hopes she and the rest of the veterans on the rowing team will leave a legacy that can be built on in the years to come.

“Obviously, winning ACCs would be amazing,” Feldman said. “But I just want to see everyone try their best and just be content with the results that they’re showing. Honestly, I’m really looking forward to seeing what the team will do once I leave. I think they’re going to continue building speed. And I think that with the next two years, they’ll be even faster than what they are now.”

Awards and Recognition

A pair of Hurricanes baseball players were recognized this week for their efforts on the field.

Pitcher Gage Ziehl, who pitched a complete game and struck out a career-high 15 batters in Miami’s 3-2 win over then-No. 3 Clemson last week, was on Monday named the ACC Pitcher of the Week.

First baseman Jason Torres, meanwhile, was selected to the Golden Spikes midseason watch list. Torres, who has a .434 batting average and has totaled eight home runs and 30 RBI, is one of 45 amateur players nationwide from the college and high school ranks to have earned a spot on the watch list.

Jason Torres

Also recognized this week was the crew of Miami’s first varsity eight boat, which was named the ACC Crew of the Week after its win at the Sunshine State Invitational.

The boat is comprised of Loran Graves (cox), Stephanie Ferrali, Liane Lopez, Jane Elsner, Constance Stirling, Jovana Stanivuk, Aaliah Dawson, Alyssa Bacchus and Naroa Zubimendi.

It is the program’s third-ever ACC Crew of the Week honor and first since 2017.

What to Watch This Weekend

Plenty of Hurricanes will be in action this weekend.

Miami’s baseball team opens a three-game series at Duke on Friday, while Miami’s rowing team will compete in both Miami and Sacramento.

The Hurricanes track and field team will host the Hurricane Alumni Invitational at Cobb Stadium on Friday and Saturday, while Miami’s men’s tennis team will host a pair of ranked foes at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center. The Hurricanes will face off against No. 20 NC State on Friday and No. 6 Wake Forest on Sunday.

Miami’s women’s tennis team travels to face No. 15 NC State on Friday and No. 31 Wake Forest on Sunday.