Rowing brings two seniors lifelong friendship


Selena Favela

Kirsten Manson, a senior majoring in exercise science poses with Melissa Daily, a senior majoring in computer science. The two have been friends throughout their four years of college.

Seniors Kirsten Manson and Melissa Daily didn’t know each other coming to Wichita State’s rowing team in 2013.

By sophomore year, the homeschooled Manson and Kapaun Mt. Carmel’s Daily started talking to each other in workouts and bonded during their final three years.

As the two rowers are getting set to graduate, Manson and Daily have formed a friendship they plan to continue beyond their time as Shockers.

“I don’t think there was any formal moment where we just clicked and became friends,” Manson said. “We were with each other every day, so we just start talking about what is going on in our lives and we just got close that way. It was a gradual thing.”

The two rowers didn’t speak to each other until sophomore year, where they would have casual conversations during their 5 a.m. morning workouts. They sat closer in the boat at the start of their junior year, claiming the back spots during competitions.

Daily said that rowing requires such a team effort that the people next to each other got to know one another very well and that’s how she connected with Manson.

“That’s the cool thing about rowing is most of us are walk-ons and everyone comes from completely different backgrounds,” Daily said. “You spend so much time with everyone you just become friends no matter who they are. You become friends with people you never thought you would.”

Both Manson’s and Daily’s leadership this season has helped create a more relaxing environment towards the team, according to junior rower Kaylee Ball. Ball said that their friendship over the course of their careers has helped create a less stressful atmosphere while still combining the competitive nature.

She said that this drive helped keep the team to the highest standards this season.

“They balance each other out well so it helps the team to have them both working together to accomplish something,” Ball said. “Without their crazy ways and strong leadership, the team will feel strange next year with a large void to fill.”

With Manson going into exercise science and Daily going into computer science, both will be going into separate career paths. That, however, will not stop the two from staying in touch and maintaining the friendship they’ve built at WSU, Manson said.

Manson said that they plan on buying a bike together and still making time out of their busy schedules to play their competitive games of Mario Kart as well as vent to each other about problems going on in their lives.

Rowing gave Manson and Daily something that they could do together and the time to cherish the bond they have. Despite not having that opportunity, neither plans on giving up what they have.

“We’ve been talking about that all semester,” Manson said. “We were saying, ‘what are we going to do after graduation? We’ll never see each other.’ Hopefully we can still be workout buddies. We’ll make it happen.”