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Leading The Way

Erika Benford helps keep Ohio State’s top boat on track

April 29, 2009

By Larry Watts
Contributor, BigTen.org

Erika Benford’s specialty is sitting. And the Ohio State sophomore has documented proof.

“I was taking a human nutrition class and we had this (computer) program where I had to log in every meal I ate and my activities, and it would show how many calories I was burning,” she says. “I don’t burn many calories, walking to class is about it. Then I had to pick an activity level, so I picked low, and it didn’t match up.

“I was surprised, so I picked moderate and it still didn’t match. The program then told me I had to pick sedentary. That was really insulting, but I’m all right with it. The joke around here is I’m known as the ‘sitter.”‘

That’s just fine with the Ohio State rowing team, where as the coxswain for the First Varsity Eight boat, the 5-foot-3 Benford fits in perfectly as the sitter.

“As the coxswain, my only physical goal is to be at 110 pounds, and being 5-3, that really helps,” she says. “If I’m less than 110 pounds, I’m not pulling my weight and the officials have to put sandbags under me to bring my end of the boat up to 110.

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