Last Tuesday, Victoria Moda scored two goals in a soccer win over Methuen.

And committed to Wisconsin to continue her rowing career.

And celebrated her 18th birthday.

Usually a gooey cake and a peck on the cheek from loved ones make for a memorable birthday. But, as you can see, the Central Catholic senior is from the “Go Big or Go Home” school on birthdays.

“So it was a big day!” said the Methuen resident with a laugh. “I had no intent on committing. I was e-mailing back and forth with my mom. And then I texted the head and assistant coach and said, “As long as the offer still stands, I’m ready to be a Badger.”

Moda chose the Big 10 school over Boston University and also had considered Georgetown and Trinity.

“I was so torn for the longest time,” she explained. “I was more nervous about Wisconsin even though I knew it was a better fit. Now I’m more excited than nervous.”

Moda will be competing in lightweight rowing, which is high-profile even though it is a non-scholarship sport, unlike traditional rowing. Lightweight rowers can’t weigh more than 130 pounds.

The Badgers are blessed to have 9,740-acre Lake Mendota right on campus. 

In the spring of 2020, the Badgers will be competing at the Head of the Charles in Boston, the Crew Classic in San Diego, the Eastern Sprints in Worcester and cap off the season at the IRA National Championships in New Jersey.

The 5-foot-6 Moda can do it all: sweeping (1 oar), sculling (2 oars), port and starboard.

College sports are grueling and time-consuming but for Moda, grueling and time-consuming are second nature.

“I always have at least two practices a day with rowing, soccer, indoor track and outdoor track,” she said.

Not to mention an ambitious academic schedule which this term includes AP courses in statistics, psychology and English literature. She’s already passed three AP courses.

Raider soccer coach Casey Grange is a huge fan.

She said, “She may not be the most talented soccer player on the field but you wouldn’t know it by her 100 mph 100% of the time mentality. Victoria is laser-focused and will absolutely succeed in both the classroom and on the water in her future.”

Essex Rowing

Moda, who plans on majoring in engineering, got her start with the Essex Rowing program.

“They started a Methuen crew team,” said Moda, whose sister, sophomore Sydney Moda, does varsity field hockey and track for Central.

“When I was in sixth grade, they brought an ERG to gym class. The head coach pulled my mom (Patti Walsh Moda) aside and said, ‘I think she has potential.’ Right away, I loved it. The (Essex Rowing) coach was Travis Gardner and now it’s Mike Kapp. They were both a huge help and I loved it. Rowing is my love.”

Moda has always felt at home in the water as her family has a cottage on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Hall of Famer

Victoria got her athletic ability from her father, Jeff Moda, a member of the North Reading High and Fitchburg State halls of fame.

At North Reading, as a senior in football he rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored 10 TDs. In track, he ran a school record 22.1 second (hand-timed) 200 meters.

At Fitchburg, he was the New England Division 3 200 meter champ indoors and outdoors and an All-American in the 200 and 4x400. He later was a finalist for the 1994 U.S. Olympic bobsled team but fell short of making the team.

Victoria got some of that track speed. She helped Central place third in Division 2 States last winter in the 4x200 relay.



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