Meet Our Coaches

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Kirk Kostrzewski
Lead Instructor

Kirk Kostrzewski is a Buffalo native with years of rowing, physical conditioning, and military experience. He rowed for Canisius High School ('11), The Kent School ('12), and the United States Naval Academy ('16). As a Marine in the artillery community, he was exposed to a variety of demanding and unique physical training techniques. He has since worked the knowledge into his own routines. Through his rowing and military background, Kirk has come to greatly value the benefits of strong fitness, both in mind and body. As the instructor at River Row Studio, he hopes to share what he has learned to help others build themselves.

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Elizabeth
Ostermeier-Denecke
Instructor

Ostermeier-Denecke was a walk on freshman at George Mason University.  She had no prior rowing experience.  She found a home with rowing and began to push harder and harder to be better. She held several leadership positions within the club starting sophomore year as the secretary of the club. Junior year she became President and helped the talks that led to the team being elevated to a Varsity sport in the fall of 1997. Spring of 1997 she helped the Mason Varsity Women’s 8 to come 5th in the final of the Varsity 8 at the Dad Vail. This was the first time for Mason. 

 

Ostermeier-Denecke earned a scholarship and stayed an extra year to gain valuable experience and strength in an effort to row at a higher level. In the summer of 1997, she began sculling in a development camp on the Occoquan.  It was then she realized she wanted to pursue rowing at a higher level.  In 2002 she went to train with former National Team coach Igor Grinko full time in pursuits of a National Team Spot. While working to do this she earned many medals at the US National Championships. 

Rowing played such a significant role in her college career that she decided to pursue a coaching career. It all started coaching Junior boys at Robinson High School in 1999. Since then she has worked as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach DI George Mason University, Novice Women's Rowing Coach at DII Barry University (2000-2002), Augusta Rowing Club Master's Coach (2003-2004), Assistant Women's Rowing Coach DI University at Buffalo (2004-2013), Head Coach BSRA Masters (2013-2017), Head Coach University at Buffalo Rowing Club (2017-present).

 

She continues to work on her own fitness through lifting, rowing, swimming, running, rowing, cycling or chasing after her 3 busy children. She also regularly competes in masters regattas, 5k runs and triathlons. 

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Bridget Wodowski
Instructor

Bridget Wodowski started rowing during her freshman year at Canisius College as a club team member. She was on the team that established their Division I program, earning a silver medal at the MAAC Championship in 2013. After graduating with a bachelor’s in Psychology and MBA in Finance and Accounting, Bridget began coaching high school novices at Mt. St. Mary’s. She won Masters Henley gold in the Women’s 4+ in 2015. Most recently, Bridget has been coaching the novice rowing team at the University at Buffalo. Since 2017, when the club team became coed, she has been teaching college students how to row and helping them reach their full potential as student athletes. Now as a River Row instructor, she hopes to bring the benefits of rowing to adults. 

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June Fortner
Instructor

June started her rowing career in High School at WSRC allowing her to join Ithaca College Women’s Rowing Team where she was able to cultivate a strong sense of passion for rowing.   After much sweep rowing she learned to scull at BSRA and was selected to be on the Ithaca College Sculling Team. June then carried on to assist with coaching at UB where she wanted to help others gain confidence through sculling and learning to row. 


Now June joins the River Row Studio to carry on the motto of gaining self confidence and understanding ones personal strengths. 

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Mike Pratts
Instructor

Mike Pratts is a local rower with Buffalonian roots. He's been working to perfect his rowing form and fitness for almost 10 years. After a successful scholastic career with City Honors School, West Side Rowing Club, and Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association, he's coached numerous programs with great success. Join one of his classes for a firm workout that doesn't skip out on mental tenacity and strength training!

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Hilary Epes-Oballim
Instructor