Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Crew Competes At The Indiana Cup Saturday

April 12, 2001

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The Notre Dame women’s rowing team, ranked 16th in the nation, will travel to Bloomington, Ind., and Lake Lemon Saturday, April 14, for the Indiana Cup. Teams competing in the Indiana Cup in addition to the Irish are Indiana, Purdue and Tennessee. Racing begins Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with the men’s novice four. The race schedule is as follows:

10:00 Men’s Novice 4
10:10 Women’s Novice 4
10:20 Women’s Varsity 4
10:30 Men’s Varsity 4 (Shift Stake Boats)
11:00 Men’s 2nd Novice 8
11:10 Women’s 2nd Novice 8
11:20 Men’s Novice 8
11:30 Women’s Novice 8
11:40 Women’s 2nd Varsity 8
11:50 Men’s Varsity 8
12:00 Women’s Varsity 8

The Notre Dame rowing team is off to its best start in the three-year history of the program as the varsity eight was undefeated, before finishing sixth in the Jessop-Whittier Cup at the San Diego Crew Classic last weekend. The Irish varsity eight crew of Katherine Burnett, Diane Price, Becky Luckett, Casey Buckstaff, Michelle Olsgard, Ashlee Warren, Ann Marie Dillhoff, Jayme Szefc and coxswain Claire Bula is ranked 16th in this week’s US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll. Last week, Notre Dame achieved the first national ranking in the history of the program when it checked in at No. 14.

In San Diego, the Irish finished third on Saturday in heat one of the Jessop-Whittier Cup, which featured many of the top crews in the nation. No. 2 Washington won the heat, followed by No. 7 California and Notre Dame. The top three teams from each heat and the fastest boat in fourth place advanced to the grand final. In the grand final on Sunday, the Irish finished sixth, defeating every team ranked below them except Clemson, who was unranked going into the Crew Classic.

Prior to last weekend, Notre Dame had defeated Tennessee (15 seconds), Creighton (28 seconds), Dayton (34 seconds) and national power Michigan State (two seconds) to start the spring 4-0.

Notre Dame is showing tremendous depth this season as the Irish swept all six races against Tennessee and Dayton and claimed the first and second novice eight races, in addition to the varsity eight, against Michigan State.

Indiana is in its second season as a varsity program and is under the direction of Mark Wilson. In Indiana’s last regatta, a quad meet on April 7, the Hoosiers came away with two victories in the novice boats. The novice eight won in the biggest field of the day, defeating Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northwestern The novice four also won its race, beating Northwestern by 33 seconds and taking first in 9:54.60.

Indiana varsity eight finished second to Dayton by just over a second in 7:38.68, as the Flyers won in 7:37.58. The varsity four had a last minute lineup change and went with a group that had never rowed together in finishing second in 8:43.17.

The Lady Vols have yet to finish lower than third place this spring. Against their last opponent, Louisville, they finished one-two in every race but the novice four, which they won and took third.

This is the third meeting of the spring between the Irish and the Lady Vols. On March 17, Notre Dame swept all six races against Tennessee on Lake Loudoin in Knoxville. The varsity eight won its race by 15 seconds that day.

Tennessee also competed against Notre Dame at the San Diego Crew Classic in the junior varsity race. On Saturday, Notre Dame finished fourth in heat C, while Tennessee was fifth almost 13 seconds behind the Irish. ABOUT PURDUE: Purdue is the only non-varsity team at this weekend’s race, as it is in its 52nd year as a club sport. Against Marietta, Purdue took all races, including a win over Marietta’s Division II/III 14th-ranked varsity eight.

After a lengthy delay on Saturday due to inclement weather in San Diego, the Irish second varsity eight crew of Leah Ashe, Anne Starks, Maureen Carr, Melissa Alberding, Courtney Mercer, Erica Drennen, Kerri Murphy, Katie Besson and Erin Kiernicki finished fourth in its heat of the junior varsity race with a time of 7:12.33, sending the Irish to the petite finals on Sunday. On Sunday, the Irish took second in 7:09.74, trailing only petite champion California, who crossed the line in 7:03.11. Texas was third in 7:16.03, followed by Duke at 7:21.81. Tulsa and Stanford finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The third varsity eight team and the novice crews were to race against Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, but the regatta was canceled due to high winds.

The Notre Dame rowing team, in only its third season of varsity competition, is ranked 16th in the US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Poll. Notre Dame dropped two positions from last week’s No. 14 ranking which marked the first time in the young history of the program that Notre Dame’s top boat had been ranked nationally. The lightweight eight boat finished the 1999 season ranked 12th in the nation.

Northeastern University 19, University of Massachusetts 15, Columbia University 10, Cornell University 9, Stanford University 8, University of Tulsa 7, Dartmouth College 5, San Diego State University 3, and Oregon State University 1.

Notre Dame rowing was granted varsity status in 1996, making it the 26th varsity sport at the University. Martin Stone was hired in ’97 as the first head coach and the Irish competed in their first regatta in 1998.

On Oct. 29, 1997, Martin Stone was hired as the first head coach of the Notre Dame rowing program. Now is his third season at the helm, Stone is poised for his best year yet with the Irish. In 1998-99, Stone sent the program off to a rousing start as he led the lightweight eight vessel to a No. 12 national ranking in its first year of competition. In his second season, Stone saw dramatic improvement from his squad that boasted the talents of Katrina Ten Eyck, one of the top rowers in the nation. Ten Eyck was invited to train at the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. This fall, Stone showed just how far the program had come as he has led his 2000-01 team to four gold medals at the Head of the Elk Regatta in the fall, and a No. 16 national ranking this spring.

Before arriving at Notre Dame, Stone served as the women’s rowing coach at the United States Naval Academy for five years. In 1994, Stone coached the Mids to a NCAA Division II national championship by winning the varsity eight title at the Champion International Collegiate Rowing Championships. In the championship, Navy also won the first novice and second novice championship races. The Mids not only earned the title, but also were awarded the prestigious Anita DeFrantz Trophy for overall performance by women’s crews at the Champion International Regatta.

Prior to taking over the Mids’ women’s program, Stone served as Navy’s plebe lightweight coach in 1991. He also was an assistant rowing coach at his alma mater, Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., in 1990, working with both the men’s and women’s programs and more specifically, with the varsity and novice women.

Stone began his rowing career at Saint Mary’s College as an undergraduate. With the Gaels, he was named the most valuable oarsman three years and went on to earn three letters, two in the heavyweight boat and one in the lightweight boat.

Second varsity eight member Leah Ashe was named the outstanding scholar-athlete of the rowing team at the Academic Excellence Awards Dinner on April 9. Ashe has a 3.873 grade-point average in mechanical engineering. Sophomores Ann Marie Dillhoff and Ashlee Logan were also honored for achieving a 4.0 grade-point average during the fall semester. The rowing team also had the most members (41) make the Dean’s List during the spring ’00 semester., while compiling a cumulative 3.357 GPA during that semester.

In December of 2000, first-year Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White announced the rowing program, along with the other 25 sports at Notre Dame, would receive the full complement of grants-in-aid under NCAA guidelines by the 2004-05 season. A non-grant-in-aid program its first three seasons, Notre Dame is in line to receive as many as 20 full grants-in-aid over the next four years.

“It is very exciting for our program to now have the opportunity to go out and recruit on equal footing. The grants-in-aid will allow us to be more competitive than we already are,” head coach Martin Stone says.

In early January, the BIG EAST Conference announced plans to officially sponsor the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge for its nine member institutions who currently field rowing teams. The event, scheduled for April 29 on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., replaces the Georgetown Invitational which had been hosting a similar, non-sponsored event the past nine years.

“Although it is on a trial basis, it is a big step for the conference and women’s rowing to have the BIG EAST sponsor the meet. Hopefully this will lead to an official BIG EAST championship regatta, now that we have the required number of teams to host a championship” head coach Martin Stone says.

BIG EAST commissioner Michael Tranghese concurred:

“The BIG EAST is excited to add this event. The league continues to identify new programs for women and the inclusion of this Challenge creates more opportunities for our female student-athletes.”

The Notre Dame women’s rowing team christened two new racing shells during halftime of the men’s basketball game Sunday, March 4, against Georgetown. The two Vespoli Millennium shells were named for and christened by University of Notre Dame president emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh C.S.C and Rev. Edmund P. Joyce C.S.C. in front of a sold-out Joyce Center crowd.

It what is a long-standing tradition within the collegiate rowing community, boats are christened and named to honor individuals who have been influential within the University or the sport of rowing. Both Rev. Hesburgh and Rev. Joyce have been trailblazers at the University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh was influential in allowing women to enroll and study at the University in 1972, and Joyce was instrumental in bringing women’s athletics to campus that same year and helping Notre Dame in its drive toward achieving gender equity.

Also present at the ceremony were Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, associate athletic director and rowing administrator Jim Phillips, head rowing coach Martin Stone, assistant coaches Pam Mork and Kevin Luecke and the Notre Dame women’s rowing team.

Head coach Martin Stone will have strong leadership this season as Claire Bula and Erin Kiernicki have been named captains for the 2000-01 season. Bula is in her third season with the Irish and was a nominee for the US Rowing Honor Roll last year. She is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters, majoring in American studies. Kiernicki is also in her third season of competition for the Irish and is enrolled in the College of Business, majoring in marketing and sociology.

The Irish will be missing the services of sophomore Julia Kelly during the spring season as she is studying abroad in Italy. Kelly rowed in the first varsity eight boat during the fall semester. Also senior Sara Andrews will miss the entire spring season due to a leg injury. Andrews rowed with the lightweight eight crew and the varsity four in the fall.

This season, 20 of the 33 varsity roster members are new to the team. The development of the novice program, under the direction of assistant coaches Pam Mork and Kevin Luecke, is paying big dividends for the Irish this season as 16 women have made the jump from the novice to the varsity roster. Head coach Martin Stone also welcomes five freshman to the varsity team this season.

Notre Dame travels to Madison, Wis., Saturday, April 21, for the Midwest Sprints. Many Big Ten institutions and schools from the Central Region will be competing.