May 14, 2006
Oak Ridge, Tenn. – It was a historic day for the Notre Dame rowing program as the No. 10 Irish varsity eight crew copped the gold medal in the Grand Final at the 2006 Aramark South/Central Regional Championships at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. It marked the first time that a Notre Dame varsity eight boat had ever won the race in the prestigious event.
The win by the varsity eight crew helped propel the Irish to a third-place finish in the overall and Central Region standings at the championships, both of which were the best ever in the history of the program. Ohio State won the overall title in the 21-team field. The Buckeyes finished with 366 points, followed by Wisconsin (361), Notre Dame (336), Michigan (317), Michigan State (312), Tennessee (294), Virginia (284), Minnesota (279), Louisville (227) and Central Florida (193) rounded out the top 10.
The second varsity eight crew finishing fifth in its Grand Final race also buoyed Notre Dame’s final finish, while the Irish’s two entrants in the open four race were fifth and sixth. The novice eight won the Petite Final, while the varsity four notched a fourth-place finish in the Petite Final of its race.
Notre Dame’s varsity eight crew of coxswain Maria Romano (River Forest, Ill.), Julie Sobolewski (Haddonfield, N.J.), Amanda Polk (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Mary Quinn (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), Laura Pearson (Bloomington, Minn.), Allison Marsh (Mashpee, Mass.), Melissa Felker (Bellevue, Wash.), Megan Boyle (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Sarah Palandech (Lakenheath, United Kingdom) won its race with a time of 6:26.00, edging out No. 4 Ohio State which finished the race in 6:26.82. Tennessee finished third with a time of 6:27.34, followed by No. 20 Wisconsin (6:28.79), No. 9 Minnesota (6:29.07) and Michigan (6:31.85).
“This one was of the greatest races that I have ever seen,” Martin Stone said after the race. “It was just unbelievable and a testament to the hard work and dedication that our team has displayed all season long. It was a great weekend for everyone involved and I am very proud with how well we competed. With our results from the weekend, I think we have positioned ourselves for high consideration among the NCAA Committee for a team berth in this year’s field.”
The Irish second varsity eight crew of coxswain Eileen Froehlke (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Sarah Kate Hafner (Tampa, Fla.), Pamela Jefson (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Elli Greybar (Western Springs, Ill.), Jessica Guzik (Annandale, Va.), Casey Fairbanks (Dandridge, Tenn.), Danielle Stealy (Culver, Ind.), Andrea Doud (Redford, Mich.) and Kendra Short (Everett, Wash.) rowed to a fifth-place finish in their Grand Final race as they posted a time of 6:42.21. Ohio State took won the event in 6:34.20, with Wisconsin second in 6:36.17, followed by Michigan State (6:37.85) and Michigan (6:39.04). Virginia was sixth in the race in 6:44.35.
In the open four Grand Final, Notre Dame’s A boat of Christina Padayhag (Kwajalein, Marshall Islands), Ashley St. Pierre (Kingston, N.H.), Shannon Casssel (Bettendorf, Iowa), Alyssa Close (South Dennis, Mass.) and Kaitlin Jackson (West Bloomfield, Mich.) earned a fifth-place finish in 7:53.93, while the “B” crew of coxswain Kelsey Otero (Mequon, Wis.), Alyssa Teves (Denver, Colo.), Erica Castro-Larsen (Lake Matthews, Calif.), Mary McNamara (North Potomac, Md.) and Kate Sylvia (Tiburon, Calif.) was sixth in 7:57.54. Ohio State won the race in 7:40.70, followed by Tennessee (7:44.34), Wisconsin (7:45.45) and Virginia “B” (7:47.73).
In the varsity four race, the crew of coxswain Sarah Keithley (Austin, Texas), Ankica Jedry (Chicago, Ill.), Lindsay McQuaid (Beaverton, Ore.), Brittany Burnham (Hilton Head, S.C.) and Kristan Madison (Saginaw, Mich.) finished the course in 7:47.87 to earn a fourth-place finish in the Petite Finals. Texas won the race in 7:38.40, while Tennessee was second in 7:45.13, followed by Central Florida (7:47.56). Rounding out the field was Louisville in fifth (7:51.16) and Kansas State (7:56.44).
The novice eight crew of coxswain Stephanie Szegedi (South Lyon, Mich.), Mallory Glass (Okemos, Mich.), Laura Petnuch (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Christine Trezza (Staten Island, N.Y.), Lauren Buck (Flint, Mich.), Megan Black (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Anni Nowhitney (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), Danielle Leary (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and Erica Copeland (Marietta, Ga.) was impressive in its Petite Final victory as the Irish finished better than four seconds in front of the second-place finisher. Notre Dame rowed to a time of 7:09.90, followed by Kansas (7:14.77), Kansas State (7:18.11), Central Florida (7:20.89), North Carolina (7:21.16) and Iowa (7:23.60).
Notre Dame awaits news of an NCAA berth this week when both the team and varsity eight at-large spots will be announced on Tues., May 16. This year’s NCAA Championship will be held Fri.-Sun., May 26-28 at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.