All-BIG EAST first team selection Stephanie O'Neill was one of seven Notre Dame rowers to earn all-conference honors at the BIG EAST Championship

Irish Claim Five Grand Final Titles To Earn 10th Consecutive BIG EAST Championship

May 19, 2013

BIG EAST Championship Results Get Acrobat Reader

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The University of Notre Dame rowing team nearly posted an unblemished race record Sunday, claiming five of six grand final contests to earn the 2013 BIG EAST Championship on Mercer Lake. The performance clinched the 10th straight, and final, BIG EAST Conference title for the Irish.

Notre Dame scored a total of 151 points to finish 22 points ahead of runner-up Louisville (129 points). Syracuse posted a third-place team finish with 128 points, while Rutgers (94 points) and Georgetown (85 points) rounded out the top five.

A total of seven Irish rowers earned all-BIG EAST honors, led by first team selections Molly Bruggeman, Erin Boxberger, Ailish Sheehan and Stephanie O’Neill. Anna Kottkamp, Joanna Mulvey and Courtney Gaberino were each named to the second team. The Notre Dame coaching staff was tabbed as the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year for the seventh time in program history.

The Irish, ranked 11th in the most recent Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA)/USRowing team rankings, opened the finals with a head-to-head race victory over No. 19 Louisville in the third varsity four. The Notre Dame launch of coxswain Maggie McKee, Sarah Russel, Anne Blieszner, Elizabeth Linnemanstons and Megan McKeon logged a time of 8:20.902 to down the Cardinals by nearly eight full seconds (8:28.797).

Louisville gained a measure of retribution in the second varsity four, drawing even in the overall competition with a winning time of 7:55.965. Notre Dame’s entry of coxswain Mikaela Prego, Kendra Rask, Madelynn Conlin, Hayley Johnson and Elizabeth Kelley finished as the runner-up in 7:58.314.

The Irish would sweep all remaining finals heats, beginning with the third varsity eight. Coxswain Alex Techar, Sarah Kappers, Madelyn Tournat, Madeline Loper, Alexis Olson, Katherine Lumetta, Emily Horton, Katie Skorcz and Mairead Dunne crossed the finish line in 7:18.864 for a near 10-second triumph over second place Syracuse (7:28.279). Louisville (7:31.031), Connecticut (7:43.078) and Rutgers (8:25.803) rounded out the event finishers.

Notre Dame claimed its third victory of the day in the varsity four, outpacing Louisville for the second time in three races. The Irish crew of Danni Schneider, Kelsey Murphy, Ellen Gleadow, Stella Willoughby and Kiersten DeHaven (7:47.563) edged out the runner-up Cardinal entry (7:55.317). Syracuse checked in with a time of 8:00.582 (third place), while Connecticut (8:25.169) and Rutgers (8:34.874) finished in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

The second varsity eight also went in favor of the Irish, as coxswain Christina Dines, Paige Aiello, Teresa Blumenstein, Ingrid Woelfel, Carlee Beckler, Rose Doerfler, Kelsey Haddad, Kelsey Sekanick and Teresa Rubinger logged a team split of 7:04.071 for the fourth Notre Dame first-place result. Louisville was slightly off the pace at 7:09.764, followed by Syracuse (7:10.319), Georgetown (7:38.860) and Rutgers (7:43.094).

In the championship’s final event, the Irish put the exclamation point on their decade of dominance at the conference races, taking the varsity eight crown over strong contenders from both Syracuse and Louisville. Notre Dame’s Abby Meyers, Joanna Poinsatte, Stephanie O’Neill, Joanna Mulvey, Courtney Gaberino, Erin Boxberger, Ailish Sheehan, Anna Kottkamp and Molly Bruggeman excelled in the final sprint of what had become a three-team race, clocking in at 6:49.656 to down a streaking Syracuse (6:51.418) launch. Louisville, who darted to an early lead before falling off the pace, posted a third-place finish at 6:57.592.

Notre Dame will look to qualify for the NCAA Championship for the second straight season when the championship field is announced Tuesday at 5 p.m. on The Irish, along with the Indiana Sports Corporation, will co-host the NCAA Division I Rowing Championship May 31- June 2 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

Final Team Standings

1. Notre Dame, 151 points

2. Louisville, 129 points

3. Syracuse, 128 points

4. Rutgers, 94 points

5. Georgetown, 85 points

6. Connecticut, 82 points

7. Villanova, 56 points

All-BIG EAST First Team
Molly Bruggeman, Notre Dame
Erin Boxberger, Notre Dame
Ailish Sheehan, Notre Dame
Stephanie O’Neill, Notre Dame

Dasha Marchanka, Louisville
Morgan Dunham, Louisville
Natalie Mastracci, Syracuse
Stephanie Ford, Rutgers
Devon O’Brien, Georgetown
Julia Roth, Connecticut
Kelly O’Conor, Villanova

All-BIG EAST Second Team
Anna Kottkamp, Notre Dame
Joanna Mulvey, Notre Dame
Courtney Gaberino, Notre Dame

Erin Bennett, Louisville
Kara Savegnago, Louisville
Carmen Failla, Syracuse
Kristina Herb, Syracuse
Shannon Haines, Rutgers
Raelyn Loiselle, Rutgers
Lindsey Bragg, Georgetown
Kendra Kohanski, Connecticut

Coaching Staff of the Year
Notre Dame