May 24, 2012

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame rowing team embarks on its quest for the 2012 NCAA Championship Friday-Sunday on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. The competition begins for the Irish at 9:30 a.m. (ET) Friday in the third heat of varsity eight racing.

Notre Dame’s varsity eight boat is comprised of coxswain Abby Meyers, Courtney Gaberino, Morgan Kelley, Stephanie O’Neill, Erin McConnell, Olivia Kacsits, Ailish Sheehan, Erin Boxberger and Molly Bruggeman, who returns to the boat after missing the BIG EAST Championships. They will be racing in the lone six-boat race of varsity eight action against Wisconsin, Ohio State, California, Princeton and Stanford.

The Irish then take to the water in the second heat of the second varsity eight competition and will race against Virginia, Stanford, Michigan and Yale with the race scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Notre Dame will send coxswain Christina Dines, Ingrid Woelfel, Lauren Tharp, Rose Doerfler, Anna Kottkamp, Paige Aiello, Kelsey Haddad, Teresa Blumenstein and Teresa Rubinger out to represent the boat.

The final racing of the first day of competition is the varsity four race. The Irish boating of coxswain Danni Schneider, Joanna Poinsatte, Kelsey Sekanick, Katie Suyo and Stella Willoughby will race against USC, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Yale and Brown with the tentative race time set to begin at 11 a.m.

This marks the first appearance at the NCAA Championships since ’07 when the team earned a 12th-place finish with 13 points. The only other season in which Notre Dame qualified as a full team was in ’06, when the squad placed ninth with 22 points, led by the varsity eight boat which won the petite final to place seventh overall.

Notre Dame returns to familiar water for the NCAA Championships, having just competed on Mercer Lake on May 13 as the team went on to claim its ninth consecutive BIG EAST Championship. It also is the second time the Irish will compete in the NCAA Championships on Mercer Lake, having finished ninth on its waters in the ’06 season.

The Irish represent the lone BIG EAST team in the field. The Ivy League and Pac-12 lead the way in the 16-team field, seeing five teams apiece selected, while the Big Ten (4) and Atlantic Coast Conference (1) round out the group of conferences represented. Joining the Irish at Mercer Lake are Brown, California, Cornell, Harvard, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Stanford, Southern California, UCLA, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Yale.

Prior to automatically qualifying the varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four as a result of earning an NCAA Championships invitation, the Irish saw their varsity eight boat make individual appearances at both the ’02 and ’04 events, finishing 16th and 11th, respectively.

Be sure to check back with for a complete recap of the Irish as they look to qualify for semifinal races that will be conducted Saturday.