Under less than ideal rowing conditions, co-captain Meredith Thornburgh helped lead the Irish to the 2005 BIG EAST Championship.

Irish Rowers Capture BIG EAST Championship

April 24, 2005

Worcester, Mass. – Notre Dame captured its first-ever BIG EAST Conference championship title on Sunday afternoon, May 24 at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester. Mass., by winning four of six events. The Irish second varsity eight, varsity four, second varsity four and novice four boats were victorious enroute to the team title. In addition, Notre Dame took second in the varsity eight and novice eight races.

After the four previous conference regattas were “challenges,” the 2005 event was conducted for the first time as a BIG EAST championship. Notre Dame won the BIG EAST rowing event for the second straight year after finishing first at the 2004 Challenge.

The championship was marked by less than ideal rowing conditions as white caps and strong winds played havoc with races all day long.

Notre Dame finished with a final point total of 116, followed by Boston College (92), Rutgers (90), Connecticut (76), Syracuse (75), Georgetown (45), Villanova (44) and West Virginia (40).

“I’m really proud of how our team battled the adverse conditions on Sunday,” head coach Martin Stone said. “Everything that could have possible went wrong did, but I think we handled the situation very well. All of kids showed a lot of character on the water and I was extremely happy with the way everyone rowed.”

For the second consecutive year, Notre Dame’s second varsity eight boat was victorious winning the Grand Final in 8:23.11, more than 12 seconds ahead of the Boston College’s second place time of 8:35.90. Connecticut placed third in 8:36.39, wolloed by Rutgers (8:52.61) and Georgetown (9:10.57). In the boat for the Irish weresophomore coxswain Maria Romano (River Forest, Ill.), senior Meredith Thornburgh (Indianapolis, Ind.), freshman Ankica Jedry (Chicago, Ill.), senior Elizabeth Specht (Berkely, Calif.), sophomore Alyssa Close (South Dennis, Mass.), senior Devon Hegeman (Haddonfield, N.J.), junior Andrea Doud (Redford, Mich.), junior Pamela Jefson (Kalamazoo, Mich.) and sophomore Sarah Kate Hafner (Tampa, Fla.).

Notre Dame’s varsity four crew also took top honors for the second consecutive year in the Grand Final. The boat of senior coxswain Caitlin Rackish (Williamsport, Pa.), senior Shannon Mohan (Naperville, Ill.), senior Kati Sedun (Lake Oswego, Ore.), freshman Casey Fairbanks (Dandridge, Tenn.) and freshman Brittany Burnham (Hilton Head, S.C.) posted a winning time of 9:48.45, outdistancing second-place Boston College (10:00.10) by more than 12 seconds. Syracuse took third place with a time of 10:09.10, while Rutgers finished a close fourth in 10:10.10. West Virginia (10:53.90) and Connecticut (11:245.60) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The second varsity four also placed first for the second straight year. The boat of junior coxswain Shannan Lettieri (Cairo, N.Y.), sophomore Shannon Cassel (Bettendorf, Ia.), junior Danielle Stealy (Culver, Ind.), sophomore Ashley St. Pierre (Kingston, N.H.) and senior Tricia Hale (Page, Ariz.) crossed finish line in a time of 9:01.10. Syracuse took second in 9:13.80, followed by Rutgers (9:19.26) and Boston College (9:21.96).

Notre Dame also earned a first-place finish in the novice four race for the second straight year. The crew of freshmen coxswain Ko-Un Park (Seoul, Korea), Christine Burke (San Diego, Calif.), Mary McNamara (North Potomac, Md.), Amy Vereecke (Walker, Ind.) and Colleen Beeler (Granger, Ind.) were convincing in their victory as they crossed the finish line in 9:00.06. Georgetown took second in 9:36.55, followed by Connecticut (9:54.9).

The Irish varsity eight crew of coxswain Maureen Gibbons (Langhorne, Pa.), junior Jessica Guzik (Annandale, Va.),senior Katie Chenoweth (East Lansing, Mich.), freshman Amanda Polk (Pittsburgh, Pa.), freshman Mary Quinn (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), freshman Allison Marsh (Mashpee, Mass.), junior Sarah Palandech (Lakenheath, United Kingdom), senior Rachel Polinski (Mansfield, Ohio) and junior Melissa Felker (Bellevue, Wash.) took second to No. 18 Syracuse in the Grand Final. The Orange posted a time of 8:05.18, while Notre Dame finished in 8:19.27. Boston College was third in 8:25.16, while Rutgers placed fourth in 8:26.49. Connecticut (8:47.12) and West Virginia (8:55.38) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The Irish novice eight crew of freshman coxswain Christina Padayhag (Kwajalein, Marshall Islands) and freshmen Julie Sobolewski (Haddonfield, N.J.), Lindsay McQuaid (Beaverton, Ore.), Kristan Madison (Saginaw, Mich.), Laura Pearson (Bloomington, Minn.), Carolyn Sarb (Lisle, Ill.), Kathleen Linzmeier (Coto de Caza, Calif.), Colleen McGue (Hinsdale, Ill.) and sophomore Megan Marshall (South Bend, Ind.) took second behind Rutger (8:05.75) with a time of 8:20.32. Connecticut was third in 8:46.42, followed by Villanova (8:55.34), Syracuse (9:10.40) and Boston College (9:23.73).

Notre Dame will not compete again until May 14-15 when it travels to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the South/Central Regional Championships.