Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Irish Rowers Travel To Both Head of The Charles and Head of the Eagle.

Oct. 17, 2003

by Nicole Rapagnani

THIS WEEK: The Notre Dame women’s rowing team will conclude its fall season this weekend with selected crews traveling to two different sites. The first and second varsity eight boats will venture to Boston, Mass., for the prestigious Head of the Charles and the third and fourth varsity eights and the novice roster will travel to Indianapolis, Ind., for the Head of the Eagle.

ABOUT THE HEAD OF THE CHARLES: The Irish travel to Boston, Mass., on Oct. 18-19, for the world’s largest two-day rowing event, the Head of the Charles, also known as American’s Fall Rowing Festival. The year marks the first-ever appearance for the Irish at this prestigious regatta.

Over the past 38 years, the Head of the Charles regatta has grown to new heights. Today, more than 7,000 athletes from around the world compete in 21 different racing events. The regatta grew to a two-day event in 1997. Now in its 39th year, the Head of the Charles attracts up to 300,000 spectators during the October weekend.

The course starts at the Boston University Boathouse and goes almost immediately under the combination of a railroad trestle bridge and the Boston University Bridge. It then proceeds through five triple-arch bridges to the finish line approximately three miles upstream.

For more information, visit the official site of the Head of the Charles at

SCHEDULE FOR THE HEAD OF THE CHARLES: The Head of the Charles begins Saturday with the men’s club eight at 12:00 p.m. with racing taking place for the remainder of the day. Races will continue on Sunday morning, beginning with the men’s senior veteran singles at 8:00 a.m. Races will follow the traditional head-race format with boats starting in increments of 10-15 seconds. The following are the races in which the Irish will be competing:

Saturday, Oct. 18, 2003 12:17 p.m. – Women’s Club Eight (Second Varsity Eight Crew)

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2003 4:08 p.m. – Women’s Championship Eight (First Varsity Eight Crew)

In the club eight, the Irish will start 26th out of 47 competing boats, which includes Iowa and Tennessee. In the championship eight, Notre Dame will start 37th out of 40 boats. Competition will include Iowa, Virginia, Michigan, Princeton, Stanford, Boston University, Tennessee and USC.

TRAVELING TO THE HEAD OF THE CHARLES: The following rowers will be traveling to the Head of the Charles this weekend: coxswains Maureen Gibbons, Kacy McCaffrey and Kathryn Long, rowers Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Andrea Doud, Melissa Felker, Sarah French, Jacqueline Hazen, Natalie Ladine, Katie O’Hara, Sarah Palendech, Rachel Polinski, Danielle Protasewich, Jenna Redgate, Megan Sanders, Elizabeth Specht, Ashley St. Pierre, Danielle Stealy, Meredith Thornburgh and Kathleen Welsh.

ABOUT THE HEAD OF THE EAGLE: The third and fourth varsity eight and the novice roster, which is comprised of athletes who are just learning about the sport of rowing, will race on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the 14th annual Head of the Eagle Regatta.

The rowers will race on a 2.75-mile course against the clock at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind. It is a relatively straight course, with one bridge, which only allows for one boat to pass at a time. The Head of the Eagle is a good training meet for developing rowers, giving them an opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the region.

Visit the official site of the Head of the Eagle at for more information, including directions and any schedule changes.

SCHEDULE FOR THE HEAD OF THE EAGLE: The Head of the Eagle will begin Saturday morning with the women’s open eight at 9:00 a.m. with racing taking place until 2:10 p.m. The following are the races in which the Irish will be competing:

9:00 a.m. – Women’s Open Eight
12:45 p.m. – Women’s Novice Eight

THE CREWS FOR THE WEEKEND: Head coach Martin Stone is still working on the crews for the weekend and were unavailable at press time.

HISTORY AT THE HEAD OF THE EAGLE: Selected crews from the Irish roster traveled to Indianapolis, Ind. for the Head of the Eagle in the fall of 2001. The first novice eight placed third with the other novice boats finishing seventh, eight and ninth in the same race.

LAST WEEK AT THE HEAD OF THE ROCK: Notre Dame took first in the pairs race while finishing fourth and seventh in the open eight race and fourth and fifth in the fours Sunday at the Head of the Rock Regatta in Rockford, Ill. The Irish first varsity eight of Kathryn Long (cox), Natalie Ladine, Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Ashley St. Pierre, Danielle Protasewich, Jacqueline Hazen, Melissa Felker and Kathleen Welsh placed fourth in 16:46.4. Wisconsin was first in 16:16.9, followed by Minnesota in second at 16:21.8, Iowa in third at 16:35.3 and Notre Dame in fourth.

The second eight of Kacy McCaffrey (cox), Rachel Polinski, Jenna Redgate, Meredith Thornburgh, Katie O’Hara, Danielle Stealy, Andrea Doud, Sarah Palendech and Megan Sanders was seventh in 17:03.2, while the third eight of Maureen Gibbons (cox), Kati Sedun, Jessica Guzik, Alyssa Close, Kristin Henkel, Pamela Jefson, Sarah French, Megan Sheehan and Sarah Keefer was 12th in 17:28.3. The fourth varsity eight of Shannan Lettieri (cox), Kristen Mizzi, Morgan Ertel, Colleen Larson, Ann Mulligan, Julie Lewis, Sarah Hafner, Catherine Schmidt and Tricia David was 16th in 17:46.5. In the varsity four, the Irish fared well, finishing fourth and fifth. The crew of Long (cox), Polinski, Sedun, Thornburgh and O’Hara was fourth in 18:46.7 and the boat of Gibbons (cox), Jefson, Keefer, Sheehan and French placed fifth in 18:54.7.

In the pairs, Notre Dame took two of the top five places and six of the top 17. The duo of Ladine and Bartek won the pairs race, with a time of 19:35.3, finishing more than six seconds ahead of the next boat. The Irish were followed by Iowa’s first pair, Wisconsin, Iowa’s second pair, and in fifth was the Irish pair of Protasewich and Welsh.

In their first-ever collegiate race, the novice boats did very well. The novice eight team of coxswain Eileen Froehlke, stroke Sarah Kate Hafner, Shannon Cassel, Caroline Murphy, Elizabeth Hatch, Kerstin Palm, Sarah Shaw, Danielle Potts and Colleen McCotter, finished in second place in 18:53.1. Six of the nine members of this novice boat only started rowing this past September. The novice four crew of coxswain Erin Weedon, stroke Ashley St. Pierre, Jessica Guzik, Alyssa Close and Colleen Larson won first place in 19:14.0, finishing more than seven seconds ahead of the next boat, Wisconsin, who finished in 19:21.4.

HISTORY LESSON AND 2003 IN REVIEW: Notre Dame rowing, in its sixth season, 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.

In the spring of 2003, the Irish were looking to improve upon the success of the 2002 season in which the first varsity eight qualified and went to the NCAA Rowing Championship. The spring season included competition against many national powers, such as Washington, Michigan, Iowa and Clemson. While the Irish remained ranked 24th in the country for most of the season, it wasn’t enough to qualify for the 2003 NCAA Rowing Championship.

The Irish experienced their best weekend of the 2003 season at the 2003 BIG EAST Rowing Challenge, winning the second varsity eight and both the first and second varsity four events, while also taking the silver medal in the varsity eight. This led to Notre Dame’s close finish in the team competition as the Irish placed only two points behind then 15th-ranked Syracuse. The Orangewomen, who won their third consecutive team championship, finished with 112 points, compared to 110 for the Irish.

The Irish fared well against top-ranked competition throughout the season and with over 100,000 fans watching, the most to attend a Notre Dame athletic event for the 2002-03 school year, at the 2003 Windermere Cup on Lake Washington in Seattle. The Irish competed against Washington, nationally-ranked Washington State and Oregon State, and the Belarus National Team, which had three of the women who competed and finished fifth at the 2002 World Championships in Sevelle, Spain. Notre Dame’s varsity eight placed third, while the second eight was fourth and the varsity four was third.

At the 2003 Lexus Central/South Sprints in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the most important regatta for qualifying for the NCAA Championships, the Irish were up against teams such as Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, vying for bids to the NCAA Championships. Notre Dame’s best finish of the weekend was claiming the gold medal in second varsity four competition. This marked the first time a Notre Dame crew has won a gold medal at the Central/South Sprints in the short five-year history of the program. The previous highest finish was in 2002 when the novice eight finished third. The varsity eight came back strong to place second in the petite finals and eighth overall, while the second varsity eight finished sixth in the grand final and the varsity four was third in the petite finals and ninth overall.

2003-04 SEASON OUTLOOK: With the loss of team captains Ashlee Warren and Casey Buckstaff and coxswain Cassie Markstahler to graduation, head coach Martin Stone and the Irish will have some tough spots to fill in 2003-04. Warren, an All-American in 2002, earned her third consecutive first-team all-Central Region honor in 2003 and second CRCA National Scholar-Athlete Award. She was also named the 2003 BIG EAST/A?ropostal? Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Notre Dame and was a finalist for the 2003 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship program as she started medical school at Ohio State this fall.

Buckstaff rowed as part of the first varsity eight since her sophomore year earning three monograms as an Irish rower and was named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team as a sophomore and senior. Markstahler, a three-year monogram winner, coxed the first varsity eight for the Irish in both 2002 and 2003, leading Notre Dame to its first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in the varsity eight. She also earned two consecutive CRCA National Scholar-Athlete awards and was a member of the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

The 2003-04 team will look to seniors Natalie Ladine, Alice Bartek, Danielle Protasewich, Kathleen Welsh and Jacqueline Hazen. Ladine has two years under her belt in the first varsity eight and led the boat in the stroke seat this past season. She was also named a CRCA second-team all-Central Region winner for the second straight year. Ladine also posted the third-fastest erg score in Irish history last spring. Bartek holds the Notre Dame erg record for the 2,000 meters and was named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team. Protasewich sat bow seat of the first varsity eight in the spring of 2003 and was named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team in 2002. Welsh and Hazen have each earned two monograms. Welsh sat in the two seat of the first varsity eight in the spring of 2003, while Hazen was a member of the gold medal winning fours at both the BIG EAST and Central Sprints and was named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team in 2002.

Also expected to help the Irish this season are juniors Rachel Polinski and Katie Chenoweth and sophomore Meghan Boyle. All three were members of the first varsity eight last season and helped the Irish to a second-place team and varsity eight finish at the 2003 BIG EAST Rowing Challenge and an invitation to the prestigious Windermere Cup in Seattle during the spring.

Seniors Kathryn Long and Kacy McCaffrey and junior Maureen Gibbons will look to fill the position of first varsity eight coxswain vacated with the graduation of Cassie Markstahler. Long started out as a rower her freshmen year and transitioned to coxswain that spring. She has spent most of her time coxing the second varsity eight the past two seasons and has earned two monograms with the Irish. She was also named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team in 2002. McCaffrey has experience with both fours and eights in her previous three seasons at Notre Dame and has earned two monograms. She was named to the BIG EAST Academic All-Star team in 2002. Gibbons was the coxswain of the first novice eight her freshmen year and moved to varsity coxswain her sophomore year, coxing both varsity fours and varsity eights.

Look for senior Megan Sanders, juniors Elizabeth Specht, Kati Sedun and Meredith Thornburgh and sophomores Melissa Felker, Andrea Doud, Danielle Stealy, Sarah Palandech, Jenna Redgate and Sarah French to challenge for seats in the top boat this year as well.

The Irish also welcome five freshmen to the roster this fall, all who could challenge for positions in the top boats. First-year rowers Ashley St. Pierre, Alyssa Close, Jessica Guzik and Colleen Larson and coxswain Erin Weedon could all make immediate impacts for the Irish in 2003-04.

“The seniors are doing a great job in getting the rest of the team ready for the season,” Stone says.

“The seniors have made tremendous strides during the offseason and are taking it amongst themselves to challenge the younger rowers so they improve as well. The competition has been fierce between all of the rowers thus far and that will only make us better.”

HEAD COACH Martin Stone: Head coach Martin Stone is in his sixth year at the helm of the Irish program and was named a National Coach of the Year finalist in 2002. Stone has brought instant credibility to this young program as the Irish qualified the varsity eight for the 2002 NCAA Championships in only the fourth year of the program, where it placed 16th. The Irish finished the 2002 season ranked 13th nationally, the highest final ranking in the history of the program, and the team was as high as ninth earlier in the season. Notre Dame also scored its first All-American as Ashlee Warren was named to the second team in 2002 and nine women have been named to the all-Central Region team during his tenure.

Stone’s teams have also achieved great success in the classroom as the Irish have posted 11 consecutive semesters of a 3.2 overall team grade-point average or higher. Also, 15 women have been named to the CRCA National Scholar-Athlete team and over 60 women have earned Academic all-BIG EAST standing in the past three years.

ASSISTANT COACH Pam Mork: Notre Dame assistant rowing coach Pam Mork was named the 2003 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year and is one of six finalists, along with Connecticut’s Cindy Biles, Clemson’s Kelly Lynch, Washington’s Eleanor McElvaine, Virginia’s Kara McPhillip and West Virginia’s Jim Mitchell, for the National Assistant Coach of the Year Award.

Mork is in her fifth season with the Irish, working specifically with the Irish novice program. She has coached many of today’s varsity athletes when they first arrived as members of the program as 28 women on the ’01-’02 squad and all but 11 women on the ’02-’03 team were members of the novice roster at some point during their careers.

ASSISTANT COACH Joe Schlosberg: Irish assistant coach Joe Schlosberg is in his third season working primarily with the fours. Schlosberg and the fours had a great year in 2003 as he directed the Irish second four to the gold medal at the Central/South Sprints, marking the first time in Notre Dame history an Irish boat has won a gold medal at that regatta. Notre Dame also was victorious in the first and second four at the 2003 BIG EAST Rowing Challenge in Worcester, Mass., the first time in history the Irish have won both races at that regatta.