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No. 21 Rowing Travels To No. 15 Iowa For Dual Regatta

April 4, 2003

THIS WEEK: The No. 21 Notre Dame women’s rowing team will continue the spring season Sunday, April 6, traveling to Iowa City, Iowa, to compete in a dual regatta against No. 15 Iowa. The regatta will take place on Lake McBride in Iowa City starting at 10:00 a.m.

SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEKEND: The following is the schedule of events for Sunday’s races.
10:00 Second varsity four
10:10 Novice eight
10:20 Second varsity eight
10:30 Varsity eight
10:40 Varsity Four

DIRECTIONS TO THE RACE: From the Hampton Inn in Iowa City (which is located off of I-80), turn left out of the hotel onto 1st Avenue. Stay to the right at round about and continue on 1st Avenue (becomes North Liberty Road) for 3.4 miles. Turn left on Dubuque Street to North Liberty (1.6 miles). In North Liberty, turn right on N. Front Street (F28). North Front Street becomes Mehaffey Bridge Road. Continue for 4.8 miles. Immediately after the causeway, turn left on Cottage Reserve. Follow signs to the right to the boat ramp (.7 miles). Parking is available near the launching site, only in designated areas. Parking on roads and grass in the park will not be permitted.

THE CREWS FOR THE WEEKEND: Irish head coach Martin Stone held seat races on Wednesday and has determined his crews for Sunday as the following:

First varsity eight – Cassie Markstahler (cox), Erica Drennen (stroke), Natalie Ladine, Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Casey Buckstaff, Rachel Polinski, Ashlee Warren, Danielle Protasewich

Second varsity eight – Kathryn Long (cox), Shannon Mohan (stroke), Kerri Murphy, Kathleen Welsh, Meredith Thornburgh, Kati Sedun, Devon Hegeman, Katie Chenoweth, Melissa Felker

Varsity four – Kacy McCaffrey (cox), Katie McCalden (stroke), Christy Donnelly, Katie O’Hara, Andrea Amoni

Second varsity four A – Maureen Gibbons (cox), Ann Mulligan (stroke), Jacqueline Hazen, Antionette Duck, Megan Sanders

Second varsity four B – Caitlin Rackish (cox), Kristen Mizzi (stroke), Sarah Keefer, Tricia David, Courtney Quinn

Novice eight – Shannan Lettieri (cox), Pamela Jefson (stroke), Julie Lewis, Morgan Ertel, Danielle Stealy, Jenna Redgate, Catherine Schmidt, Andrea Doud, Sarah French

Second novice eight – Nicole Barczak (cox), Meghan O’Neil (stroke), Megan Sheehan, Fallon Shields, Nikki Karis, Marcia Luttio, Katie Hanafin, Rachel Kemp, Laura Joyce

ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame is looking to build upon its success during the 2002 season in which the varsity eight qualified for the NCAA Championships, hoping the whole team will be invited to the 2003 regatta.

After only being on the water for a week, the Notre Dame women’s rowing team had a strong outing winning two races against Clemson and North Carolina at the spring rowing opener in Clemson, S.C. The Irish won the second varsity eight and the second varsity four, while narrowly falling in the varsity eight and the varsity four. The second varsity four posted the most impressive victory on the day winning its race by almost 20 seconds. Perhaps the most exciting race of the day was the varsity eight as Clemson narrowly defeated the Irish by only two seconds. The Irish also lost a close race in the varsity four as Clemson was first by almost three seconds. The Irish placed third in the first and second novice eight races.

The Irish concluded its spring break trip with a regatta versus Tennessee on Lake Lanier in Knoxville, Tenn. The regatta, which was run as three pieces of 1,500 meters each, saw the Irish win four races during the day. In the first session, Notre Dame won the novice eight, second varsity four and the varsity four, while the varsity eight and second varsity eight were second. In the second session, Tennessee swept all four races taking the varsity eight by only .5 of a second as the Lady Vols finished in 4:24.90. The third session saw the Irish second varsity eight earn its first win of the day.

On March 22, the Irish played host to Michigan on the St. Joseph River. Notre Dame swept all three pieces in the second varsity eight race. In the varsity eight race, Michigan won two of three pieces in some very close races. In the varsity four, the Irish took two of three races. The Irish defeated Michigan twice and tied in the third race of the novice eight.

Last weekend, the Irish competed against Indiana and Purdue at the Indiana Classic. Notre Dame won first place, sweeping all of the varsity races, contributing to a No. 21 ranking in the first CRCA/US Rowing poll for the 2003 season.

ABOUT IOWA: After finishing the 2002 season ranked No. 26 in the nation, the Hawkeyes are a much improved team in 2003 earning a No. 15 ranking in the first poll of the season. The Hawkeyes kicked off their spring season at the Longhorn Invitational in Austin, Texas. They swept Tulsa on the first day and took home nine wins to conclude the second day, finishing the Invitational with a perfect varsity record. Last weekend, Iowa finished first in all varsity events against Kansas State and Clemson, winning by six seconds in the varsity eight, 12 seconds in the second varsity eight and nine seconds in the varsity four. The novice eight took second. The Hawkeyes varsity squad remains undefeated heading into the regatta against the Irish.

LAST YEAR AGAINST IOWA: The Irish and the Hawkeyes competed in several races last year, but this will be the first time they face each other in a dual regatta or during the 2002-03 season.

Last year at the Head of the Rock, Notre Dame edged out Iowa, coming in second and third respectively, in the varsity eight race. In the pairs race, Notre Dame claimed four of the top five positions, but Iowa won the race. At the Lexus Sprints, as a team, Iowa finished 11th while the Irish took fourth place. In the varsity four petite final, the Irish crossed the line first at 7:53.9, while Iowa finished fourth in a time of 8:03.4. In the second varsity eight race, Notre Dame finished fifth, one place ahead of Iowa. The Hawkeyes finished the season ranked No. 26 while the Irish ended at No. 13.

IRISH REWIND AT THE INDIANA CLASSIC: The Irish faced Indiana and Purdue in the Indiana Classic last Sunday afternoon. The Irish had a very successful day, winning each of the four varsity races in the regatta. The varsity eight, finished with a time of 6:37.66 to win the race by 8.17 seconds over Purdue, which had a time of 6:45.83. Indiana was third with a time of 6:53.08. Notre Dame was victorious once again in the second varsity eight, crossing the line with a time of 6:40.09, a whopping 18.25 seconds over the Boilermakers (6:58.34). Indiana raced a time of 7:05.78. In the varsity four, the Irish took top honors with a time of 7:25.87. The Irish won by 4.58 seconds over the Hoosiers (7:30.45) and finished 16.92 seconds ahead of Purdue (7:42.79). Notre Dame also emerged first in the novice eight race and took first and third in the second varsity four. In the second novice eight race, Notre Dame placed third.

HEAD COACH MARTIN STONE: Head coach Martin Stone is in his fifth season at the helm of the Irish. Stone has brought instant credibility to this young program as the Irish qualified the varsity eight for the NCAA Championships in only the fourth year of the program, where it placed 16th. The Irish finished the 2002 season ranked 13th nationally and were ranked as high as ninth, its highest rankings in Irish history. The Irish boasted its first Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association All-American in 2002 as Ashlee Warren received second-team honors, while four women earned all-Central Region honors and six were named CRCA National Scholar-Athletes. Notre Dame also achieved its ninth and 10th consecutive semesters of a 3.2 overall team grade-point average.

STONE NAMED 2002 NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR FINALIST: Martin Stone joined elite company in 2002 as he was named one of six finalist for CRCA National Coach of the Year honors. Stone joined Stanford’s Aimee Baker, Washington’s Jan Harville, Brown’s John Murphy, California’s Dave O’Neill and Yale’s Will Porter as finalists. Harville was the eventual winner of the award.

HISTORY LESSON:Notre Dame rowing, in only its fifth 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.

SPRING SEASON OUTLOOK: Notre Dame head coach Martin Stone and his Irish rowing squad are looking to build on the success of last season in hopes of qualifying the entire team for the 2003 NCAA Rowing Championships. After entering the varsity eight at last year’s NCAA meet (where it finished 16th) and landing at 13th in the final preseason poll, the rowing community is starting to take notice of this upstart Irish program.

The Irish will have to work even harder to get back to the premier level they achieved last season. First and foremost, Notre Dame will have to replace the likes of first boaters Michelle Olsgard and Katherine Burnett. Olsgard, a team captain, earned her second consecutive first-team all-Central Region honor in 2002 and posted the third-fastest erg score on the team. Burnett, a three-year member of the first eight, earned second-team all-region honors and was a three-time National Scholar-Athlete award winner.

Stone will turn to senior Ashlee Warren, who became the first Irish rower to earn All-America honors, and junior Natalie Ladine, who was a second-team all-region honoree in 2002 and had the fastest erg score on the Irish last season. Also back is senior coxswain Cassie Markstahler who did an excellent job for the Irish in 2002 and will provide additional leadership to the younger rowers.

Others returning to the roster this season who will have a chance at the top boat this year are senior captain Casey Buckstaff, senior Erica Drennen, juniors Alice Bartek, who broke the Notre Dame 2,000-meter erg record this spring, Jacqueline Hazen, Danielle Protasewich and Kathleen Welsh, sophomores Katie Chenoweth, Rachel Polinski, Kati Sedun, Meredith Thornburgh and Shannon Mohan and freshmen Meghan Boyle and Melissa Felker.

FALL REVIEW: Notre Dame took advantage of the fall season by trying some new boating combinations and getting the younger rowers some experience in preparation for the spring season.

The Irish opened the fall season by taking two of the top four positions in the varsity eight race at the Milwaukee River Challenge in Milwaukee, Wis.

Notre Dame then returned home for a two-day regatta versus Kansas where the Irish took two of the top three positions in the varsity four race and finished 1-2-3 in the varsity eight. The Irish continued their successful fall season at the Head of the Ohio as they won two races, including the open four and the club four. The Irish also were fourth in the open eight and took third through sixth places in the pairs race.

The Irish varsity team closed out its fall season by taking third, fifth and seventh in the open eight race, while the fours were first and third at the Head of the Rock Regatta in Rockford, Ill. The next week, Notre Dame’s varsity four and varsity pair placed third, while the novice eight was fourth at the Head of the Grand on the Grand River in East Lansing, Mich.

IRISH OPEN SEASON AT NO. 21 IN FIRST POLL: After a sweep of the four varsity events at the Indiana Classic this past weekend, racing against Indiana and Purdue, the Irish enter the first US Rowing/ CRCA Poll of the season at No. 21.

The poll also showed that Notre Dame’s schedule is nothing to scoff at in 2003 as the Irish have or will face many teams in the initial top 20. Thus far, the Irish have competed against No. 5 Michigan, No. 23 Tennessee and No. 26 Clemson in races this spring and are schedule to face nine more teams in the poll including No. 1 Washington at the Windermere Cup on May 3, No. 9 Michigan State (April 12), No. 13 Syracuse (April 27 at the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge), No. 15 Iowa (this Sunday), and No. 17 Texas, No. 22 Minnesota, No. 24 Duke, No. 29 Louisville and No. 31 Kansas State (May 17-18 at Central/South Regions).

US Rowing/CRCA Poll As of April 1

1. Washington
2. Princeton
3. Stanford
4. California-Berkeley
5. Michigan
6. Brown
7. USC
8. Yale
9. Michigan State
10. Ohio State
11. Virginia
12. Harvard
13. Syracuse
14. Washington State
15. Iowa
16. Boston Univ.
17. Texas
18. Northeastern
19. Oregon State
20. Cornell

Others receiving votes: Notre Dame 31, Minnesota 30, Tennessee 27, Duke 25, Pennsylvania 21, Clemson 19, Columbia 7, Dartmouth College 4, Louisville 2, Wisconsin 2, Kansas State 1, UCLA 1.

THE SPRING SCHEDULE: Notre Dame has upgraded its schedule in 2003, facing many of the nation’s top teams. The Irish faced Clemson, North Carolina and Tennessee over spring break and competed against national-power Michigan. This past weekend, the Irish raced at the Indiana Classic against Indiana and Purdue. This weekend, the Irish travel to Iowa City, Iowa to face powerhouse Iowa on Sunday, April 6, in a dual regatta. Iowa was ranked in the top five at the end of the 2001 season and is currently ranked No. 15.

The Irish have one more dual regatta on the road as they head to East Lansing, Mich., for a date with Michigan State on April 12. Michigan State had an impressive NCAA regatta in 2002 by finishing ninth in the team competition and is one of the top programs in the nation in 2003, currently ranked No. 9.

The Irish finally return home for their only dual regatta in South Bend as they play host to Dayton on April 13. Notre Dame then has two weeks off before heading to Worchester, Mass., for the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge. Notre Dame finished second at the 2002 Challenge and is looking to unseat defending champion Syracuse at this year’s regatta. After the BIG EAST meet, Notre Dame will go to Seattle for the Windermere Cup on May 3. Scheduled to race in Seattle are defending national champion Washington in the varsity eight, the second varsity eight and varsity four competition and the Belarus national team in the varsity eight.

Next the Irish head to Oak Ridge, Tenn., on May 17-18, for the Central Regions, a meet which has huge implications on the NCAA Championship meet. Last season, four teams competing in the Central Region regatta received invitations to the NCAA meet. The Irish placed fourth in the team competition, while the varsity eighth was also fourth. The NCAA Championships scheduled for May 30-June 1 in Indianapolis, Ind., conclude the 2003 season.

NOTRE DAME INVITED TO PRESTIGIOUS WINDERMERE CUP: Notre Dame has been invited to compete in the prestigious Windermere Cup May 3 in Seattle. The Irish varsity and second eight will help the University of Washington celebrate its 100th anniversary of rowing as the Windermere races are the feature event of the 34th annual Opening Day Regatta on Lake Washington’s Montlake Cut. The races are held in conjunction with the Seattle Yacht Club’s annual celebration of the opening of yachting season. The regatta is the preliminary event to the yacht club parade sponsored by the Seattle Yacht Club as thousands of spectators annually line the cut, both on land and water to enjoy the festivities.

Notre Dame’s varsity eight will compete against Washington and the Belarus national team in the women’s Windermere Cup race. Washington is the defending NCAA Champion in the varsity eight, while Belarus finished sixth at the 2003 World Championships.

The second varsity eight will also race in the women’s Cascade Cup, as the Irish will row against Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

THE CAPTAINS: Seniors Casey Buckstaff and Ashlee Warren have been voted as team captains for the 2002-03 season. Buckstaff rowed in the first eight as a sophomore before missing her junior season studying abroad in London. She is a leading contender for a spot in the first eight in 2003. Warren became the first Irish rower to earn All-America honors in 2002 and will once again lead the eight in 2003. She also has been a CRCA National Scholar-Athlete awardwinner in her career.

WARREN NAMED 2002-03 BIG EAST SCHOLAR-ATHLETE: Senior Ashlee Warren was named the 2002-03 BIG EAST/A?ropostal? Scholar-Athlete of the Year for Notre Dame. She becomes the first Irish rower to earn the honor and was the only rower from any BIG EAST school to win the award in 2003. Warren will receive a $2,000 scholarship for future postgraduate studies as she will attend medical school in the fall. Warren has a 3.47 grade-point average in pre-med/anthropology.

ALICE BARTEK SETS NEW NOTRE DAME RECORD ON ERG: Sophomore Alice Bartek, who was a member of the novice roster in 2001-02, set a new Notre Dame record on the erg for 2,000 meters earlier this spring. Bartek posted a time of 7:06.00 breaking the old record of 7:11.10 set by Natalie Ladine in 2002. Overall, four women went lower than the previous record as Ladine, Ashlee Warren and freshman Meghan Boyle all recorded faster times last week.

UP NEXT: Next weekend, Notre Dame will travel to East Lansing, Mich., to face No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday, April 12, and will play host to Dayton on Sunday, April 13.