April 4, 2001
The Notre Dame women’s rowing team, ranked 14th in the nation, will split its squad as the first and second varsity eight boats travel to San Diego, Calif., for the prestigious San Diego Crew Classic on Saturday-Sunday, April 7-8, while the third varsity eight and the novice roster travel to Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday to row against Drake.
ABOUT THE SAN DIEGO CREW CLASSIC:
The San Diego Crew Classic begins at 9 a.m. EST (7 a.m. in California) with the Men’s Cal Cup. The Notre Dame varsity eight will compete in the Jessop-Whittier Cup race at 10:20 a.m. EST, while the Irish second varsity eight will race in the women’s junior varsity race at 11:50 a.m. EST.
In the Jessop-Whittier Cup race, Notre Dame will be in lane seven of heat one. Other teams in heat on include: #2 Washington, #7 California, #20 Oregon State, #18 Texas, Stanford, and Duke. In the junior varsity race, Notre Dame is in lane two of the third heat with Tennessee, Clemson, Virginia, Orange Coast and California.
The San Diego Crew Classic began in 1973. The University of Washington and the Naval Academy had developed a great rivalry and when approached about racing in San Diego for a west coast regatta, they agreed. The first Crew Classic featured over 300 competitors in 12 races. This year’s race, the 26th in history, has over 3,000 competitors in 87 races.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME:
The Notre Dame rowing team is off to its best start in the three-year history of the program as the varsity eight is undefeated heading into this weekend’s San Diego Crew Classic.
After claiming four gold medals, including the varsity eight, in the final regatta of the fall season, Notre Dame has defeated Tennessee (15 seconds), Creighton (28 seconds), Dayton (34 seconds) and national power Michigan State (two seconds) to begin the spring. The Irish varsity eight crew of Katherine Burnett, Diane Price, Becky Luckett, Casey Buckstaff, Michelle Olsgard, Ashlee Warren, Ann Marie Dillhoff, Jayme Szefc and coxswain Claire Bula is ranked 14th in the first US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll of the season, marking the first time in the history of the program the crew has been nationally ranked.
Notre Dame is showing tremendous depth this season as the Irish swept all six races against Tennessee and Dayton and claimed the first and second novice eight races, in addition to the varsity eight, against Michigan State.
AGAINST MICHIGAN STATE:
Notre Dame won the varsity eight and the first and second novice eights against nationally-ranked Michigan State last Saturday on the Grand River in East Lansing, Mich. Due to Michigan State’s normal racing body of water being frozen over, the races were rowed as the best two out of three contests over 1,200 meters on the Grand River.
The varsity eight crew of Katherine Burnett, Diane Price, Becky Luckett, Casey Buckstaff, Michelle Olsgard, Ashlee Warren, Ann Marie Dillhoff, Jayme Szefc and coxswain Claire Bula pulled off the upset sweeping both races from the Spartans. Notre Dame won the first race by 2.8 seconds and then followed that with a 1.2-second victory in the second race of the day. Michigan State placed eighth at the NCAA Championships last season in the open eight.
The first novice eight race was the closest of the day as the Irish just narrowly edged Michigan State in both races. The Irish crew of Megan Sanders, Danielle Protasewich, Katie O’Hara, Robin Mattessich, Katie Welsh, Natalie Ladine, Jacqueline Hazen, Heather Dziedzic and coxswain Kacy McCaffrey won the first race by 1.4 seconds and the nightcap 2.7 seconds ahead of the Spartans.
The Irish second novice eight of Christina Shreiner, Meg Starnes, Chele Carney, Antoinette Duck, Karrie Koski, Ashlee Logan, Alicia Garcia, Sarah Keefer and Marita Murphy placed first outdistancing Notre Dame’s second boat by 2.7 seconds in the first race and 3.4 in the second race. The Irish defeated Michigan State by 5.6 seconds in the first race and 8.5 in the second race.
The second varsity eight of Leah Ashe, Anne Starks, Maureen Carr, Melissa Alberding, Courtney Mercer, Erica Drennen, Kerri Murphy, Katie Besson and Erin Kiernicki finished second trailing Michigan State by 6.2 seconds in the first race and by only 2.5 in the following contest. Notre Dame’s third varsity eight of Elizabeth Kinnier, Jessica Manske, Ann Gurucharri, Andrea Amoni, Kristi Schmidt, Erin Shea, Caitlin Murray, Rebecca Campbell and Kathryn Long finished 22.3 seconds behind the Spartans in race one and trailed by 20.8 seconds in game two.
The varsity four team of Meg Feely, Katie McCaulden, Laura Aull, Kolleen Myers and Cassie Markstahler finished second in the first race, trailing Michigan State’s A crew by 7.7 seconds, and was third in the second race 13.4 seconds behind.
Notre Dame swept all six races against Dayton Sunday in extremely windy weather conditions on the St. Joseph River in Mishawaka, Ind. Temperatures were in the 40s at the sunny 2,000-meter course, but winds were blowing briskly out of the north at 20-30 miles per hour. Conditions became so windy that the varsity four race was shortened to 1,000 meters.
The novice four contest started the day as the Irish took first and second in the race. The A boat of Alison Maimona, Karrie Koski, Kathryn Lent, Maggie Ruddy and coxswain Cassie Shum placed first in 9:03.50. Notre Dame’s second boat of Maureen Silliman, Antoinette Duck, Amy Pavela, Jessica Lebowitz and Maureen Borbely was second in 9:35.58, followed by Dayton at 10:59.82.
The varsity eight crew of Katherine Burnett, Diane Price, Becky Luckett, Casey Buckstaff, Michelle Olsgard, Ashlee Warren, Ann Marie Dillhoff, Jayme Szefc and coxswain Claire Bula extended its winning streak to four races this spring by outdistancing Dayton by a staggering 34.82 seconds. Notre Dame finished in 7:18.70, while the Flyers were second at 7:53.52.
The second varsity eight of Leah Ashe, Anne Starks, Maureen Carr, Melissa Alberding, Courtney Mercer, Erica Drennen, Kerri Murphy, Katie Besson and Erin Kiernicki finished first in an impressive time of 7:19.70, only one second behind Notre Dame’s first varsity eight. Notre Dame’s third varsity eight of Elizabeth Kinnier, Jessica Manske, Ann Gurucharri, Andrea Amoni, Kristi Schmidt, Erin Shea, Caitlin Murray, Rebecca Campbell and Kathryn Long was second in the race at 7:56.46, while Dayton was third in 8:13.11.
The first novice eight team of Megan Sanders, Danielle Protasewich, Katie O’Hara, Robin Mattessich, Katie Welsh, Natalie Ladine, Jacqueline Hazen, Heather Dziedzic and coxswain Kacy McCaffrey took first in its race in a time of 7:42.37. Dayton was well behind in second at 8:45.62.
The Irish second novice eight of Christina Shreiner, Meg Starnes, Chele Carney, Molly Williams, Sam Matovich, Ashlee Logan, Alicia Garcia, Sarah Keefer and Marita Murphy placed first outdistancing Dayton by over a minute. Notre Dame finished in 8:10.60, while the Flyers crossed the finish line in 9:16.37.
The varsity four team of Meg Feely, Katie McCaulden, Laura Aull, Kolleen Myers and Cassie Markstahler finished first in its 1,000-meter sprint in 4:27.30. Dayton’s B boat was second at 4:33.30 and Dayton’s A shell was third at 4:43.30.
The Notre Dame rowing team, in only its third season of varsity competition, is ranked 14th in the first US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Poll of the season. It marks the first time in the young history of the program that Notre Dame’s top boat has been ranked nationally. The lightweight eight boat finished the 1999 season ranked 12th in the nation.
Others receiving votes:
University of Pennsylvania 50, Northeastern University 30, Stanford University 30, Washington State University 29, Dartmouth College 25, Clemson University 23, University of Tulsa 12, University of Massachusetts 7, San Diego State University 6, Columbia University 4, and University of Miami 3.
IRISH HISTORY LESSON:
Notre Dame rowing 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.
HEAD COACH MARTIN STONE:
On Oct. 29, 1997, Martin Stone was hired as the first head coach of the Notre Dame rowing program. Now is his third season at the helm, Stone is poised for his best year yet with the Irish. In 1998-99, Stone sent the program off to a rousing start as he led the lightweight eight vessel to a No. 12 national ranking in its first year of competition. In his second season, Stone saw dramatic improvement from his squad that boasted the talents of Katrina Ten Eyck, one of the top rowers in the nation. Ten Eyck was invited to train at the United States Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. This fall, Stone showed just how far the program had come as he has led his 2000-01 team to four gold medals at the Head of the Elk Regatta in the fall and a perfect 4-0 mark and No. 14 national ranking this spring.
Before arriving at Notre Dame, Stone served as the women’s rowing coach at the United States Naval Academy for five years. In 1994, Stone coached the Mids to a NCAA Division II national championship by winning the varsity eight title at the Champion International Collegiate Rowing Championships. In the championship, Navy also won the first novice and second novice championship races. The Mids not only earned the title, but also were awarded the prestigious Anita DeFrantz Trophy for overall performance by women’s crews at the Champion International Regatta.
Prior to taking over the Mids’ women’s program, Stone served as Navy’s plebe lightweight coach in 1991. He also was an assistant rowing coach at his alma mater, Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif., in 1990, working with both the men’s and women’s programs and more specifically, with the varsity and novice women.
Stone began his rowing career at Saint Mary’s College as an undergraduate. With the Gaels, he was named the most valuable oarsman three years and went on to earn three letters, two in the heavyweight boat and one in the lightweight boat.
SHOW ME THE MONEY:
In December of 2000, first-year Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White announced the rowing program, along with the other 25 sports at Notre Dame, would receive the full complement of grants-in-aid under NCAA guidelines by the 2004-05 season. A non-grant-in-aid program its first three seasons, Notre Dame is in line to receive as many as 20 full grants-in-aid over the next four years.
“It is very exciting for our program to now have the opportunity to go out and recruit on equal footing. The grants-in-aid will allow us to be more competitive than we already are,” head coach Martin Stone says.
THE BIG EAST ROWING CHALLENGE:
In early January, the BIG EAST Conference announced plans to officially sponsor the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge for its nine member institutions who currently field rowing teams. The event, scheduled for April 29 on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., replaces the Georgetown Invitational which had been hosting a similar, non-sponsored event the past nine years.
“Although it is on a trial basis, it is a big step for the conference and women’s rowing to have the BIG EAST sponsor the meet. Hopefully this will lead to an official BIG EAST championship regatta, now that we have the required number of teams to host a championship” head coach Martin Stone says.
BIG EAST commissioner Michael Tranghese concurred:
“The BIG EAST is excited to add this event. The league continues to identify new programs for women and the inclusion of this Challenge creates more opportunities for our female student-athletes.”
TWO BOATS CHRISTENED AT HALFTIME OF GEORGETOWN MEN’S BASKETBALL GAME:
The Notre Dame women’s rowing team christened two new racing shells during halftime of the men’s basketball game Sunday, March 4, against Georgetown. The two Vespoli Millennium shells were named for and christened by University of Notre Dame president emeritus Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh C.S.C and Rev. Edmund P. Joyce C.S.C. in front of a sold-out Joyce Center crowd.
It what is a long-standing tradition within the collegiate rowing community, boats are christened and named to honor individuals who have been influential within the University or the sport of rowing. Both Rev. Hesburgh and Rev. Joyce have been trailblazers at the University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh was influential in allowing women to enroll and study at the University in 1972, and Joyce was instrumental in bringing women’s athletics to campus that same year and helping Notre Dame in its drive toward achieving gender equity.
Also present at the ceremony were Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White, associate athletic director and rowing administrator Jim Phillips, head rowing coach Martin Stone, assistant coaches Pam Mork and Kevin Luecke and the Notre Dame women’s rowing team.
Head coach Martin Stone will have strong leadership this season as Claire Bula and Erin Kiernicki have been named captains for the 2000-01 season. Bula is in her third season with the Irish and was a nominee for the US Rowing Honor Roll last year. She is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters, majoring in American studies. Kiernicki is also in her third season of competition for the Irish and is enrolled in the College of Business, majoring in marketing and sociology.
Notre Dame welcomes back three athletes who were studying abroad during the fall semester. Back for the Irish are Katie Besson, Courtney Mercer and Michelle Olsgard, all who rowed in the first varsity eight during the spring of 2000. Besson spent the fall in London, while Mercer studied in Ireland and Olsgard took part in Columbia University’s Biosphere 2 program in Arizona.
The Irish also welcome back Meg Feely, who is healthy after suffering injuries in a car accident over the summer. Feely was the stroke in the second varsity eight during the spring of 2000.
WHILE SOME RETURN, OTHERS GO:
The Irish will be missing the services of sophomore Julia Kelly during the spring season as she is studying abroad in Italy. Kelly rowed in the first varsity eight boat during the fall semester. Also senior Sara Andrews will miss the entire spring season due to a leg injury. Andrews rowed with the lightweight eight crew and the varsity four in the fall.
HI, MY NAME IS…:
This season, 20 of the 33 varsity roster members are new to the team. The development of the novice program, under the direction of assistant coaches Pam Mork and Kevin Luecke, is paying big dividends for the Irish this season as 16 women have made the jump from the novice to the varsity roster. Head coach Martin Stone also welcomes five freshman to the varsity team this season.
Notre Dame travels to Bloomington, Ind., for the Indiana Crew Classic on Saturday, April 14. Other teams competing in the Indiana Crew Classic include Indiana, Purdue, Louisville and Tennessee. The Irish then head to Madison, Wis., for the Midwest Sprints.