April 27, 2008
Oak Ridge, Tenn. – The Notre Dame rowing team claimed its fifth straight BIG EAST Crown on Sunday afternoon by sweeping all six grand final races on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., as the Irish outdistanced conference rival Louisville. The Irish captured gold medals in the varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four, second varsity four, novice eight and novice four races. It was the first time in its five championships that Notre Dame swept all six races.
The Irish finished with 123 points, followed by Louisville (105), Syracuse (92), Georgetown (85), Rutgers (67), Connecticut (64), Villanova (44) and West Virginia (28).
Notre Dame’s current string of five consecutive BIG EAST titles is the second-longest streak. Only the Irish women’s swimming team, which claimed a record-setting 12 straight championships in February — has won more consecutive league titles. Since the first championship in 2001, Coach Martin Stone squads have finished no lower than second.
Stone and assistant coaches Joe Schlosberg and Marnie Stahl captured their fifth straight BIG EAST coaching-staff -of the-year honor.
“We are obviously very pleased to win the conference championship again and to do so by winning all six races,” Stone said. “This is the first time that we have won all six races. Today was a total team effort. We knew coming in that we were going to face a strong challenge from Louisville. All of our races were hard fought. I’m happy for our team and our coaching staff that we were able to come in here today and achieve our goal.”
Notre Dame’s varsity eight boat, ranked 18th in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA)/US Rowing rowed two strong races on Sunday. The crew of coxswain Stephanie Szegedi (South Lyon, Mich.), Lauren Buck (Flint, Mich.) Kendra Short (Everett, Wash.), Christine Trezza (Staten Island, N.Y.), Allison Marsh (Mashpee, Mass.), Laura Pearson (Bloomington, Minn.), Mary Quinn (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.), Amanda Polk (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Julie Sobolewski (Haddonfield, N.J) held off Louisville in the grand final to claim the gold medal. The Irish finished with a time of 6:43.60, while Louisville took second in 6:46.08. The Cardinals were followed by Syracuse (6:55.78), Georgetown (7:00.40), Connecticut (7:02.18) and Rutgers (7:13.01).
In its preliminary race, the Irish posted a time of 6:44.40 in the first heat, outdistancing Connecticut (7:01.29), Rutgers (7:05.42) and West Virginia (7:12.47).
“The varsity eight got off well at the start,” Stone said. “Louisville was able to close the gap with 1,000 meters to go, but the boat held off their charge at the end. This was a great victory for us and a good way to conclude the meet.”
The second varsity eight crew of Notre Dame’s second eight varsity crew of coxswain Kelsey Otero (Mequon, Wis.), Casey Robinson (Dulles, Va.), Carol Ann Michel (Princeton, N.J.), Emily Crosby (Middletown, N.J.), Kristan Madison (Saginaw, Mich.), Elli Greybar (Western Springs, Ill.), Anni Nowhitney (Ballston Spa, N.Y.), Brittney Kelly (Wexford, Pa.), and Erica Copeland (Marietta, Ga.) cruised to a better than nine-second win in its race as it finished with a time of 6:51.80. Louisville took second in 7:02.47, followed by Georgetown (7:10.924), Syracuse (7:12.60), Rutgers (7:19.36) and Connecticut (7:19.86).
In the preliminaries, the Irish posted a time of 6:52.20 to win Heat 1. The remaining three boats in that race were Georgetown (7:10.69), Rutgers (7:12.68) and Villanova (7:57.17).
“Our second varsity eight has rowed well and today was no different,” Stone said. “They started off strong and continued to pull away from the field throughout the race., They did a great job for us from start to finish.” The varsity four boat of coxswain Sarah Keithley (Austin, Tex.), Bridget Leone (Garden City, N.Y.), Braegan Padley (Boise, Idaho), Laura Petnuch (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Mallory Glass (Okemos, Mich.) was dominant as they registered a 16-second victory. The Irish finished with a time of 7:43.00 in the grand final, while Syracuse took second in 7:59.25. Villanova was third in 8:00.76, followed by Louisville (8:03.61), Georgetown (8:12.48) and Connecticut (8:18.95).
In the preliminaries, the Irish finished nearly 20 seconds better than second-place Villanova as Notre Dame crossed the finish line in 7:52.00, while the Wildcat crew posted a time of 8:10.15. Connecticut was third in 8:19.77, followed by Rutgers (8:29.56).
“The varsity four really rowed two outstanding and complete races from start to finish,” Stone said. “They started off strong and really never looked back.”
The second varsity four boat of coxswain Katherine McMackin (Chevy Chase, Md.), Lisa Bunn (Wilsonville, Ore.), Mary Kate McNamara (North Potomac, Md.), Erica Castro-Larsen (Lake Matthews, Calif.) and Kellyn Nestor (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) defeated Syracuse by seven seconds to claim the gold medal. The Irish posted a time of 7:51.30, followed by Syracuse (7:58.38), Louisville (8:13.14), Rutgers (8:22.81), Georgetown (8:24.55) and Connecticut (8:37.86).
“The second varsity four also had a strong showing for us today,” Stone said. “Like the varsity four crew, they started out extremely well and maintained their momentum throughout the race.”
Notre Dame claimed its first-ever gold medal in the novice eight event with a thrilling victory over Louisville in what was the tightest race on the day. The crew of coxswain Jimena DiIorio (Asuncion, Paraguay), Amanda Cosfol (Broomall, Pa.), Megan Keegan (Canton, Ohio), Erika Shults (Virginia Beach, Va.), Mary Theresa DiSipio (Bryn Mawr, Pa.), Katherine Linnenmanstons (Milwaukee, Wis.), Stephanie Gretsch (Downers Grove, Ill.), Christina Buckley (Huntington, N.Y.) and Genevieve Malone (Dayton, Ohio) posted a winning time of 7:05.50, while Louisville finished in 7:06.10. Rutgers took third in 7:21.27, followed by Georgetown (7:21.60), Syracuse (7:24.36) and Connecticut (7:42.07).
In its morning preliminary race, the Irish posted a time of 7:15.70 in Heat 1, while Rutgers took second in 7:25.16, followed by Connecticut (7:33.79) and West Virginia (7:36.31).
“We were really excited that we were able to win the novice eight race,” Stone said. “We’ve never one that race before so this was a real accomplishment for this boat. It was a great race from start to finish as we battled Louisville throughout. To win it the way we did certainly was a great accomplishment for our rowers.”
The novice four crew of Christy Le (Vietnam), Calley Ryckman (Wyandotte, Mich.), Neva Lundy (Santa Monica, Calif.), Shannon Kiernan (Glen Ridge, N.J.) and Elise Smith (Summit, N.J.) captured their gold medal with a winning time of 8:11.50. Louisville took second in 8:23.74, followed by Georgetown (8:27.93) and Connecticut (9:09.07).
“I proud of what a strong performance our novice four rowers raced,” Stone said. “They got us started on what was to be a very good day of competition for us.”
The Irish will have three weeks to prepare for the Central/South Region Championships, Sat.-Sun., May 17-18 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
“After five straight weeks of being on the road and competing, this is going to be a welcome relief for us,” Stone said. “It’s going to be good to get back to training as we now focus our attention to the Central/South championships. Once again, the field will be very strong and challenging. This certainly will be one of the premier regattas of the season for all the teams competing. We’re looking forward to training for this event and putting ourselves in position to do well.”