Oct. 12, 2001
Notre Dame, Ind. – THIS WEEK: The Notre Dame women’s rowing team continues its fall season this weekend with two regattas. The Irish first travel to Chicago for the Chicago Chase Saturday, Oct. 13, followed by the Head of the Rock Sunday morning in Rockford, Ill. The Chicago Chase starts with the pairs race at 7:45 a.m., while the Head of the Rock begins with the same race Sunday at 8:45 a.m.
CHICAGO CHASE: The 2.75 mile race takes place on the Chicago River. The course starts in Chinatown’s Ping Tom Park going north to the finish line at the Chicago Bridge. The pairs races begins at 8:15 a.m., followed by the lightweight eight at 9:15 a.m. and the novice eights at 9:25 a.m. The varsity four is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., while the varsity eight races at 1:15 p.m.
HEAD OF THE ROCK: The Head of the Rock is a 2.75 mile race. The pairs race begins at 8:45 a.m., followed by the varsity four at 10:30 a.m. and the novice eight at 10:45 a.m. The varsity eight race starts at 2:20 p.m. and the lightweight eight race ends the day at 3:25 p.m.
IRISH REWIND IN CHICAGO AND ROCKFORD: The Irish won the open pairs, the lightweight eight and the lightweight four at the 2000 Chicago Chase in Chicago, Ill., while taking second in the varsity eight and fourth in the varsity four. After sophomores Becky Luckett and Ashlee Warren, rowing in their first varsity race, won the pairs event, the Irish first varsity eight boat of Ann Marie Dillhoff, Melissa Alberding, Julia Kelly, Casey Buckstaff, Luckett, Warren, Katherine Burnett, Jayme Szefc and Erin Kiernicki finished six seconds behind first-place Indiana, with a time of 17:51.00. The second varsity eight boat of Anne Starks, Kristi Schmidt, Maureen Carr, Elizabeth Kinnier, Diane Price, Katherine McCauldren, Erica Drennen, Kolleen Myers and Cassie Markstahler collided with another boat while racing and finished fourth (18:53.00), only five seconds behind the second crew from Indiana.
The Irish crew of Sara Andrews, Erin Shea, Rebecca Campbell, Jessica Manske, Diana Laquinta, Kerri Murphy, Laura Aull, Leah Ashe, Claire Bula rebounded by winning the lightweight eight race. Their winning time of 18:42.00 would have put them third in the open eight race.
The Irish also won the gold in the lightweight four as the team of Tara Driscoll, Kathryn Long, Manske, Campbell and Pamela Swan defeated Washington University by 19 seconds with a time of 21:18.00. The open lightweight four boat of Caitlin Murray, Allyson Spacht, Ann Gurucharri, Andrea Amoni and Markstahler placed fourth Saturday 21:54.00 for the Irish.
At the Head of the Rock, Notre Dame’s lightweight four boat of Laquinta, Murphy, Aull, Ashe and Kiernicki took first place today at the Head of the Rock regatta on the Rock River in Rockford, Ill. The Irish boat finished in a time of 17:39.09, well ahead of second-place finisher Wisconsin (17:51.18). Notre Dame’s second lightweight four vessel of Murray, Spacht, Gurucharri, Amoni and Swan placed fourth in 18:38.14.
The same varsity eight boat that raced Saturday, with the exception of new coxswain Bula, placed third in 15:51.35. Wisconsin was first in 15:15.87, while Iowa placed second (15:21.32). Notre Dame’s second open eight boat of Starks, Schmidt, Carr, Kinnier, Price, McCauldren, Drennen, Myers and Swan placed 10th in 16:23.52.
Notre Dame was second in the lightweight eight race as the team of Andrews, Shea, Campbell, Manske, Laquinta, Murphy, Aull, Ashe and Kiernicki finished in a time of 16:10. The Irish only trailed Wisconsin, who won in a time of 15:56.
HISTORY LESSON: Notre Dame rowing, in only its third 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. The Irish had its best season in history last year when they finished the year ranked 16th in the nation, narrowly missing the NCAA Championships. The varsity eight boat won its first five races of the spring season and placed an impressive fifth at the Central Sprints in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Both Ashlee Warren and Michelle Olsgard earned all-Central Region honors for the Irish, while Warren, Becky Luckett, Ann Marie Dillhoff and Katherine Burnett earned the CRCA National Scholar-Athlete Award.
2001-02 SEASON OUTLOOK: Notre Dame head coach Martin Stone and his Irish rowing squad is poised for its best season yet, returning all but four women from last year’s team that finished the season ranked 16th in the nation. Notre Dame is fast becoming one of the region’s and nation’s best rowing schools, and hope to achieve its ultimate goal of qualifying for this year’s NCAA Championships.
“I think we are further along than we were last season,” Stone said.
“These early races will be a great way to measure our progress as we race against Iowa, Wisconsin, Tulsa, Minnesota and Indiana. Our main goal for the 2001 season is to improve on last year. Everyday in practice, we work on helping each other get better. Now it is time to see if we can carry it over into competition.
The open weight category, led by all-region honorees Michelle Olsgard and Ashlee Warren, returns all but junior Becky Luckett (Luckett is studying abroad this semester) and coxswain Claire Bula (graduation) to this year’s shell. The varsity eight crew narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA Championships in 2001, after winning five races to start the season. Junior Cassie Markstahler assumes Bula’s role as the coxswain for the varsity eight. Markstahler has a great deal of experience for the Irish and is an excellent leader. Others returning to the roster this season from the top boat are Casey Buckstaff, Katherine Burnett, Diane Price, Ann Marie Dillhoff and Jayme Szefc. Look for sophomore Natalie Ladine, who rowed on the novice team last season, and junior Kerri Murphy to challenge for seats in the top boat this season as well.
The second varsity eight boat also returns four rowers from last year’s shell. Back are seniors Melissa Alberding, Katie Besson and Courtney Mercer and junior Erica Drennan. Sophomore Kathryn Long assumes the coxswain position in the second varsity eight shell, replacing graduated senior Erin Kiernicki.
Newcomers who look to make an immediate impact on the 2001-02 roster are freshmen Kristin Henkel, Kristen Mizzi, Ann Mulligan, Katie Sedun, Elizabeth Specht and Meredith Thornburgh.
THE CAPTAINS: Head coach Martin Stone will have strong leadership this season as Michelle Olsgard and Courtney Mercer have been named captains for the 2001-02 season. Olsgard is in her fourth season with the Irish, earning all-Central Region and BIG EAST academic all-star honors last season. She is enrolled in the College of Science, majoring in environmental science. Mercer is also in her fourth season of competition for the Irish and is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters, majoring in sociology. Mercer was also a member of the BIG EAST academic all-start team.
THE SCHEDULE: After this weekend, Notre Dame is halfway done with its fall schedule. The Irish return to action on Oct. 20 as selected crews will travel to the Head of the Eagle in Indianapolis, Ind. The Irish then conclude the fall season by heading down the Indiana Toll Road to Elkhart, Ind., for the Head of the Elk (October 28).