March 16, 2002
Knoxville, Tenn. – The luck of the Irish is reaching Knoxville, Tenn., this weekend as the Notre Dame women’s rowing team won four of five races against Tennessee Saturday on the Tennessee River. Yesterday, the Irish women’s basketball team defeated New Mexico 58-44 in Knoxville in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and will face Tennessee in the second round Sunday night.
Cheered on by the women’s basketball team today, the Notre Dame varsity eight of stroke Jayme Szefc, Michelle Olsgard, Ashlee Warren, Becky Luckett, Diane Price, Natalie Ladine, Katie Besson, Katherine Burnett and coxswain Cassie Markstahler, easily defeated the Lady Vols, winning by 19 seconds. The two crews were even until the 1,000-meter mark, when the Irish pulled away crossing the finish line in 7:07.70. Tennessee finished in a time of 7:26.80.
The Irish second and third varsity eight also had good results in its race, which encountered some controversy. Tennessee protested the race after feeling the boats were misaligned at the start, but the protest was thrown out and Notre Dame took first and third in the race. The Irish crew of stroke Kathleen Welsh, Danielle Protasewich, Erica Drennen, Courtney Mercer, Kati Sedun, Melissa Alberding, Megan Sanders and Kerri Murphy and coxswain Kathryn Long finished first in 6:53.92. Tennessee was second in 7:00.34, while Notre Dame’s third varsity eight of Meg Feely Kolleen Myers, Maureen Carr, Elizabeth Specht, Katie O’Hara, Antoinette Duck, Karrie Koski, Kristen Mizzi and coxswain Kacy McCaffrey finished less than six seconds behind Tennessee.
Notre Dame also dominated the novice races. The first novice eight crew of Shannon Mohan, Rachel Polinski, Alice Bartek, Devon Hegeman, Christine Donnelly, Meredith Thornburgh, Katie Chenowith, Tricia David and coxswain Maureen Gibbons beat the Lady Vols by over 14 seconds with a time of 7:26.40. Tennessee crossed the line in 7:40.70.
The second novice eight crew of Courtney Quinn, Jennifer Connelly, Tori Blainey, Jill Klima, Kristen Wright, Erica Ruddy, Ann Mulligan, Beth Franzosa and coxswain Erin Diminick won by over 11 seconds, finishing in a time of 8:03.90. Tennessee finished in 8:15.10.
Tennessee did win the second heat of the second varsity eight, which featured Tennessee’s third crew and Notre Dame’s fourth crew. The Lady Vols defeated the Irish by over 20 seconds with a final time of 7:41.60. Notre Dame’s crew of stroke Rebecca Campbell, Sarah Keefer, Andrea Garot, Katie McCaulden, Michaele Carney, Kristin Henkel, Alicia Garcia, Allison Maimona and Caitlin Rackish (cox).
The Notre Dame rowing team is next in action Saturday, March 23, when it travels to East Lansing, Mich., for a dual regatta against Michigan State. Saturday’s regatta could have major NCAA implications, as both teams will be fighting for team invitations in 2002. Last season, Michigan State received a team at-large bid to the NCAA Championships.