Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Rowing Kicks Off Spring Season With Dual Regatta Versus Tennessee On Saturday

March 14, 2002

Notre Dame vs. Tennessee
Saturday, March 16, 2002
Lake Loudoin * Knoxville, Tenn.

THIS WEEK: The University of Notre Dame women’s rowing team begins its spring season Saturday when it faces Tennessee in a dual meet. Competition begins Saturday at 10:20 a.m. with the second varsity eight and concludes with the first varsity eight races at 12 noon. Here is a schedule of events for Saturday:

10:20 a.m. – Third and Fourth Varsity Eight
10:40 a.m. – Novice Eight
11:00 a.m. – Second Novice Eight
11:40 a.m. – Second Varsity Eight
12:00 p.m. – First Varsity Eight

IRISH CREWS: Here are the Irish boatings for this weekend’s races versus Tennessee.

Varsity Eight – Jayme Szefc (S), Michelle Olsgard, Ashlee Warren, Becky Luckett, Diane Price, Natalie Ladine, Katie Besson, Katherine Burnett, Cassie Markstahler (cox)

Second Varsity Eight – Kathleen Welsh (S), Danielle Protasewich, Erica Drennen, Courtney Mercer, Jacqueline Hazen, Melissa Alberding, Megan Sanders, Kerri Murphy, Kathryn Long (c)

Third Varsity Eight – Meg Feely (S), Kolleen Myers, Kati Sedun, Elizabeth Specht, Katie O’Hara, Antoinette Duck, Karrie Koski, Maureen Carr, Kacy McCaffrey (cox)

Fourth Varsity Eight – Rebecca Campbell (s), Kristen Mizzi, Andrea Amoni, Katie McCaulden, Michaele Carney, Kristin Henkel, Alicia Garcia, Sarah Keefer, Caitlin Rackish (cox)

Novice Eight – Shannon Mohan (s), Rachel Polinski, Alice Bartek, Devon Hegeman, Christine Donnelly, Meredith Thornburgh, Katie Chenowith, Tricia David, Maureen Gibbons (cox)

Second Novice Eight – Courtney Quinn (s), Jennifer Connelly, Tori Blainey, Jill Klima, Kristen Wright, Erica Ruddy, Ann Mulligan, Beth Franzosa, Erin Diminick (cox)

LAST YEAR VERSUS TENNESSEE: Notre Dame opened its spring season by sweeping all six races versus the Lady Vols in a dual regatta on Lake Loudoin in Knoxville, Tenn. The Irish second varsity eight finished first in 6:17.20. Tennessee was second at 6:29.60, while Notre Dame’s third varsity eight was third in 6:38.40. Notre Dame then claimed the third novice eight race with a time of 7:44.68, bettering Tennessee’s time of 8:23.15.

In the first novice eight event, the Irish won its race by over nine seconds. Notre Dame crossed the finish line in 7:08.45, while Tennessee finished in 7:17.86.

In what proved to be the closest race of the day, Notre Dame narrowly edged the Lady Vols in the second novice eight race. Notre Dame finished in 7:15.60, while Tennessee timed in at 7:18.90.

The Irish dominated the varsity eight race as the Theodore M. Hesburgh boat clocked in at 6:37.33. Tennessee finished 15 seconds later at 6:52.65.

The varsity four team took gold winning by 11 seconds. It marked only the second loss for the Tennessee varsity four during the 2000-01 season. Notre Dame finished in 7:47.18 compared to 7:58.10 for the Lady Vols.

IRISH SPRING OUTLOOK: Head coach Martin Stone and the Irish return 22 athletes from last year’s roster to the varsity squad. Also, 12 women make the leap from the novice roster to the varsity squad with each of those athletes expected to make major contributions in the top boats. The Irish also welcome eight freshmen to the varsity team who will make an immediate impact, giving Notre Dame the most depth it has ever had in the four-year history of the program.

The first varsity eight versus Tennessee returns six women who rowed in the top shell last season. Jayme Szefc, Michelle Olsgard, Ashlee Warren, Becky Luckett, Diane Price and Katherine Burnett all rowed in the top shell last season. Both Olsgard and Warren received CRCA All-Central Region accolades last season, while Luckett was a first-team USRowing First-Team Collegiate Honor Roll recipient. Newcomers to the first open boat in ’02 include sophomore Natalie Ladine, who was on the novice roster last season, and senior Katie Besson, who rowed in the second boat in ’01. Also, junior Cassie Markstahler assumes the coxswain duties this season after the graduation of Claire Bula and Erin Kiernicki.

In the second varsity eight, Kerri Murphy, Erica Drennen, Courtney Mercer and Melissa Alberding return, while Kathleen Welsh, Danielle Protasewich, Jacqueline Hazen and Megan Sanders have all made the jump from the novice roster to the second varsity eight. Also, sophomore Kathryn Long will assume the coxswain duties of the boat this season.

The third and fourth varsity eight also feature a number of veterans, which should make Notre Dame the deepest it has been in years.

ROUGH RIDE: Notre Dame suffered a setback to open the spring season when it lost two boats after an accident on its way to Tennessee. Heavy winds and rains caused both of Notre Dame’s four shells to come loose from its trailer and break in half. The Irish will be unable to participate in the fours until replacing the boats.

IRISH FALL REWIND: The Notre Dame women’s rowing team completed a successful fall competing in four regattas – the Milwaukee River Challenge, the Chicago Chase, the Head of the Rock, and the Head of the Eagle.

Notre Dame started the 2001 season with a trip to Milwaukee, Wis., where the Irish took three of the top five places in the varsity eight race at the Milwaukee River Challenge. The first varsity eight crew was first in 22.14. National power Wisconsin was second in 22:32.04, while the Irish B crew was third.

The Irish varsity eight made it two in a row with a decisive victory at the Chicago Chase in Chicago, Ill. The varsity eight outdistanced Notre Dame’s second varsity eight by close to 30 seconds. Overall, Notre Dame won three races on the day, including the pairs team of Jayme Szefc and Katherine Burnett, who won their race in 19:47.40. The novice eight crew, made up of freshman and sophomores who rowed on the novice team last season, also won its race in a time of 17:27.90. The varsity four boats were third and fourth.

The next day, the Irish continued their good fortune at the Head of the Rock in Rockford, Ill. The novice eight crew won its second race in two days, while the varsity eight shell was second to Iowa. Notre Dame also took four of the top five spots in the pairs race with Burnett and Szefc finishing second.

The novice squad, competing in its first collegiate competition, traveled to Indianapolis for the Head of the Eagle to close the fall season. Notre Dame’s A crew finished third in 13:54, trailing only Wisconsin (13:27) and Louisville (13:31).

IRISH HIRES SCHLOSBERG AS ASSISTANT COACH: Martin Stone announced the hiring of Joe Schlosberg as assistant coach on Oct. 16. In his new role with the Irish, Schlosberg is responsible for alumni relations and equipment management. He also assists in coaching both the novice and varsity programs.

Schlosberg comes to Notre Dame after serving as an assistant rowing coach at Northwestern in 2000-01. At Northwestern, Schlosberg worked with the men’s novice team and assisted with the men’s and women’s varsity squads, teaching the fundamentals of rowing and designing workout programs for the teams. He also was responsible for all rowing equipment and was involved in the recruiting process.

A native of New Jersey, Schlosberg also worked with some of the elite collegiate rowing coaches during the summer of ’01 at the Northeast Rowing Center in Maine.

“Joe is going to be a definite asset to our program. He has a tremendous background in engineering, which will help us in preparing the boats on a daily basis. He also took the initiative this summer to train with some of the nation’s best rowing coaches and has brought new drills and ideas to our team,” Stone said.

A 2000 graduate of Northwestern with a degree in mechanical engineering, Schlosberg competed for the Wildcats’ crew team from 1996-99. He was a two-time captain in 1998 and 1999 as his team won the Midwest Sprints and the Big Ten Sprint Championship in 1998. Schlosberg was an executive board member of the rowing team from 1998-2000, as well as the team’s marketing assistant and equipment manager.

In addition to his coaching responsibilities at Northwestern last season, Schlosberg worked as a project engineer at ITW Buildex in Itasca, Ill. While at ITW Buildex, he led a multimillion-dollar product upgrade focusing on a new dimensional profile for the company. He has also worked as a graphics specialist at Exxon Research and Engineering in Clinton, N.J.

HISTORY LESSON: Notre Dame rowing, in only its fourth 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 in ’01 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.

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-star team.

THE SCHEDULE: Notre Dame faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation this spring. Notre Dame opens the 2002 spring campaign with a dual regatta against a much improved Tennessee squad, who won the club eight at the Head of the Charles in the fall.

After a dual with 2001 NCAA participant Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., the Irish once again will travel to the west coast for the prestigious San Diego Crew Classic. Notre Dame received its first-ever invitation to the Crew Classic last season, placing sixth in the Jessop-Whittier Cup that featured the nation’s top crews.

Notre Dame then goes to Indianapolis, Ind., for what they hope will be the first of two trips this spring, competing in the Indiana Crew Classic. Indiana and Purdue are both improved squads, while first-year program Eastern Michigan appears to be taking off and should be very fast.

For the second consecutive season, the BIG EAST Conference is sponsoring the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge in Worcester, Mass. In 2001, Notre Dame finished second in the team competition, claiming third in the varsity eight and second in the both the second varsity eight and the novice eight. All of the teams should be faster than last season, with the top teams being Syracuse (who went to the NCAA Championships in 2001), Rutgers and Miami.

The BIG EAST Challenge will serve as a good test for the Irish before heading to the Central Regions in Oak Ridge, Tenn. In 2001, three teams (Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa) from the Central Region went to the NCAA Championships as a team and Michigan State received an at large bid.

UP NEXT: The Irish travel to East Lansing, Mich., next Saturday for a dual regatta against NCAA qualifier Michigan State. The Spartans received an at-large bid to the 2001 NCAA Championships.