Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Rowing Set To Challenge At 2003 Central Sprints

May 15, 2003

THIS WEEK: The Notre Dame rowing team will compete in its biggest regatta of the season Saturday-Sunday, May 17-18 at the 2003 Lexus Central/South Sprints at Lake Melton in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The two-day event will play a major role in determining who will receive invitations to the 2003 NCAA Championships scheduled for Friday-Sunday, May 30-June 1 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.

ABOUT THE LEXUS CENTRAL/SOUTH SPRINTS: The University of Tennessee will play host to the seventh-annual Lexus Central/South Sprints, at which top teams from around the Central and South regions will compete for the coveted Lexus Cup.

This season’s event features a record-sized field of 21 squads including seven teams ranked in the USRowing/CRCA Top 20 poll. Ranked Central Region crews include No. 7 Michigan, No. 10 Ohio State, No. 11 Michigan State and No. 15 Iowa and South Region crews No. 12 Virginia, No. 17 Texas and No. 19 Tennessee.

Notre Dame, a member of the central region, will face 12 other Central foes this weekend including Cincinnati, Eastern Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, four-time defending Lexus Cup champion Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Tulsa.

The South Region features eight teams including Clemson, Duke, Louisville, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina, SMU, Texas and Virginia. Virginia is the only other school, besides Michigan, to win the Lexus Cup winning the title in 1997 and 1998.

ABOUT THE NCAA FIELD: This weekend’s regatta will have a big role in determining the NCAA field. The rowing NCAA Championship is one of the most difficult to make among the NCAA sponsored sports as only 12 teams are selected to compete in the championships, which includes one automatic bid from each of the five regions. Each of those 12 teams fields a varsity eight, a second eight and a varsity four boat. In addition, four varsity eight shells will be selected from institutions not represented in the team competition.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: The Lexus Central/South Sprints is scheduled to begin Saturday, May 17, at 9:00 a.m. EDT with the first heat of first novice eight. The following is a complete schedule of events including the races that Notre Dame will be competing in this weekend

Saturday, May 17, 2003
9:00 a.m. – First Novice Eight Heat One (Cincinnati, Duke, Virginia, Ohio State, Kansas)

9:15 a.m. – First Novice Eight Heat Two (Texas, Miami, Michigan State, Clemson, Eastern Michigan)

9:30 a.m. – First Novice Eight Heat Three (North Carolina, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Indiana, Michigan, SMU)

9:45 a.m. – Second Varsity Four Heat One (Kansas State, Michigan, Notre Dame Michigan State, Eastern Michigan)

10:00 a.m. – Second Varsity Four Heat Two (Clemson, Iowa, Ohio State, Tennessee)

10:15 a.m. – First Varsity Four Heat One (Cincinnati, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, Duke)

10:30 a.m. – First Varsity Four Heat Two (Indiana, Tennessee, Iowa, Notre Dame, Texas, Tulsa)

10:45 a.m. – First Varsity Four Heat Three (Kansas State, Miami, Michigan State, Ohio State, Clemson, Eastern Michigan)

11:00 a.m. – Second Varsity Eight Heat One (Kansas State, Texas, Virginia, Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, Cincinnati)

11:15 a.m. – Second Varsity Eight Heat Two (Clemson, Kansas, Notre Dame, Iowa, Michigan, Tennessee, Eastern Michigan)

11:30 a.m. – First Varsity Eight Heat One (SMU, Notre Dame, Michigan, Minnesota, Eastern Michigan)

11:45 a.m. – First Varsity Eight Heat Two (North Carolina, Duke, Ohio State, Texas, Cincinnati)

12:00 p.m. – First Varsity Eight Heat Three (Kansas, Clemson, Michigan State, Tennessee, Kansas State)

12:15 p.m. – First Varsity Eight Heat Four (Indiana, Louisville, Virginia, Iowa, Miami, Tulsa)

2:00 p.m. – First Novice Eight Semifinal One

2:15 p.m. – First Novice Eight Semifinal Two

2:30 p.m. – Second Varsity Four Repechage One

2:45 p.m. – First Varsity Four Semifinal One

3:00 p.m. – First Varsity Four Semifinal Two

3:15 p.m. – Second Varsity Eight Repechage One

3:30 p.m. – Second Varsity Eight Repechage Two

3:45 p.m. – First Varsity Eight C/D Semifinal One

4:00 p.m. – First Varsity Eight C/D Semifinal Two

4:15 p.m. – First Varsity Eight A/B Semifinal One

4:30 p.m. – First Varsity Eight A/B Semifinal Two

Sunday, May 18, 2003
9:00 a.m. – First Varsity Eight D Level Final

9:15 a.m. – First Varsity Eight C Level Final

9:30 a.m. – First Varsity Four C Level Final

9:45 a.m. – Second Varsity Eight C Level Final

10:00 a.m. – First Varsity Eight C Level Final

10:15 a.m. – Second Novice Eight Grand Final (Miami, Michigan State, Virginia, Ohio State, Clemson)

10:30 a.m. – First Novice Eight Petite Final

10:45 a.m. – First Novice Eight Grand Final

11:00 a.m. – Second Varsity Four Petite Final

11:15 a.m. – Second Varsity Four Grand Final

11:30 a.m. – First Varsity Four Petite Final

11:45 a.m. – First Varsity Four Grand Final

12:00 p.m. – Second Varsity Eight Petite Final

12:15 p.m. – Second Varsity Eight Grand Final

12:30 p.m. – First Varsity Eight Petite Final

12:45 p.m. – First Varsity Eight Grand Final

THE CREWS FOR THE WEEKEND: Irish head coach Martin Stone is still determining the crews for this weekend, but this is what the Irish used at the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge.

First varsity eight – Cassie Markstahler (cox), Natalie Ladine (stroke), Ashlee Warren, Casey Buckstaff, Rachel Polinski, Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Katie Chenoweth, Danielle Protasewich

Second varsity eight –Kathryn Long (cox), Shannon Mohan (stroke), Kerri Murphy, Kathleen Welsh, Meredith Thornburgh, Kati Sedun, Devon Hegeman, Erica Drennen, Melissa Felker

Varsity four – Kacy McCaffrey (cox), Katie McCalden (stroke), Christy Donnelly, Katie O’Hara, Andrea Amoni

Second varsity four A – Maureen Gibbons (cox), Kristen Mizzi (stroke), Sarah Keefer, Kristen Henkel, Jacqueline Hazen

Second varsity four B – Rebecca Campbell (cox), Courtney Quinn (stroke), Antionette Duck, Megan Sanders, Ann Mulligan

Novice eight – Shannan Lettieri (cox), Pamela Jefson (stroke), Julie Lewis, Morgan Ertel, Danielle Stealy, Jenna Redgate, Sarah French, Andrea Doud, Catherine Schmidt

Second novice eight – Nicole Barczak (cox), Megan Sheehan (stroke), Meghan O’Neil, Nikki Karis, Fallon Shields, Laura Joyce, Marcia Luttio, Katie Hanafin, Rachel Kemp

ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame is hoping to build upon its success during the 2002 season in which the varsity eight qualified for the NCAA Championships at this week’s Lexus Central/South Sprints. The Irish experienced their best weekend of the 2003 season (April 27) at the 2003 BIG EAST Rowing Challenge winning the second varsity eight and both the first and second varsity four events in placing only two points behind in the team competition to 15th-ranked Syracuse. The Orangewomen finished with 112 points, compared to 110 for the Irish.

It has been a challenging season for the varsity eight as the Irish had to replace six women from the crew that qualified for the NCAA’s last season. In addition to finishing second at the BIG EAST Regatta, the varsity eight defeated Dayton by over 33 seconds in South Bend on the St. Joseph River. The Irish have been defeated narrowly by national powers Iowa and Michigan and suffered tough losses to Michigan State, Clemson (by two seconds) and Tennessee – all of whom will be at the Lexus Sprints this weekend.

The second varsity eight has had a good spring with the crew defeating Michigan and Iowa, as well as posting wins against Tennessee, Clemson, North Carolina, Dayton, Indiana and Purdue. At the BIG EAST regatta, the crew won its first gold medal at conference race with a convincing victory over the rest of the field.

The fours, under the development of assistant coach Joe Schlosberg, have continued their success from the fall season and are posting one of the best years on record. Both the first and second crew won gold medals at the BIG EAST and the first boat has defeated Michigan, Iowa and Tennessee among others in 2003, while the second four has defeated Michigan State by over 12 seconds and Clemson and North Carolina by over 20 seconds.

The novice crews, under the direction of assistant coach Pam Mork, have also performed well this spring with wins over Michigan, Iowa and Dayton.

IRISH REWIND AT THE WINDERMERE CUP: The Notre Dame rowing team fared well against top-ranked competition and 100,000 fans May 3, at the 2003 Windermere Cup on Lake Washington in Seattle. Notre Dame saw the varsity eight place third, while the second eight was fourth and the varsity four was third.

In the Windermere Cup, the Belarus National team was first in 6:46.45. Three of the women in the Belarus boat competed and finished fifth at the 2002 World Championships in Sevelle, Spain last year. The two-time defending national champions and top-ranked Washington Huskies was second in 6:47.61, while Notre Dame’s team of coxswain Cassie Markstahler, Natalie Ladine, Ashlee Warren, Casey Buckstaff, Rachel Polinski, Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Katie Chenoweth, Danielle Protasewich was third in 7:00.62.

In the Erickson Memorial Cascade Cup, Washington was first in 6:55.18, while Washington State, ranked 13th in the country, was second in 6:57.38. Oregon State, ranked 14th in the nation, was third in 7:05.73, while the Notre Dame crew of Kathryn Long (cox), Shannon Mohan (stroke), Kerri Murphy, Kathleen Welsh, Meredith Thornburgh, Kati Sedun, Devon Hegeman, Erica Drennen and Melissa Felker was fourth in 7:10.12.

In the varsity four, Washington was first in 7:55.82, followed by Washington State in 8:00.81. Notre Dame’s four of Kacy McCaffrey (cox), Katie McCalden (stroke), Christy Donnelly, Katie O’Hara and Andrea Amoni was third in 8:10.37, while Washington B was fourth in 8:13.50 and Oregon State was fifth in 8:19.98.

DID YOU KNOW: With crowds estimated at over 100,000 for the Windermere Cup on May 3, it marked the biggest crowd to watch any Notre Dame athletic team compete in person during the 2002-03 season, including the nationally-ranked Irish football team. The largest crowd to watch the Irish football team play in 2002 was 91,432 versus USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Nov. 30.

IRISH REWIND AT BIG EAST ROWING CHALLENGE: The Irish finished two points out of first place as a team, racing against Syracuse, West Virginia, Boston College, Connecticut, Georgetown, Miami, Rutgers and Villanova at the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge. Syracuse, who won its third consecutive team championship, finished with 112 points compared to Notre Dame’s 110.

The Irish experienced the its best day ever at the BIG EAST regatta winning the second varsity eight, the varsity four and the second varsity four, while also taking the silver medal in the varsity eight. Previous to this year’s regatta, Notre Dame had only won one race (the 2002 varsity four) at the BIG EAST meet.

In the second varsity eight, the Irish crossed the line in 6:44.40, while Syracuse finished in 6:52.45, outdistancing the Orangewomen by over eight seconds. Boston College was third in 6:55.56.

The varsity four crews continued their excellent seasons as both won gold medals. Notre Dame’s first four won by over 11 seconds finishing in 7:39.10. Boston College was second in 7:50.50 and Syracuse was third in 7:55.00. The second varsity four dominated its race, winning by over 32 seconds. Notre Dame finished with a time of 7:38.63, compared to 8:10.20 for Boston College. Syracuse was third in 8:20.51.

The varsity eight crew finished second to 16th-ranked Syracuse. The Orangewomen took the gold in 6:26.45, while the Irish crossed the line in 6:32.54. Rutgers was third in 6:34.93, while West Virginia, ranked 24th in the nation, was fourth in 6:37.71.

The novice eight crew struggled winning the petite final, but placing seventh overall with Syracuse finishing first. The second novice eight won the bronze medal with third-place finish. Georgetown was first 7:08.12), followed by West Virginia (7:20.41) and Notre Dame (7:24.92).

HEAD COACH MARTIN STONE: Head coach Martin Stone is in his fifth season at the helm of the Irish. Stone has brought instant credibility to this young program as the Irish qualified the varsity eight for the NCAA Championships in only the fourth year of the program, where it placed 16th. The Irish finished the 2002 season ranked 13th nationally and were ranked as high as ninth, its highest rankings in Irish history. The Irish boasted its first Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association All-American in 2002 as Ashlee Warren received second-team honors, while four women earned all-Central Region honors and six were named CRCA National Scholar-Athletes. Notre Dame also achieved its ninth and 10th consecutive semesters of a 3.2 overall team grade-point average.

STONE NAMED 2002 NATIONAL COACH OF THE YEAR FINALIST: Martin Stone joined elite company in 2002 as he was named one of six finalist for CRCA National Coach of the Year honors. Stone joined Stanford’s Aimee Baker, Washington’s Jan Harville, Brown’s John Murphy, California’s Dave O’Neill and Yale’s Will Porter as finalists. Harville was the eventual winner of the award.

HISTORY LESSON: Notre Dame rowing, in only its fifth 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.

WARREN NAMED 2002-03 BIG EAST SCHOLAR-ATHLETE: Senior Ashlee Warren was named the 2002-03 BIG EAST/A?ropostal? Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becoming the first Notre Dame rower to earn the honor. Warren will receive a $2,000 scholarship for future postgraduate studies, as she will attend medical school in the fall. Warren has a 3.47 grade-point average in pre-medicine/anthropology.

THE CAPTAINS: Seniors Casey Buckstaff and Ashlee Warren have been voted as team captains for the 2002-03 season. Buckstaff rowed in the first eight as a sophomore before missing her junior season studying abroad in London. She is a leading contender for a spot in the first eight in 2003. Warren became the first Irish rower to earn All-America honors in 2002 and will once again lead the eight in 2003. She also has been a CRCA National Scholar-Athlete awardwinner in her career.

ALICE BARTEK SETS NEW NOTRE DAME RECORD ON ERG: Sophomore Alice Bartek, who was a member of the novice roster in 2001-02, set a new Notre Dame record on the erg for 2,000 meters earlier this spring. Bartek posted a time of 7:06.00 breaking the old record of 7:11.10 set by Natalie Ladine in 2002. Overall, four women went lower than the previous record as Ladine, Ashlee Warren and freshman Meghan Boyle all recorded faster times last week.

IRISH IN THE REGIONAL AND NATIONAL POLLS: Notre Dame is ranked fifth as a team in the third regional rankings released May 11. Michigan, which the Irish defeated in eight of 12 races earlier this spring, is first, followed by Michigan State. Ohio State and Iowa are tied for third, while Notre Dame is fifth and Minnesota sixth. In the first varsity eight, Notre Dame is sixth in the region. Michigan is first, followed by Ohio State, Michigan State, Iowa, Minnesota and the Irish. In the second eight, Notre Dame is fifth, trailing Michigan State, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio State. In the fours, Notre Dame is fifth behind the Wolverines, Hawkeyes, Spartans and Buckeyes.

In the latest national poll, Notre Dame is not ranked after floating in the bottom of the top 20 for much of the season. Notre Dame is facing its toughest schedule in history as the Irish have already rowed against ranked teams Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Michigan State, Michigan, Iowa, Syracuse, West Virginia and Tennessee and still have races against Ohio State, Texas, Minnesota and Duke.

Central Regional rankings for May 11, 2003

1. Michigan
2. Michigan State
3. – tie Ohio State, Iowa
5. Notre Dame
6. Minnesota

Varsity Eight
1. Michigan
2. Ohio State
3. Michigan State
4. Iowa
5. Minnesota
6. Notre Dame

Second Eight
1. Michigan State
2. Iowa
3. Michigan
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. Wisconsin

1. Michigan
2. Iowa
3. Michigan State
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
6. Minnesota

The following is the 2003 CRCA/US Rowing National Poll for May 14, 2003

1. Washington
2. tie – California, Brown
4. tie – Harvard, Princeton
6. Stanford
7. Michigan
8. USC
9. Yale
10. Ohio State
11. Michigan State
12. Virginia
13. Washington State
14. Syracuse
15. Iowa
16. Oregon State
17. Texas
18. Boston University
19. Tennessee
20. Columbia

Others receiving votes: Dartmouth, Minnesota, Cornell, Notre Dame, Massachusetts