Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Rowing Travels to Head of the Grand Regatta.

Oct. 12, 2000

Notre Dame, Ind. – THIS WEEK: The Notre Dame women’s rowing team continues the fall season Saturday, March 14, at the Head of the Grand on the Grand River in East Lansing, Mich. The regatta starts at 10:30 a.m. EDT. Notre Dame will compete against the nation’s best teams including Michigan State, who placed eighth at the 2000 NCAA Rowing Championships last year. The Spartans’ open eight boat also finished eighth in the individual competition, while the second open eight vessel was seventh at the NCAAs last year.

THE IRISH BOATS FOR THE WEEKEND: The boats have not been determined for this weekend’s Head of the Grand, but here were the boating assignments from last Sunday’s regatta – the Head of the Rock.
Pairs: Becky Luckett/Ashlee Warren, Katherine Burnett/Jayme Szefc, Diane Price/Ann Marie Dillhoff, Casey Buckstaff/Julia Kelly, Laura Aull/Leah Ashe, Anne Starks/Kerri Murphy
First Varsity Eight: Ann Marie Dillhoff, Melissa Alberding, Julia Kelly, Casey Buckstaff, Becky Luckett, Ashlee Warren, Katherine Burnett, Jayme Szfec, Claire Bula
Second Varsity Eight: Anne Starks, Kristi Schmidt, Maureen Carr, Elizabeth Kinnier, Diane Price, Katherine McCauldren, Erica Drennen, Kolleen Myers, Pam Swan
Lightweight Eight: Sara Andrews, Erin Shea, Rebecca Campbell, Jessica Manske, Diana Laquinta, Kerri Murphy, Laura Aull, Leah Ashe, Erin Kiernicki
Varsity Four: Caitlin Murray, Allyson Spacht, Ann Gurucharri, Andrea Amoni, Cassie Markstahler
Lightweight Four: Diana Laquinta, Kerri Murphy, Laura Aull, Leah Ashe, Erin Kiernicki

IRISH REWIND: The Irish rowers had a good opening weekend as they won the open pairs, the lightweight eight and the lightweight four last Saturday at the 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.

On Sunday 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.

HI, MY NAME IS…: This fall, 22 of the 33 varsity roster members are new to the team. Only 11 athletes return from last season’s varsity roster, while four are studying abroad and could miss the entire year. The development of the novice program, under the direction of assistant coaches Pam Mork and Kevin Luecke, is paying big dividends for the Irish this season as 13 women have made the jump from the novice to the varsity roster. Head coach Martin Stone also welcomes eight freshman to the varsity team this season.

NO FEAR FOR NEWCOMERS: The newcomers made major contributions to the boats last weekend in their first varsity regatta. The sophomore duo of Becky Luckett and Ashlee Warren won the pairs competition on Saturday and placed fourth on Sunday, while the pair of freshman Diane Price and sophomore Ann Marie Dillhoff were second. The first varsity eight boat featured seven newcomers to the boat, including four athletes who were on the novice roster last season and two freshmen. Senior Melissa Alberding, also rowing in the varsity eight boat, missed all of last season after studying abroad.

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.

2000-01 SEASON OUTLOOK: Irish head coach Martin Stone has recruited some of the nation’s finest young rowers to go along with his outstanding club athletes to form what is quickly becoming one of the region’s and nation’s best rowing schools. Notre Dame took the rowing scene by storm its first two seasons as it successfully competed amongst the Midwest’s and nation’s elite programs. The Irish hope to build on that success in reaching their ultimate goal of qualifying for this year’s NCAA Championships.

“We have been steadily progressing toward our goal of qualifying for the NCAA Championships,” Stone says. “We have a number of talented newcomers this season who will sit in key positions in our boats. Combine that with an experienced group of returning athletes, especially the coxswains, and we will be on target to achieve our goals.”

The open weight category is where Stone has a battle ahead of him as he needs to replace a number of athletes in the Varsity Eight vessel. Gone are Amy Braun and Katrina Ten Eyck, while three other athletes, Michelle Olsgard, Courtney Mercer and Lauren Lyons are studying abroad the first semester.

But Stone does have returning senior captains Erin Kiernicki and Claire Bula. Bula coxed the Varsity Eight last season, while Kiernicki guided the Second Varsity Eight. This weekend, Bula will steer the Lightweight Eight boat on Saturday an the Varsity Eight Sunday, while Kiernicki will have the Varsity Eight vessel. Junior Katherine Burnett is the only other returning athlete in the Varsity Eight boat from last season.

Newcomers who look to make an immediate impact are Melissa Alberding, who is back after studying abroad last year, Ann Marie Dillhoff, Casey Buckstaff, Becky Luckett and Ashlee Warren, all of whom rowed on the novice squad last season. Freshmen Julia Kelly and Jayme Szefc also will row in the top boat.

THE CAPTAINS: Head coach Martin Stone will have strong leadership this season as Claire Bula and Erin Kiernicki have been named captains for the 2000-01 season. Bula is in her third season with the Irish and was a nominee for the US Rowing Honor Roll last year. She is enrolled in the College of Arts and Letters, majoring in American studies. Kiernicki is also in her third season of competition for the Irish and is enrolled in the College of Business, majoring in marketing and sociology.

THE SCHEDULE: The schedule that lies ahead for the captains and the rest of the team this fall is a challenging one as the Irish are on the road for four regattas. The Irish started with the Chicago Chase and the Head of the Rock last weekend before traveling to East Lansing, Mich., this weekend to row against one of the nation’s best teams in Michigan State at the Head of the Grand. After the Irish play host to an Alumni Day (October 28), Notre Dame travels down the Indiana Toll Road to Elkhart, Ind., for the Head of the Elk (October 29).