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Rowing Travels To West Lafayette For Indiana Classic

March 28, 2003

THIS WEEK: The Notre Dame women’s rowing team will continue the spring season Sunday, March 30, traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., to compete in the Indiana Classic. The Irish will race against Indiana and Purdue in the three-team regatta. Racing begins at 1:30 p.m. with the second varsity four event.

DIRECTIONS TO THE RACE: The race will take place on the Wabash River with the start line located in Mascouten Park. The park is located on the west side of the Wabash River on 43 North near Happy Hollow Park and just below where the start of the 2000 meter course is. Parking is located across the road and there is no parking on the street.

43 North can be reached directly off of I65 just north of West Lafayette (go south on 43) or can be reached off of 26 near campus just after crossing the Wabash River (go north on 43).

SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEKEND: The following is the schedule of events for Sunday’s races.

1:30 Second varsity four
1:40 Novice four
1:50 Varsity eight
2:30 Second novice eight
3:00 Novice eight
3:10 Varsity four
3:20 Second varsity eight

THE CREWS FOR THE WEEKEND: Irish head coach Martin Stone is still working on his crews for Sunday as they will be race-time decisions.

ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame is looking to build upon its success during the 2002 season in which the varsity eight qualified for the NCAA Championships, hoping the whole team will be invited to the 2003 regatta.

After only being on the water for a week, the Notre Dame women’s rowing team had a strong outing winning two races against Clemson and North Carolina at the spring rowing opener in Clemson, S.C. The Irish won the second varsity eight and the second varsity four, while narrowly falling in the varsity eight and the varsity four. The second varsity four posted the most impressive victory on the day winning its race by almost 20 seconds. Perhaps the most exciting race of the day was the varsity eight as Clemson narrowly defeated the Irish by only two seconds. The Irish also lost a close race in the varsity four as Clemson was first by almost three seconds. The Irish placed third in the first and second novice eight races.

The Irish concluded its spring break trip with a regatta versus Tennessee on Lake Lanier in Knoxville, Tenn. The regatta, which was run as three pieces of 1,500 meters each, saw the Irish win four races during the day. In the first session, Notre Dame won the novice eight, second varsity four and the varsity four, while the varsity eight and second varsity eight were second. In the second session, Tennessee swept all four races taking the varsity eight by only .5 of a second as the Lady Vols finished in 4:24.90. The third session saw the Irish second varsity eight get its first win of the day.

This past weekend, the Irish played host to Michigan on the St. Joseph River. .Notre Dame swept all three pieces in the second varsity eight race. In the varsity eight race, Michigan won two of three pieces in some very close races. In the varsity four, the Irish took two of three races. The Irish defeated Michigan twice and tied in the third race of the novice eight.

ABOUT INDIANA: The Hoosiers will begin their spring season against Notre Dame and Purdue after completing spring training in Tennessee. Indiana is in its fourth season as a varsity program after its inception in 1999. The varsity crew returns a solid group of 20, consisting of 11 sophomores, three juniors and six seniors.

The fall of 2002 was one of the best racing seasons in the history of the Indiana rowing program. The Hoosiers began their season at the LemonHead Regatta in Bloomington, Ind., finishing third and fourth in the varsity eight and third in the varsity four. At the Head of the Rock in Rockford, Ill., the Hoosiers had a first-place finish by their novice four. Indiana competed at the Head of the Charles in Boston, Mass., as well with the varsity eight placing eighth out of 59 teams. The Hoosiers had four first-place finishes at the Head of the Eagle in Indianapolis, Ind., which included the varsity eight and varsity four. The team ended its fall season with its best-ever finish at the Head of the Elk, placing seventh as a team out of 42 registered teams. The team actually finished third in the women’s point standings. The pairs finished second, fourth, fifth and seventh. Indiana’s novice A and B boats placed fourth and fifth in each of their races and the varsity eight came in fifth.

ABOUT PURDUE: Purdue is one of the best club rowing programs in the nation and have been extremely competitive with some of the nation’s top varsity programs, including Notre Dame. Purdue opened its fall season at the Milwaukee River Challenge in Milwaukee, Wis., with an eighth-place finish in the varsity four and fifth in the varsity eight. At the LemonHead Regatta, the Boilermakers finished second and tied for third with Indiana in the varsity eight race and second and fourth in the varsity four. In the lightweight fours race at the Head of the Rock, the Boilermakers placed fourth. The Boilermakers had four boats finish in the top 10 at the Head of the Eagle in the novice eight race. At the Head of the Elk, Purdue won first in the lightweight fours race. They had a sixth-, second- and third-place finishes in the three varsity four races. The Boilermakers ended up finishing second overall to Michigan at the Head of the Elk.

LAST YEAR AT THE INDIANA CLASSIC: Notre Dame won both the varsity eight and the varsity four as race conditions were ideal. The Irish first varsity eight was first in 6:13.20, almost 15 seconds ahead of Notre Dame’s second varsity eight crew. The “B” boat finished in 6:28.10, just edging out Purdue’s “A” boat, which crossed the line in 6:28.90. Indiana was fourth in 6:38.00. The Irish varsity four also had an impressive race, winning by almost 20 seconds. Notre Dame crossed the line in 7:30.80. Indiana was second in 7:50.70, while Purdue was third in 8:06.80. The fourth Irish eight finished second in its race in 6:49.89, just narrowly losing to Purdue who crossed in 6:49.56. Notre Dame’s third varsity eight was third in 7:01.44.

The novice team struggled though as the first novice eight finished third in its race, almost nine seconds behind winner Eastern Michigan, who finished in 6:36.60. Purdue was second in 6:43.50. Notre Dame’s second novice eight and novice four were fourth in its races.

IRISH REWIND VS. MICHIGAN: The Irish played host to Michigan last Saturday on the St. Joseph River. It was a great day for the Irish as they won eight races and tied one other of the 12 run on Saturday. Notre Dame swept all three pieces in the second varsity eight race with its biggest margin being over five seconds. In the varsity eight race, Michigan won two of three pieces in some very close races, while in the varsity four, the Irish took two of three races. The Irish defeated Michigan twice and tied in the third race of the novice eight.

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.

SPRING SEASON OUTLOOK: Notre Dame head coach Martin Stone and his Irish rowing squad are looking to build on the success of last season in hopes of qualifying the entire team for the 2003 NCAA Rowing Championships. After entering the varsity eight at last year’s NCAA meet (where it finished 16th) and landing at 13th in the final preseason poll, the rowing community is starting to take notice of this upstart Irish program.

The Irish will have to work even harder to get back to the premier level they achieved last season. First and foremost, Notre Dame will have to replace the likes of first boaters Michelle Olsgard and Katherine Burnett. Olsgard, a team captain, earned her second consecutive first-team all-Central Region honor in 2002 and posted the third-fastest erg score on the team. Burnett, a three-year member of the first eight, earned second-team all-region honors and was a three-time National Scholar-Athlete award winner.

Stone will turn to senior Ashlee Warren, who became the first Irish rower to earn All-America honors, and junior Natalie Ladine, who was a second-team all-region honoree in 2002 and had the fastest erg score on the Irish last season. Also back is senior coxswain Cassie Markstahler who did an excellent job for the Irish in 2002 and will provide additional leadership to the younger rowers.

Others returning to the roster this season who will have a chance at the top boat this year are senior captain Casey Buckstaff, senior Erica Drennen, juniors Alice Bartek, who broke the Notre Dame 2,000-meter erg record this spring, Jacqueline Hazen, Danielle Protasewich and Kathleen Welsh, sophomores Katie Chenoweth, Rachel Polinski, Kati Sedun, Meredith Thornburgh and Shannon Mohan and freshmen Meghan Boyle and Melissa Felker.

FALL REVIEW: Notre Dame took advantage of the fall season by trying some new boating combinations and getting the younger rowers some experience in preparation for the spring season.

The Irish opened the fall season by taking two of the top four positions in the varsity eight race at the Milwaukee River Challenge in Milwaukee, Wis.

Notre Dame then returned home for a two-day regatta versus Kansas where the Irish took two of the top three positions in the varsity four race and finished 1-2-3 in the varsity eight. The Irish continued their successful fall season at the Head of the Ohio as they won two races, including the open four and the club four. The Irish also were fourth in the open eight and took third through sixth places in the pairs race.

The Irish varsity team closed out its fall season by taking third, fifth and seventh in the open eight race, while the fours were first and third at the Head of the Rock Regatta in Rockford, Ill. The next week, Notre Dame’s varsity four and varsity pair placed third, while the novice eight was fourth at the Head of the Grand on the Grand River in East Lansing, Mich.

THE SPRING SCHEDULE: Notre Dame has upgraded its schedule in 2003, facing many of the nation’s top teams. The Irish faced Clemson, North Carolina and Tennessee over spring break and competed against national-power Michigan this past Saturday. Notre Dame will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., on March 30, for the Indiana Classic to row against Purdue and Indiana.

The Irish have two more dual regattas as they travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to face powerhouse Iowa on April 6, before heading to East Lansing, Mich., for a date with Michigan State on April 12. Michigan State had an impressive NCAA regatta in 2002 by finishing ninth in the team competition and is one of the top programs in the nation in 2003, while Iowa was ranked in the top five at the end of the 2001 season.

The Irish finally return home for their only dual regatta in South Bend as they play host to Dayton on April 13. Notre Dame then has two weeks off before heading to Worchester, Mass., for the BIG EAST Rowing Challenge. Notre Dame finished second at the 2002 Challenge and is looking to unseat defending champion Syracuse at this year’s regatta. After the BIG EAST meet, Notre Dame will go to Seattle for the Windermere Cup on May 3. Scheduled to race in Seattle are defending national champion Washington in the varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four competition and the Polish under-23 national team in the varsity eight.

Next the Irish head to Oak Ridge, Tenn., on May 17-18, for the Central Regions, a meet which has huge implications on the NCAA Championship meet. Last season, four teams competing in the Central Region regatta received invitations to the NCAA meet. The Irish placed fourth in the team competition, while the varsity eighth was also fourth. The NCAA Championships scheduled for May 30-June 1 in Indianapolis, Ind., conclude the 2003 season.

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.

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 for Notre Dame. She becomes the first Irish rower to earn the honor and was the only rower from any BIG EAST school to win the award in 2003. 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-med/anthropology.

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 a few weeks ago. 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.

UP NEXT: Notre Dame will travel to Iowa City, Iowa, to face powerhouse Iowa on Sunday, April 6.