Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Women's Rowing Travels To Pittsburgh For The Head Of The Ohio

Oct. 4, 2002

THIS WEEK: The Notre Dame women’s rowing team will continue its fall season this weekend at the Head of the Ohio Saturday, Oct. 5, in Pittsburgh, Pa. This is the first time in its history the Irish will be competing at this regatta.

The Head of The Ohio regatta is held in the fall on the Allegheny River with the starting line at Washington’s Landing and the finish just above the point where the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio River – a 2.8 mile course. The Irish will begin with the Club Four at 8:15 a.m., followed by the pairs at 8:55 a.m., the youth eight at 10:25 a.m., the youth four at 2:00 p.m., open four at 2:35 p.m. and ending the day with the open eight at 3:30 p.m.

Other schools competing this weekend include Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Boston University. The Buckeye, Wolverines and Spartans all qualified as a team for the 2002 NCAA Championships, while Boston just missed an NCAA invte.

THE CREWS FOR THE WEEKEND: Fresh off a successful weekend at the home race against Kansas on the St. Joseph River, Irish head coach Martin Stone has put together the following boats for the weekend:

Club Four: A: Kathryn Long (cox), Casey Buckstaff, Meghan Boyle, Katie Chenoweth, Meredith Thornburgh
B: Rebecca Campbell (cox), Katie O’Hara, Kristen Henkel, Antoinette Duck, Megan Sanders

Pairs: A: Natalie Ladine/Ashlee Warren
B: Kati Sedun/Elizabeth Specht
C: Ann Marie Dillhoff/Alice Bartek
D: Diane Price/Kerri Murphy
E: Erica Drennen/Sarah Keefer
F: Rachel Polinski/Kathleen Welsh

Youth Eight (All 19 years of age or younger): Maureen Gibbons (cox), Kristen Mizzi, Shannon Mohan, Melissa Felker, Christine Donnolly, Danielle Stealy, Devon Hegeman, Sarah Palandech, Courtney Quinn

Youth Four (All 19 or younger): Maureen Gibbons (cox), Kristen Mizzi, Jenna Froberg, Danielle Stealy, Courtney Quinn

Open Four:Caitlin Rackish (cox), Shannon Mohan, Melissa Felker, Christine Donnolly, Sarah Palandech

Open Eight: A: Cassie Markstahler (cox), Natalie Ladine, Ashlee Warren, Elizabeth Specht, Alice Bartek, Rachel Polinski, Erica Drennen, Kerri Murphy, Kathleen Welsh
B: Kathryn Long (cox), Kati Sedun, Ann Marie Dillhoff, Casey Buckstaff, Meghan Boyle, Diane Price, Meredith Thornburgh, Katie Chenoweth, Sarah Keefer
C: Rebecca Campbell (cox), Katie O’Hara, Alexa Garcia, Katie McCalden, Kristen Henkel, Antoinette Duck, Devon Hegeman, Karrie Koski, Megan Sanders

LAST WEEK VS. KANSAS: The University of Notre Dame claimed the first three places in the varsity eights race on Sunday.

Notre Dame’s first varsity eight crew of 13:39.35, finishing ahead of the second Irish varsity eight crew by over 12 seconds. The second varsity eight finished in 13:51.91. The Irish sealed the race when the third varsity eight took third, defeating Kansas’ first boat, finishing in 14:04.08

On Saturday, the Irish took two of the top three positions in the varsity four race against Kansas on the St. Joseph River. The Irish first varsity four crew won the event by 39 seconds over the Jayhawks’ top boat, while Notre Dame’s second varsity four finished third.

The all-senior winning Irish crew of Markstahler, Dillhoff, Warren, Luckett and Buckstaff took first in 15:15.04, while Kansas’ first varsity four posted a time of 15:54.04. The second varsity four for the Irish was third in 16:26.34, more than 21 seconds ahead of the other three Jayhawk boats.

HISTORY LESSON AND 2002 IN REVIEW: 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.

The Irish had its best season in history last year when they finished the year ranked 13th in the nation and qualified their varsity eight shell for the 2002 NCAA Rowing Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., placing 16th.

Notre Dame scored its first All-American in 2002 as current senior Ashlee Warren was named to the second team. Stone was also recognized as one of six finalist for National-Coach-of-the-Year honors.

The Irish finished the year with four rowers earning all-Central Region accolades (Warren, graduated seniors Michelle Olsgard, Katherine Burnett and current junior Natalie Ladine), and sixth athletes garnering CRCA National Scholar-Athlete honors (Burnett (who was a three-time recipient), Ladine, graduated senior Katie Besson, current seniors Becky Luckett and Cassie Markstahler and current junior Diane Price.

2002-03 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 awardwinner.

“The losses of Michelle and Katherine will hurt our team,” Stone admits.

“They were such tremendous leader and worked so hard. No one hated losing more than those two.”

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. Ladine looks to move to the stroke seat for the 2002 season, while Warren will bounce between the sixth and seventh seats.

“Ashlee and Natalie were the strongest pullers in the boat last season and we expect that from them again this year,” Stone says.

“Their experience is also going to be critical as some of the younger athlete vie for spots in the boat.”

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 have rowed in the top boat at some point of their careers are seniors Casey Buckstaff, Ann Marie Dillhoff and Becky Luckett, in addition to juniors Diane Price and Jayme Szefc (who is studying abroad this fall). Also look for seniors Erica Drennen and Kerri Murphy, juniors Alice Bartek, Kathleen Welsh, and Sarah Keefer and sophomores Elizabeth Specht, Rachel Polinski, Kati Sedun, Meredith Thornburgh and Shannon Mohan to also challenge for seats in the top boat as well.

“Although we lost two of the best rowers our program has had, we are excited about this season,” Stone says.

“There will be a lot of competition for seats in both the first and second eights this season, as well as in the third eight and the fours. We need to spend the fall season getting stronger and looking for the right combinations of rowers which will enable our boats to be fast for the spring.

“We are excited about what we accomplished last spring, but think there is still so much more out there for us. We would like to have the entire team advance to NCAAs this season.”

THE SCHEDULE: After this weekend, Notre Dame will travel to Rockford, Ill., on Oct. 13 for the Head of the Rock.