Willamette Women's Varsity 4+ and Women's Novice 8+ Take First Place at the Charlie Brown Regatta

By Neil Patel, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6804

PORTLAND, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's varsity 4+ and women's novice 8+ crews rowed outstanding races on Saturday, Oct. 27, as both teams took first place at the Charlie Brown Regatta on the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. The women's varsity 4+ team recorded a time of 19:28 while the women's novice 8+ squad had a time of 19:56.

Fresh off their fifth place finish at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the Willamette women’s varsity 4+ crew team never looked back as they recorded the fastest time while passing one other crew that started before them. In a ten-boat race, the Bearcats recorded a time of 19:28, besting Lewis & Clark College, which finished second at 19:54, and the University of Puget Sound, which took third at 20:59.

In a fierce head wind, the Willamette University women’s crew passed three other crews with earlier start times, to win the novice women’s 8+ race. In a ten-boat race representing the top novice Division III collegiate crews in the Pacific Northwest, the Willamette women battled through rough waters for their victory in 19:56. The Bearcats won the race by two minutes and twenty-one seconds over both the University of Puget Sound and Portland State University, who tied for second with a time of 22:17. Lewis & Clark was fourth at 22:26.

"They were thrilled and many parents and family members just loved seeing their daughters working so hard and being so happy," said Willamette Head Coach Susan Parkman. "They (Willamette WN8+ Crew) were able to win in a fierce head wind by 2:21 over a tie for second place."

Competing for Willamette in the Collegiate Women's 4+ race were coxswain Erica Soma (Fr., Scotts Valley, CA/Scotts Valley HS), stroke Lauren Schwartz (Sr., Medford, OR/St. Mary's HS), three-seat Laura Jones (Sr., Boise, ID/Boise HS), two-seat Hilary Andrus (So., Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS) and bow Julie Vernarsky (So., Enterprise, OR/Enterprise HS).

The Bearcats' women's 8+ novice team was made up of coxswain Lacey Ellingson (So., Shoreview, MN/Mounds View HS), stroke Christina Thorburn (Fr., Boulder, CO/Niwot HS), seven-seat Leslie Schultz (Fr., South Pasadena, CA/South Pasadena HS), six-seat Geneva Hooten (Fr., Vancouver, WA/Mountain View HS), five-seat Christine Kelly (Fr., Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS), four-seat Ilana Greenslade (Fr., Kennewick, WA/Kamiakin HS), three-seat Linnea Schuster (Fr., Honolulu, HI/Punahou HS), two-seat Kara Hafkey (Fr., Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS), and bow Erika Michelotti (Fr., Los Alamos, NM/Los Alamos HS).

Coxed by Emily Mitchell (So., Vancouver WA/Columbia River HS), the men’s varsity 4+ of stroke Greg Henselman (Jr., Oregon City, OR/Kamiak HS), three-seat John Schmidtbauer (Fr., Whittier, CA/Whittier HS), two-seat Nathan Keffer (Fr., Santa Fe, NM/Monte Del Sol Charter School), bow Mike Isaacs (So., Las Vegas, NV/E W Clark HS), and spare Dave Reid (Fr., Shoreline, WA/Shorewood HS), placed fourth out of seven teams with a time of 19:34. The University of Puget Sound won the race in 17:36.

The women’s varsity 8+ team, made up of coxswain Soma, stroke Jones, seven-seat Vernarsky, six-seat Andrus, five-seat Kelly, four-seat Caitlin Dilli (So., Littleton, CO/Heritage HS), three-seat Mitchell, two-seat Thorburn (Fr. Boulder, CO/Niwot HS), and bow Ellingson, took home a strong third place finish among six teams. The Bearcats finished at 18:53, behind first-place Lewis & Clark at 18:21 and second-place University of Puget Sound at 18:22.

The Charlie S. Brown Regatta, named after a former coach at Lewis & Clark who passed away from cancer in 2002, is a featured Northwest fall regatta with four Division III rowing programs competing, along with Portland State University.

Charlie S. Brown Regatta - Complete Results

Erica Soma was the coxswain as Willamette's women's varsity 4+ won its race at the Charlie S. Brown Regatta.

Erica Soma was the coxswain as Willamette's women's varsity 4+ won its race at the Charlie S. Brown Regatta.