Willamette Rowing Finishes Second in Women's Varsity Eights at NCRC Invitational

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

VANCOUVER, WASH. -- Willamette University took second place in the Division III women's varsity eights, trailing only the nationally ranked University of Puget Sound, during the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference (NCRC) Invitational, Saturday, April 5 at Vancouver Lake. The regatta was a chance for the NCRC teams to face each other two weeks prior to the NCRC Championships, which are scheduled for Saturday, April 19, also at Vancouver Lake.

UPS won the DIII women's varsity eights in 7:32.20. Willamette finished at 7:39.90, just 7.70 seconds behind the Loggers. Rivals Lewis & Clark College and Pacific Lutheran University finished third and fourth, respectively.

"I'm proud of the speed we've gained since last week relative to UPS," Willamette Head Coach Susan Parkman said. "We have a young team that is getting faster every week."

The Bearcats were second behind Puget Sound in the WV8+ at the Daffodil Cup on March 29. In that race, UPS won by 29 seconds. WU finished 21.3 seconds closer at the NCRC Invitational.

WU's women in the varsity eights were led by coxswain Erica Soma (Fr., Scotts Valley, CA/Scotts Valley HS). Stroke for the race was Lauren Schwartz (Sr., Medford, OR/St. Mary's HS).

Also rowing in the WV8+ were seven seat Laura Jones (Sr., Boise, ID/Boise HS), six seat Hilary Andrus (So., Chimacum, WA/Chimacum HS), five seat Jamaica Sweet (Fr., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS), four seat Kesa Sovulewski (Fr., Bozeman, MT/Bozeman HS), three seat Fran Clawson (Bozeman, MT/Bozeman HS), two seat Geneva Hooten (Fr., Vancouver, WA/Mountain View HS) and bow Julie Vernarsky (So., Enterprise, OR/Enterprise HS).

Willamette also earned second place behind UPS in the DIII second women's varsity eights. UPS won the race at 8:00.65, while Willamette was 15.73 second back at 8:16.38.

The Bearcats added two more second place finishes. WU was second in the finals of the WN8+ at 8:23.52, after winning the second heat in 7:48.86 to advance to the finals. Western Washington University, ranked #1 in NCAA Division II, won the WN8+ at 8:05.40. Willamette also placed second in the WV4+ in 8:03.87.

Rowing in the women's novice eights for Willamette were Hooten at stroke, Leslie Schultz (Fr., South Pasadena, CA/South Pasadena HS) at seven seat, Sovulewski in the six seat, Sweet at five seat, Clawson at four seat, Christine Kelly (Fr., Mercer Island, WA/Mercer Island HS) in the three seat, Kara Hafkey (Fr., Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) at two seat and Erika Michelotti (Fr., Los Alamos, NM/Los Alamos HS) at bow. Ilana Greenslade (Fr., Kennewick, WA/Kamiakin HS) was the coxswain.

The WV4+ featured Schwartz at stroke and Jones at three seat. Andrus was the two seat and Vernarsky contributed at one seat. The coxswain was Soma.

In the men's novice fours, WU was second in its heat (8:19.62), then took third in the finals at 8:13.37. Competing for Willamette in the event were Nathan Keffer (Fr., Santa Fe, NM/Monte Del Sol HS) at stroke, Luke Johnson (So., Minneapolis, MN/Saint Louis ParkHS) at three seat, Peter Henry (Fr., Stevens Point, WI/Montana Academy) at two season and John Schmidtbauer (Fr., Whittier, CA/Whittier HS) at bow. Emily Mitchell(So.,Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS) was WU's coxswain.

The Bearcats also finished second in the first heat of the men's varsity fours at 8:03.87, before taking sixth in the finals. Willamette's MV8+ was fourth after completing its race in 7:37.04.

Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Invitational