Bearcat Rowers Travel to Boston for Head of the Charles Regatta

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University rowing teams will compete in three races at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass., which will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 18-19.

First to compete will be the Men’s Collegiate 4+ team, which includes stroke Colton Miller (Fr., Pilot Hill, CA/San Marin HS), three-seat John Schmidtbauer (So., Whittier, CA/Whittier HS), two-seat Joel Ribbens (Kenai, AK/Nikiski HS), bow Marc Whitehead (So., Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) and coxswain Linnea Schuster (So., Honolulu, HI/Punahou School). The Men’s Collegiate 4+ will race on Saturday at 3:25 p.m (EDT).

The Women’s Collegiate 4+, which earned an automatic bid after their impressive fifth place finish last season in the same event, will compete on Saturday at 3:37 p.m. The team is made up of coxswain Ariana Orford (Fr., Brush Prairie, WA/Univ. Washington), stroke Geneva Hooten (So., Vancouver, WA/Mountain View HS), three-seat Jamaica Sweet (So., Florence, OR/Siuslaw HS), two-seat Kesa Sovulewski (So., Bozeman, MT/Bozeman Sr. HS), and bow Julie Vernarsky (So., Three Forks, MT/Enterprise HS).

The final team to compete for WU is the Women’s Lightweight W4+ team made up of coxswain Ilana Greenslade (So., Kennewick, WA/Kamiakin HS), stroke Larissa Stiglich (Fr., Vancouver, WA/Univ. Washington), three-seat Erica Soma (So., Scotts Valley, CA/Scotts Valley HS), two-seat Kara Hafkey (So., Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS), and bow Leslie Schultz (So., South Pasadena, CA/South Pasadena HS). The Women’s Lightweight race is set to begin at 2:25 p.m. on Sunday.

The Men’s Collegiate 4+ team and the Women’s Lightweight W4+ team were both selected to compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta after they submitted entries in a lottery and were selected to compete.

The Head of the Charles Regatta is the world’s largest two-day rowing event. It began in 1965 and was established by Cambridge Boat Club members along with the rowing instructor at Harvard University. As with other “Head Races,” the HOCR features three-mile events with teams in each category starting sequentially about 20 seconds apart. Winners receive the honorary title of "Head of the Charles." This year, more than 7,500 athletes will participate in 52 events, including master's, collegiate, club and youth races. The HOCR became a two-day event in 1997. It typically attracts up to 300,000 spectators along the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass.

Events begin at 8:00 a.m. (EDT) each day. Races are scheduled to begin virtually non-stop until the final race gets underway at 4:43 p.m. on Saturday and 4:23 pm. on Sunday. Willamette will be boating out of the Cambridge Boat Club.

In addition to competing, Willamette’s team members and coaching staff will join Willamette President Dr. M. Lee Pelton for a reception on Saturday at 6 p.m (EDT). in the Harvard Room of the Inn at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. Dr. Pelton, an avid fan of athletics, attended Harvard University, where earned a doctorate, taught in the English Department and was the dean of one of Harvard's 13 undergraduate colleges.

Willamette will compete in three events at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta.

Willamette will compete in three events at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta.