CHESTERTOWN, MD -- The Washington College women's rowing team will embark on its spring 2013 season seeking its third Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championship (MARC) in the past five years. This season, that title holds extra weight as the winners of the MARC will receive an automatic two-boat bid to the NCAA Division III Championships for the first time ever.
The Shorewomen, who were ranked as high as ninth in the nation in Division III last season, return 12 rowers and one coxswain from their top two eights (including seven rowers from their first eight) at last year's MARC Championships as they will attempt to regain the conference crown from 2012 winner Marietta College. Leading the way among those returners are the Shorewomen's three seniors and three captains - Rachel Benders (Cleveland Heights, OH/Beaumont School), Kate Fiori (Boston, MA/Dana Hall School), and Lauren Halla (Haddonfield, NJ/Haddonfield Memorial).
Benders was named both a member of the MARC Academic All-Conference team and a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) National Scholar Athlete for the second straight year last spring. She was the bow of the Shorewomen's first varsity eight at last year's MARC Championships. Fiori was in the four seat of that same boat, while Halla was the stroke of the Shorewomen's second varsity eight at the MARC Championships.
Washington welcomes back five juniors from last year's squad - Valeria DiLisi (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown), Allie Everhart (New Market, MD/Linganore), Ellie Hilton (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park), Emily Sahadeo (College Park, MD/Elizabeth Seton), and Abigail Thomas (Hughesville, MD/Thomas Stone). DiLisi and Hilton sat in the five and three seats, respectively, pf the first varsity eight at last year's MARC Championships, while Sahadeo and Everhart were in the four and three seats, respectively, of the second varsity eight. Sahadeo and Thomas, a coxswain, were named members of the MARC Academic All-Conference team and CRCA National Scholar Athletes last spring.
Last year's freshman class made an immediate impact in varsity boats and is primed for an outstanding sophomore spring. Kelly Bird (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) was named to the All-MARC Novice team and sat stroke in the Shorewomen's first varsity eight at the MARC Champiopnships. Classmates Taira Sullivan (Stevensville, MD/Kent Island) and Ashley Myles (Chester Springs, PA/Owen J. Roberts) were in the six and two seats of that boat, respectively. Samantha Mason (Preston, CT/Norwich Free Academy), meanwhile, was the coxswain of the Shorewomen's second varsity eight at the MARC Championships. Krystal Brostek (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) and Mickey Fili (Sparks, MD/Hereford) were in the seven and six seats, respectively, in that second varsity eight. Fili was named the team's Most Improved Rower last spring and hasn't stopped there. This winter, she broke the team's nine-year old six-kilometer erg record and the team's nearly eight-year old two-kilometer erg record. Both records were previously held by three-time All-American Sara Beegle '04. Coxswain Christie Phebus (Trappe, MD/Easton) completes the sophomore class. Phebus spent her freshman year as a coxswain for the men's rowing team, earning All-MARC Novice honors.
Ten freshmen complete the Shorewomen's roster this spring. Giavonella Knapp (Vineland, NJ/Our Lady of Mercy Academy), Kayla Noll (Ocean City, NJ/Ocean City), and Leslie Rothstein (Lower Merion, PA/Lower Merion) rowed with varsity-level rowers in the collegiate four at the Head of the Occoquan in November. Coxswain Jaclyn Gibbons (Hingham, MA/Hingham), Lauren Bacharach (Boxboro, MA/Acton-Boxboro), Michaela Martino (Lebanon, NJ/North Hunterdon), and Kelly Dobroski (West Brandywine, PA/Coatesville Area) saw time in novice boats in the fall. Coxswain Monica Benitez (Nutley, NJ/Nutley), Maggie Perry (Fort Collins, CO/Poudre), and Katie Washart (Seaville, NJ/Ocean City) complete the freshman class.
The Shorewomen will open their spring season with a home regatta against perennial New England powers Wellesley and Mount Holyoke March 23rd. They will also host Division II opponents Philadelphia University and Dowling College April 6th. The next day, they will compete at the Occoquan Sprints in Lorton, VA. The weekend of April 13th and 14th will see them in Cherry Hill, NJ, for the Knecht Cup, while the following weekend has the team in Worcester, MA, for two days of racing against top Division III teams. The 2013 MARC Championships will be held April 27th in Lewisberry, PA. Washington also will compete at the ECAC National Invitational Championships May 12th in Worcester.