CHESTERTOWN, Md. — This spring, the Washington College women's rowing team will aim to extend its run of dominance of the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) into the second half of a decade as the Shorewomen seek their sixth consecutive MARC Championship and sixth consecutive NCAA Division III Championship bid.
To do so, several rowers will have to move up a step for the Shorewomen as half of the rowers - including a pair of former All-Americans - in last year's first varsity eight have since graduated. Senior Jules Shipps (Wye Mills, Md./Gunston School), juniors Leslie Collins (Newark, Del./Ursuline Academy) and Karis Marano (Catonsville, Md./Catonsville), and sophomore Erika Reynolds (Finksburg, Md./Notre Dame Prep) are all back from that boat, however, as is sophomore coxswain Olivia Robb (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville). Shipps and Robb earned All-MARC varsity and novice honors, respectively, last season, while Marano was named the team's Most Improved.
Seven rowers and one coxswain who competed in the Shorewomen's second varsity eight at the MARC Championships and/or NCAA Championships last spring return. Three of those rowers - junior Lizzie Bienert (Freeland, Md./Hereford) and sophomores Breanna Lanphear (Nottingham, Md./Perry Hall) and Emma Hogan (Hagerstown, Md./St. Maria Goretti) - rowed in the Shorewomen's top eight at the Navy Day Regatta this past fall, as did junior Sara Underwood (Claymont, Del./Padua Academy), who was in the third varsity eight at the end of last spring. Also back from last year's second varsity eight are seniors Brenna Kacar (Dunkirk, Md./Northern), Mackenzie Gaze (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs), and Kerri Walsh (Crestwood, N.Y./Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel), junior Kelin McCloskey (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville), and junior coxswain Emily Booth (Camden, Del./Caesar Rodney).
Other returners who saw time in the third varsity eight last spring are junior Kaitlyn O'Donnell (Colonia, N.J./Colonia) and sophomores Ridgely Cohill (Timonium, Md./Roland Park Country School) and Emily Van Driel (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge). Also back are senior Annie Grosscup (Halethorpe, Md./Seton Keough) rowed in the Shorewomen's second varsity eight in 2016 but studied abroad last spring, sophomore Lexi Hegeman (Baldwin, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) was sidelined last spring, but rowed in the Shorewomen's second eight at the Navy Day Regatta this past fall, and junior coxswain Amelia Berbach (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport), who coxed that second eight at Navy Day.
Four freshmen competed in varsity boats for the Shorewomen this past fall - Agnes Anderson (Ulster Park, N.Y./Kingston), Emma Dodsworth (Port Republic, Md./Calvert), Gabrielle Francis (Laurelton, N.Y./Jamaica Gateway to the Sciences), and coxswain Olivia Butler (Sykesville, Md./Century). The Shorewomen's other first-year student-athletes are sophomore Madelaina Ondo (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) and freshmen Kaelyn Connor (New Castle, Del./Caravel Academy), Makayla Hudziak (Saint Inigoes, Md./Great Mills), Annie Krystofiak (Paoli, Pa./Delaware Valley Friends School), Olivia Oakley (Sykesville, Md./Liberty), Talia Seidman (Hagerstown, Md./Smithsburg), and Destiny Smith (Matthews, N.C./Charlotte Country Day School).
Second-year head coach Kari Hughes, who was named the MARC Women's Coach of the Year last spring, is joined on the coaching staff by first-year full-time assistant Colleen Ryan and long-time part-time assistants Lauren Shaw and Caren Saunders.
The Shorewomen will open their spring regatta season at the Bryn Mawr Invitational March 25th. They will also compete at the Murphy Cup and Kerr Cup as well as road regattas hosted by La Salle and St. Mary's. This year's MARC Championships will be held April 28th at Gifford Pinchot State Park in Lewisberry, Pa. The Shorewomen are slated to compete at the historic Dad Vail Regatta May 11th and 12th. Should the Shorewomen pick up their sixth straight MARC crown, they will head to Sarasota, Fla., for the NCAA Championships May 25th and 26th.