Rowing to Open Season at the Elk Lake Regatta

March 3, 2005

Oregon State Women's Rowing opens its spring season this weekend at the Elk Lake Spring Regatta in Victoria, British Columbia. Three weeks before OSU kicks off its NCAA race schedule, the Elk Lake Regatta will serve as a tune-up for the primary racing season and pit the Beavs against top Canadian crews including the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.

There will be no heat races during this Regatta, only finals. The novice eight finals will be at 1:10 PM on saturday, followed by the JV Eight at 2:00 PM. The Varsity eight finals will be held on the following day at 10:50 AM.

'This weekend will be a good measure of where we are now, and most importantly, give us a clear idea of where we can improve for the rest of the season,' said head coach Charlie Owen. Two varsity eights and two freshman/novice eights will race in Victoria.

Last year, OSU began its spring season with a dual race against the University of Victoria, posting victories in three of four races at the home race course on Dexter Lake near Eugene. According to Owen, four upperclassmen will not compete in this year's Canadian regatta as they rehab some injuries and focus on being ready for the race against Washington State on Saturday, March 26.

'We have a few athletes nursing tendonitis or muscle strains,' Owen said, 'so looking at the big picture, it makes sense to have them rested, rehabbed, and ready to go against a Pac-10 opponent. The sophomores on the team have really stepped it up to fill in the gaps, and both varsity eights have been training very well to prepare for Elk Lake.'

The Elk Lake Regatta will be the first rowing competition ever for many athletes on the freshman/novice team, who learned to row this year at Oregon State. The freshmen are led by a core of experienced rowers from New Zealand, Portland, and Ashland, OR.

'The team has been training really well and making great strides over the past four months. This is an excellent opportunity for us to see that work pay-off, gain real racing experience, and check our speed against fast Canadian crews early in the season,' said assistant coach Anne Kakela. 'After all this training, I think the athletes are really looking forward to racing!'

Led by a large senior class, Oregon State hopes to make the medals stand at the 2005 Pacific-10 Championship and earn an invitation to the NCAA Championships. Last year, with only one senior rower in its top boat, the young Beavs team fell short of making NCAAs.

'We have excellent leadership from our nine fourth-year rowers this season,' Owen said. 'Seven of them have won medals at Pac-10s, and they understand the team effort it takes to succeed at this level. We also have an impressive group of sophomores up from last year's novice team who won a bronze medal at Pac-10s. They are learning from the upperclassmen, but they are definitely strong enough to compete in our top varsity boats. It's the ideal team dynamic.'

The Beavs have made it to NCAAs three times since 1997, when the team was ranked 7th in the nation and finished 3rd at PAC-10 Championships. Oregon State also earned NCAA bids in 1999 and 2000.

According to the team captains, this year the Beavs have the perfect combination of youth and experience. 'It's exciting to have 12 seniors (including 3 who have another year of eligibility due to red-shirting),' said team captain Michelle Bacon. 'We're truly driven to reach the goals we've been working toward for 4 years. The underclassmen are also raring to go -- they had amazing races last year and are ready to build on their results.'

'We are a really tight-knit team this year, which has created a great atmosphere around the boathouse,' Bacon said. 'Being surrounded by determined and competitive teammates pushes each of us to work harder. Our intra-squad competition is going to push us to achieve more as a team when we start racing in the Pac-10.'

The Team:
1st Varsity 8: Steph Parker, Annie Halliburton, Ami Rothberg, Sarah Dubrasich, Andrea Pleven, Caroline Leibinger, Kristen Reid, Katie Sikstrom, Kristen Tomlinson
2nd Varsity 8:Keelan Purcell, Jen DeVries, Natasha Nemyre, Erica OConnell, Anna Conroy, Nancy Raskauskas, Katherine Wright, Sarah White, Annie Embertson
1st Novice 8: Claire Hanway, Jane Ivey, Kaylie Towne, Nikki Mullens, Stacy Hanson, Britnie Jones, Becca Franceschi, Shannon Blacklidge, Jasmine Horn
2nd Novice 8: Stephanie Sandoval, Rachel Prado, Heather Bemrose, Kristy Iversen, Sarah Casavan, Evelyn Kelly, Ashley Stone, Keely Heintz, Jaimee Mendrinos

Upcoming races:
March 26 OSU vs. Washington State at Dexter Reservoir near Eugene, OR
April 2,3 San Diego Crew Classic at San Diego's Mission Bay
April 16, 17 OSU vs. University of Virginia, Duke University at Charlottesville, VA
April 30 OSU vs. University of Washington at Lake Washington in Seattle
May 15 Pac-10 Championships at Lake Natoma in Sacramento, CA
June 3-5 NCAA Championships (by invitation) at Lake Natoma in Sacramento, CA

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