Pac-12 announces rowing honors

Douglas Taylor

SAN FRANCISCO - The 2016 Pac-12 Rowing All-Conference honors, including All-Pac-12 teams, were announced today by the Conference office. For the second-straight year, CALIFORNIA senior Kendall Chase was named the Pac-12 Women’s Rowing Athlete of the Year. Co-recipients of Women’s Rowing Newcomer of the Year was honored to Golden Bear Charlotte Wesselman and WASHINGTON’s Katy Gillingham. Head coach Al Acosta of Cal earned Women’s Rowing Coach of the Year honors. On the men’s side, California sophomore Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk garnered Men’s Rowing Athlete of the Year honors, fellow Golden Bear Joachim Sutton received Men’s Rowing Newcomer of the Year recognition and completing the sweep, Cal’s Mike Teti was named Men’s Rowing Coach of the Year.

The Athlete of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards are voted on and nominated by the Conference’s coaches. Candidates for Athlete of the Year must have participated in the varsity eight race at the Pac-12 Championships.

PAC-12 MEN’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, California
Wegrzycki-Szymczyk is in the middle of a breakout year on the collegiate and international stage.  While leading Cal's Varsity 8+ to a Pac-12 Championship, an IRA title and maintaining a 3.5 GPA, Wegrzycki-Szymczyk will also represent Poland in the Single this summer at the Rio Olympics. As stroke of the Varsity 8+, Wegrzycki-Szymczyk has played an integral role in the team's success this year.

PAC-12 MEN’S NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR – Joachim Sutton, California
Sutton has quietly become a major part of the Cal Varsity 8+ in his freshman year.  Overcoming two significant injuries this year, Sutton has stayed focused on getting faster every day.  He has been a solid member of the Varsity 8+ for every race this spring and a huge contributor to the Golden Bears’ Pac-12 and IRA titles.

PAC-12 MEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR – Mike Teti, California
After guiding the Cal men to a Conference title and an IRA title, head coach Mike Teti has been named Pac-12 Men’s Coach of the Year. This is the first honor for Teti, first for Cal since 2005 and 10th in Golden Bear history. A fixture on the U.S. rowing national team as a coach and as a competitor, U.S. national crews have produced 28 total medals under Teti's guidance.

PAC-12 WOMEN’S ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Kendall Chase, California
Chase stroked the Cal Varsity 8+ to victories at the San Diego Crew Classic, Lake Natoma Invitational, a dual win over Washington, a Pac-12 Championship and an NCAA title. Chase is a team captain and has a 3.5 grade-point average. Chase, the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, becomes the first back-to-back Pac-12 Athlete of the Year since the award was enacted in 2008.

PAC-12 WOMEN’S CO-NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR, Charlotte Wesselman, California; Katy Gillingham, Washington
Wesselman is the freshman stroke of Cal’s Second Varsity 8+. She took a year off between high school and college to have significant surgery on both knees. When she came to Cal she was still rehabbing for the whole fall. She spent some time in the Varsity 8+ and stroked the 2V8+ to a win at the Pac-12 Championships and the NCAA Championships. The NCAA title in the 2V8+ was the first national crown in the event for the Golden Bears.

After a long summer with the U.S. Junior National Team, Gillingham jumped right in to the fall season and was the fastest pair for the entire fall season. Gillingham hit a rough patch and took two weeks off for a mental rest in the winter.  She then came back after two weeks with a fury and seat raced her way into the varsity and was the top starboard on her side in the pairs.  She now is 7 seat in the Varsity 8+ and has been a positive leader for the team. 

PAC-12 WOMEN’S COACH OF THE YEAR
California’s Al Acosta earns his second Pac-12 Women’s Coach of the Year honors in as many seasons with the Golden Bears. He guided California to two-straight Pac-12 titles and an NCAA crown this season. Acosta is a Cal graduate himself, he was named National Coach of the Year five times while leading the STANFORD women’s lightweight team. Acosta started the Stanford lightweight program in 2001 and guided the Cardinal for 13 consecutive years, including four straight IRA national titles from 2010-13 before the school posted a runner-up finish in 2014.

By claiming the varsity eight competitions at the Pac-12 Championships, the California men and women headline the 2016 Pac-12 Rowing All-Conference teams, which were also announced by the Conference office Thursday.

Members of the All-Conference rowing teams are based upon each institution’s finish in the varsity eight race at the Pac-12 Championships, which were held on Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. The Conference champion provides four members of the All-Conference team, the second-place crew provides three members, and the third-place finisher provides two. All other participating crews receive one selection each.

MEN’S ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk, California*
Niki van Sprang, California 
Morgan Hellen, California
Julian Venonsky, California
Josh West, Oregon State
Ryan Hails, Stanford
Ryan O'Rourke, Stanford
Finn Schröder, Washington
Ezra Carlson, Washington
Jake Zier, Washington
John Dorscher, Washington State

* Second career All-Conference selection
 

WOMEN’S ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Kendall Chase, California*
Charlotte Seiring, California
Jacinta Edmunds, California*
Inger Kavlie, California
Jessica Stewart, Oregon State
Simone Jacobs, Stanford
Ruth Narode, Stanford
Leigh Warner, Stanford
Marie Jacquet, UCLA
Athina Angelopoulou, USC
Krisztina Gyimes, USC
Sarah Dougherty, Washington
Savannah Davison, Washington State
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