CHESTERTOWN, MD -- The Washington College women's rowing team will once again be among the favorites to win the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championship (MARC) this spring. The Shorewomen return 13 rowers and one coxswain from last year's team, which finished second in the overall point standings at the MARC Championships.
The Shorewomen are led by their five captains - seniors Catherine Black (Kimberton, PA/Academy of Notre Dame) and Sarah Strickland (Potomac, MD/Holton-Arms), juniors Kelsie Jensen (Mays Landing, NJ/Oakcrest) and Kendall Mulligan (Southbury, CT/Westover School), and sophomore Rachel Benders (Cleveland Heights, OH/Beaumont School). Jensen was the coxswain of the Shorewomen's varsity eight boat which finished third at the MARC Championships last spring; Benders, Black, and Mulligan joined her in that boat. Strickland was the two seat of the winning second varsity eight at the Knecht Cup.
Senior Christine Lynch (Lincoln University, PA/Avon Grove) and junior Jenna Moore (Catonsville, MD/Mount de Sales) also return from last year's varsity eight at the MARC Championships. Senior Robin Heese (Phoenix, MD/Maryvale Prep), junior Diane Hagmann (Westfield, NJ/Westfield), and sophomores Kate Fiori (Boston, MA/Dana Hall School) and Mariko Anderson (Seattle, WA/Ingraham) rowed in the winning second varsity eight at last year's MARC Championships. Fiori also earned All-MARC Novice honors.
The Shorewomen's current roster is completed by five rowers and two coxswains who joined the team in the fall. Freshman Valeria DiLisi (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown) saw time in the Shorewomen's top eight in the fall, while senior Caiti Ambrose (Milmay, NJ/Sacred Heart), sophomore Brittany Krueger (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park), and freshmen Elizabeth Hilton (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park) and Emily Sahadeo (College Park, MD/Elizabeth Seton) rowed in novice boats. Freshman Emily Langan (Salisbury, MD/James M. Bennett) was the coxswain of the Shorewomen's top eight at the Head of the Schuylkill regatta, while classmate Abigail Thomas (Hughesville, MD/Thomas Stone) was the coxswain of the novice eight at the same regatta.
Mike Davenport is in his 21st season as head coach of the Shorewomen. He was named the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year. Caren Saunders is in her 10th year as the Shorewomen's novice coach, while Lauren McElhenny is in her second year as an assistant coach. Davenport is optimistic that the team can overcome some injury problems.
"We have several significant injuries this year. Our hope is that those women will be able to heal soon and join us. That's a tough challenge that every team and coach faces."
The Shorewomen, whose varsity eight won the inaugural MARC Championship in 2009 and who competed in the 2008 and 2009 NCAA Division III Championships, will open their spring regatta schedule at home on March 13th against Clark University. The Shorewomen are also set to host Wellesley on March 24th and Philadelphia University on April 2nd. Road trips will take the team to the Murphy Cup in Philadelphia on March 26th, the Knecht Cup in Cherry Hill, NJ, April 9th and 10th, and the Worcester Invitational in Worcester, MA, on April 16th. The 2011 MARC Championships will be held April 30th in York County, PA. Davenport's plan is for everything to come together for that regatta.
"Our focus is the conference championships, with everything designed to peak at that time. Along the way, we're going to race a significant number of top ten schools. Our plan is to use those experiences to take a step up."