CHESTERTOWN, Md. — When long-time Washington College women's rowing head coach Mike Davenport retired last summer after leading the Shorewomen to their fourth consecutive Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) Championship and fourth consecutive NCAA Division III Championship appearance, he left the program in outstanding shape.
Fifteen of the 18 student-athletes who competed for the Shorewomen in their top two eights at last year's MARC and NCAA Championships remain on the roster this season, putting them in an excellent position for a fifth straight conference title under first-year head coach Kari Hughes, who served as Davenport's lead assistant one year ago.
Headlining the lengthy list of the Shorewomen's top returners are a pair of seniors - Jackie Creitz (Schnecksville, Pa./Parkland) and Maddie Morrissette (Arlington, Mass./Arlington). Creitz was named a 2016 first-team All-American and joined Morrissette on the All-MARC varsity team. Morrissette was also the team's MVP last spring, an NCAA Elite 89 winner in 2015, and an All-MARC novice choice in 2014. Creitz was the team's Most Improved Rower in 2015. Creitz has rowed in the first varsity eight since her sophomore season, while Morrissette has been in that top boat since her freshman campaign.
Junior Jules Shipps (Wye Mills, Md./Gunston School) has been in the first varsity eight since her freshman year and was a 2015 All-MARC novice choice. Senior Danielle Huston Hakey (Waldorf, Md./Calverton School) moved to the first varsity eight a year ago after two seasons in the second varsity eight, while junior Mackenzie Gaze (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) and senior Diana Lucey (Great Falls, Va./St. Mary Academy-Bay View [R.I.]) also return from last year's first varsity eight. Senior Megan Prokopius (Chesapeake, Va./Bishop Sullivan) saw some time in the top boat last spring, but was limited by injury.
From stern to bow, this was the Shorewomen's second varsity eight at last year's NCAA Division III Championships - coxswain Emily Booth (Camden, Del./Caesar Rodney), Annie Sniffen (Havertown, Pa./Lower Merion), Kelin McCloskey (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville), Sara Underwood (Claymont, Del./Padua Academy), Annie Grosscup (Halethorpe, Md./Seton Keough), Karis Marano (Catonsville, Md./Catonsville), Leslie Collins (Newark, Del./Ursuline Academy), Brenna Kacar (Dunkirk, Md./Bishop McNamara), and Hannah Cagle (Gloucester, Va./Gloucester). All nine of those student-athletes are on this year's roster, though Grosscup is studying abroad this semester. Cagle and Sniffen are seniors, Grosscup and Kacar are juniors, and the remainder are only sophomores. McCloskey was named to last year's All-MARC novice team, while Kacar is serving as a team captain alongside Morrissette and Huston Hakey.
Also returning from last year's team are senior Kainat Khan (Elkridge, Md./Howard), junior Kerri Walsh (Crestwood, N.Y./Academy of Our Lady of Good Counsel), and sophomores Amelia Berbach (McKeesport, Pa./McKeesport), Lizzie Bienert (Freeland, Md./Hereford), and Kaitlyn O'Donnell (Colonia, N.J./Colonia). Khan saw some time in the second varsity eight last spring, while Walsh and Berbach, a coxswain, served as spares at the NCAA Division III Championships.
The Shorewomen have added 16 newcomers to the roster since last spring. Sophomore Kelley Gardner (Fairfax, Va./Fairfax) and freshmen Emily Goldstein (Wappingers Falls, N.Y./Roy C. Ketcham), Lexi Hegeman (Baldwin, Md./Institute of Notre Dame), and Erika Reynolds (Finksburg, Md./Notre Dame Prep) all saw some time rowing in a varsity boat during this past fall's head racing season. Freshman Olivia Robb (Kennett Square, Pa./Unionville) was the Shorewomen's top coxswain this past fall and is joined by two other freshmen coxswains in Emma Carter (Lutherville, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) and Kimberly Lifton (Wilmington, Mass./Wilmington). Freshmen Ridgely Cohill (Baltimore, Md./Roland Park Country School), Ellye Gersh (Owings Mills, Md./Carver Center for Arts & Technology), Emma Hogan (Hagerstown, Md./St. Maria Goretti), Breanna Lanphear (Nottingham, Md./Perry Hall), Rowan McVey (Dunkirk, Md./Northern), Haley Michael-Lee (Staunton, Va./Turner Ashby), Gwendalyn Ryan (Tualatin, Ore./Family Learning Academy), Emily Van Driel (Old Bridge, N.J./Old Bridge), and Stephaney Wilson (Baltimore, Md./Baltimore City College H.S.) complete the Shorewomen's roster.
Hughes, a former national team member, welcomed former high school head coach Jeannine McCarty as her lead assistant coach last fall. The Shorewomen's coaching staff is rounded out by long-time assistants Lauren McElhenny and Caren Saunders.
The Shorewomen's spring regatta schedule begins March 25th at the Murphy Cup. One week later, the Shorewomen will host La Salle and St. Mary's (Md.) in a home regatta. Trips to the Knecht Cup and Kerr Cup follow before the Shorewomen compete for their fifth straight conference title at the MARC Championships on April 29th.