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Drake Closes Spring Break Training Trip With Race Versus Jacksonville And Stetson

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: March 20, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. – The Drake University rowing team continues to train this week in Tampa during the Bulldogs’ annual spring break trip to a warm-weather site.

On Thursday, March 20, Drake and Hamilton College out of New York, will host an afternoon scrimmage session. The two teams will compete in various, timed scrimmage segments in four and eight-crew boats.

The Bulldogs will close out their week in The Sunshine State with a showdown against Jacksonville and Stetson on Saturday, March 22. The teams will race on a 2,000 meter course on Lake Beresford in DeLand, Fla.

All week, Tampa has allowed Drake to practice on the water, something the Bulldogs haven’t been able to do for some time in Des Moines due to the weather and water conditions on the Des Moines River. Drake’s last practice time on the water occurred in Louisiana during its winter break training trip.

“It’s been a really good week of training down here,” said head coach Charlie DiSilvestro. “We are making improvements in our first time on the water since Louisiana. A lot of the technical work we have done is taking hold. Now it’s getting ready to shift to racing mode for Saturday against Jacksonville and Stetson.”


The Creighton University rowing team edged the Drake University team in its annual duel on the Des Moines River to close out the fall racing slate. The Bluejays captured two out of three varsity races to reclaim the cup that Drake had won the previous two years.


The Drake University and the University of Tulsa rowing teams trained with each other in Tulsa, Okla. during the Bulldogs’ annual spring break trip to a warm-weather site. The two teams spent a week together training and competed in various, timed scrimmage segments in four and eight-crew boats.


17 returnees from last season’s squad along with several novice student-athletes comprise Drake’s  roster.


This year the Bulldogs have student-athletes from 10 different states as California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin are represented. Iowa and Wisconsin each have eight student-athletes, while Illinois is next with seven.


Senior Mallory Bonstrom (Eau Claire, Wis.) along with juniors Maggie Benhart (St. Charles, Ill.) and Emily Householter (Wheaton, Ill.) will serve as team captains this year.



The Drake rowing team is an auxiliary member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The NCAA announced bracket expansion for women's rowing effective for the 2013 national championship. The expansion gives the winner of the MAAC championship an automatic bid to the national championship. Marist University captured the conference’s first automatic bid this past spring. Drake won its first conference title in school history in 2012.

The 2014 MAAC Championship will be held Saturday, April 26 on Lake Mercer in West Mercer, N.J., while the 2014 NCAA Championships is scheduled to be held May 30-June 1 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.


DiSilvestro hired Katie Thurstin as his new assistant coach this past summer. Thurstin replaced Jane Detwiler who left after two seasons for an assistant coach position at Wichita State University.

Thurstin served as the head coach of Denver University’s club rowing team this past year where she collaborated with university administrators and students to establish the school’s first-ever rowing club.

The Egan, Minn., native was a member of the University of Minnesota rowing team for two seasons and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a minor in Spanish from Minnesota. She holds a US Rowing Level II certification and was a member, private lessons instructor and an advanced program coach for the Rocky Mountain Rowing Club from 2004-2013. Thurstin is in charge of the Drake novice team, while assisting with the day-to-day operations of the entire program and the recruitment of student-athletes.


DiSilvestro is in his 21st season at the helm of the Drake rowing program. DiSilvestro was named the program’s head coach in July of 1993 and oversaw the transition of rowing from a Drake club sport to a Division I varsity sport.

DiSilvestro was named the 2012 MAAC Coach of the Year prior to the MAAC Championships on April 27, 2012. Drake captured the MAAC championship the next day in a thrilling finish, its first conference championship in school history. That same season DiSilvestro helped lead Jacque Nowers, Kat Moore, Susan Goullette, Sarah Travis and Maggie Benhart to the women's varsity heavyweight four championship at the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. Their gold medal at the Dad Vail was also a first for the program.

In May of 2011, DiSilvestro was named Collegiate Coach of the Year by the Dad Vail Regatta. The award is presented annually to a collegiate rowing coach that has had outstanding success and has also contributed to the regatta.

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