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Rowing Heads To 2013 MAAC Championships

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: April 25, 2013
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WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The Drake rowing team travels to the 2013 MAAC Championships this Saturday, April 27 on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J. The Bulldogs took home the 2012 MAAC title in dramatic fashion.

This year Drake will compete against crews from Iona College, Marist College, Robert Morris University, University of Jacksonville, Fairfield University, Canisius College and Sacred Heart University. Drake rowing is an auxiliary member of the MAAC.

“We are excited to head back to the conference championships,” Drake head coach Charlie DiSilvestro said. “This is what our training has been gearing towards these past few weeks. We have finally had some consistent time on the water to allow for steady training and our times have gotten better.”

Twenty Drake rowers and three coxswains will compete in the varsity 8+, second varsity 8+ and varsity 4+ boats to determine the conference champion. Winning the title this year has extra incentive as the winner now earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Indianapolis, Ind. on May 31-June 2

“Our three boats are coming together well,” DiSilvestro said. “We are getting faster each week and this truly is a complete team effort with three races counting towards the championship. Every rower, cox, contributes towards hopefully winning another championship. We and the rest of the teams have ramped everything towards the NCAA auto bid.”

Fans can follow Saturday’s action on Twitter and use the hashtag #maacrowing when tweeting about this year's championships.

REWIND

The Drake rowing team won four races at its home regatta, the Drake Invitational, on the Des Moines River today. Prior to the start of the races the Bulldogs hosted a boat christening ceremony for 12 new boats outside of the Des Moines Boathouse.

FINALLY!

The Drake University and the University of Tulsa rowing teams trained with each other in late March in Tulsa, Okla. during the Bulldogs’ annual spring break trip to a warm-weather site. The two teams competed in various, timed scrimmage segments one night in four and eight-crew boats. The trip allowed Drake to practice on the water, something the Bulldogs hadn’t been able to do for some time in Des Moines due to the weather and water conditions on the Des Moines River.

ROSTER OUTLOOK

The Bulldogs have 16 returners from last season’s championship team and nine newcomers joining them this spring. The roster is comprised of nine freshmen, six sophomores, six juniors and four seniors.

EXTRA INCENTIVE

The NCAA announced bracket expansion for women's rowing effective for the 2013 national championship. The expansion will give the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference winner an automatic bid to the national championship. The Drake rowing team is an auxiliary member of the MAAC. The MAAC Championship will be held Saturday, April 27 in Princeton, N.J. and the NCAA Championships will be held May 31-June 2 in Indianapolis, Ind.

ONE YEAR AGO

The Drake rowing team captured the 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship on Lake Mercer in Windsor, N.J. The Bulldogs scored 33 points to edge Marist by two points to win their first MAAC championship in school history.

The Bulldogs varsity 8 + A boat clocked a time of 6:52. and tied with Marist. Video replay declared Drake the winner and they earned 18 points towards the title. Marist settled for 15 points, so the win pushed the Dogs to the conference title.

CAPTAINS

A pair of seniors, Andrea Piekarczyk (Downers Grove, Ill.) and Kristi Vann (Batavia, Ill.), are the designated captains this year for the Bulldogs.

HISTORIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS

The 2012 spring season was the most successful in the Drake Rowing program’s history.  The Bulldogs won the MAAC championship which was the first league title in school history. In addition, the Bulldogs’ team of Jacque Nowers (Ames, Iowa) (coxswain), Kat Moore, Susan Goullette, Sarah Travis and Maggie Benhart (St. Charles, Ill.) captured the women’s varsity heavyweight four division at the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia for the first gold medal ever won there by a Drake team.

HEAD COACH

Charlie DiSilvestro is in his 20th season at the helm of the Drake rowing program. DiSilvestro was named the 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, its first conference championship in school history. 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. 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 in Philadelphia, Pa.  The award is presented annually to a collegiate rowing coach that has had outstanding success and has also contributed to the regatta.

Saturday’s Lineups

Varsity 8+

Jacque Nowers (coxswain)

Jessica Nightser

Brittany Michael

Maggie Benhart

Katie Serbin

Alex Lueck

Brianna Leinon

Kelsey Leahy

Emily Householter

2nd Varsity 8+

Hannah Hennessy (coxswain)

Monica Worsley

Sarah Laughlin

Andrea Piekarczyk

Brittney Smith

Stephanie Boylan

Mallory Bonstrom

Kristina Vann

Justine Choe

Varsity 4+

Bri Varela (cox)

Bailey Berg

Megan Friel

Tristina Meister

Kelsey Pfeifer

Open 4+

Jacque Nowers (coxswain)

Jessica Nightser

Brittany Michael

Maggie Benhart

Katie Serbin

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