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Rowing To Host Annual Duel Against Creighton

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: November 05, 2013
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DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake University rowing team closes the fall slate with its annual duel against the Creighton Bluejays this Saturday, Nov. 9. The action begins at 9:30 a.m. on the Des Moines River, between the Des Moines Botanical Center and Birdland Marina. The duel is in its 21st season.


The duel’s format consists of three varsity races and each one receives a certain amount of points. The team with the most points wins the annual trophy. Two exhibition novice races will take place as well on Saturday.


Varsity Four                  9:30 a.m.

2nd Varsity Eight          9:40 a.m.

1st Varsity Eight             9:50 a.m.

Novice Eight                 10:45 a.m.

Novice Four                  10:55 a.m.


Drake competed in the annual Head of the Iowa hosted by the University of Iowa on Sunday, Oct. 27. The Bulldogs’ varsity A boat placed sixth in their race, which was the team’s top finish of the day.


The Bulldogs captured two of the three varsity races over the Bluejays to retain the trophy for the second consecutive year. Drake’s varsity eight boat edged Creighton’s in a tight race to seal the win.


17 returnees from last season’s squad along with 17 novice student-athletes comprise Drake’s 2013-14 roster. The class breakdown is five seniors, four juniors, eight sophomores and 17 freshmen.


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.


Drake rowing head coach Charlie 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 entering his 21st 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. 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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