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Drake Travels To Kansas Invitational

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: March 27, 2014
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The Drake University rowing team travels to Kansas City, Kan. for the 2014 Kansas Invitational on Wyandotte County Lake this Saturday, March 29. Drake will race Southern Methodist at 10 a.m.

In the morning the teams will compete in two varsity eight races and one varsity four race on a 2,000 meter course.


The Bulldogs closed their spring break training in Florida last week with several head-to-head races with Jacksonville University and Stetson University on a 2,000 meter course on Lake Beresford in DeLand, Fla.

“It was a good week down in Florida for us,” said head coach Charlie DiSilvestro. “You never complain about getting water time after a long winter. The racing was good. We made a couple of adjustments after the first eight race and improved in the second race. I was happy to see that.”


Drake is in a busy stretch of its spring slate as it competes every weekend going forward. The Bulldogs have their sights on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday, April 26 on Lake Mercer in Princeton, N.J. Drake looks to capture its second conference title in program history.


18 returnees from last season’s squad along with six novice student-athletes comprise Drake’s roster this spring. The breakdown is six seniors, four juniors, eight sophomores and six freshman.


This year the Bulldogs have student-athletes from 10 different states and one foreign country as California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin are represented. Freshman Kristin Donat hails from Germany.


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 last 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.

MORNING SESSION: 10 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
            10:00 a.m.                   Varsity Four                             SMU / Drake
            10:15 a.m.                   Novice Four                            KU / SMU
            10:30 a.m.                   First Varsity Eight                  SMU / Drake
            10:45 a.m.                   Second Varsity Eight              Drake / SMU
            11:00 a.m.                   Fourth Varsity Eight               KU / KSU
            11:15 a.m.                   Third Varsity Eight                 KSU / KU
            11:30 a.m.                   Second Varsity Four               KU / KSU
            11:45 a.m.                   First Varsity Four                    KSU / KU
            12:00 p.m.                   Second Varsity Eight              KU / KSU
            12:15 p.m.                   First Varsity Eight                  KSU / KU 

AFTERNOON SESSION: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
First-place boats in each race from the morning session will face each other in the afternoon session. The second-place finishers from the morning session will compete against one another as well.
            2:00 p.m.                     Novice Four                        SMU
            2:12 p.m.                     First/Second Varsity Four    Drake / KSU / KU
            2:24 p.m.                     First/Second Varsity Four    SMU / KU / KSU
            2:36 p.m.                     Third/Fourth Varsity Eight    KU / KU / KSU / KSU
            2:48 p.m.                     Second Varsity Eight          SMU / AM Session Winner
            3:00 p.m.                     Second Varsity Eight          Drake / AM Session Winner
            3:12 p.m.                     First Varsity Eight               SMU / AM Session Winner
            3:26 p.m.                     First Varsity Eight               Drake / AM Session Winner

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