Drake Ready To Compete For 2014 MAAC Title
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The Drake University rowing team is ready to compete for the 2014 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title this Saturday, April 26 on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J.
“We are excited to head back to the conference championships,” Drake head coach Charlie DiSilvestro said. “We have had really solid practices, while making some adjustments that have started to take hold. We built some rest in for the girls to prepare for this weekend. I’m proud of how the team has come together and now we are ready and excited to get out on the water in New Jersey.”
This year Drake will compete against Iona College, Marist College, Robert Morris University, University of Jacksonville, Fairfield University, Canisius College and new league member Stetson for an automatic berth to the 2014 NCAA Championships. Drake rowing is an auxiliary member of the MAAC.
“The goal is to win and secure the automatic qualifier spot to the NCAAs,” said DiSilvestro, who helped lead the Bulldogs to their first conference championship in 2012. “It’s not going to be easy with how deep and talented our conference is. All eight teams are going to fight it out. Every year it seems like teams get faster and faster. Racing each other really brings out the best in each school.”
Twenty Drake rowers and three coxswains will compete in the varsity 8, second varsity 8 and varsity 4 boats to determine the conference champion.
On Friday, April 25, fans can watch the MAAC Awards Show highlighting achievements of rowing student-athletes at 6 p.m. The event is aired live on MAAC.TV in High Definition and available free of charge.
Fans can follow Saturday’s action on Twitter and use the hashtag #maacrowing when tweeting about this year's championships.
Drake Race Times & Lineups For Saturday
· (9:30 a.m.) Varsity 8 cox-Jacque Nowers, Jessica Nightser, Katie Serbin, Alex Lueck, Tristina Meister, Kelsey Leahy, Monica Worsley, Emily Householter, Gabby Brodek
· (9:50 a.m.) 2nd Varsity 8 cox- Bri Varela, Stephanie Boylan, Mallory Bonstrom, Sarah Larson, Bailey Berg, Justine Choe, Bri Leinon, Kerstin Donat, Brittany Michael
· (10:10 a.m.) Varsity 4 cox- Rachael Kiehne, Ashley Beall, Anna Gertsberger, Shellby Hill-Killerlain, London Kohen
The Drake University Rowing Varsity 4 boat was honored by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference as the MAAC Varsity 4+ Crew of the Week, the conference office announced April 9.
The varsity 4 boat of cox Jacque Nowers (Ames, Iowa), Jessica Nightser (Council Bluffs, Iowa), Katie Serbin (Hannibal, Mo.), Alex Lueck (West Allis, Wis.), Emily Householter (Wheaton, Ill.) recorded a time of 7:21.98, nearly seven seconds in front of second place and host Creighton, at the Upper Midwest Collegiate Sprints this past Sunday in Omaha, Neb. The boat also beat teams from Kansas State, Nebraska and St. Thomas.
The next week on April 16, the varsity 4 boat was honored again by the MAAC. With a slightly different lineup the varsity 4 boat of cox Jacque Nowers (Ames, Iowa), Emily Householter (Wheaton, Ill.), Kelsey Leahy (Madison, Wis.), Alex Lueck (West Allis, Wis.) and Katie Serbin (Hannibal, Mo.) won its race on the final day of the 2014 Lubbers Cup on Spring Lake in Spring Hill, Michigan. The boat edged Drake’s second varsity 4 boat, Illinois and Colorado State with a winning time of 7:32.4.
The Drake rowing squad competed at the Lubbers Cup in Spring Hill, Mich. The two-day event on April 12-13 was capped by a victory by the Drake varsity 4 A boat in its final race as it beat Drake’s varsity B boat, Colorado State and Illinois State.
18 returnees from last season’s squad along with five novice student-athletes comprise Drake’s roster this spring. The breakdown is six seniors, five juniors, eight sophomores and four freshman.
FROM ALL OVER
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 Kerstin Donat hails from Germany and went to high school in Taiwan.
Senior Mallory Bonstrom (Eau Claire, Wis.) along with juniors Maggie Benhart (St. Charles, Ill.) and Householter 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.
HEAD COACH CHARLIE DISILVESTRO
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.