Without a single senior sitting in the varsity eight boat of the Bates women's rowing team this year, the crew's leadership role naturally fell to junior co-captain Gabriella Bilotta, who coxed Bates' WV8 to second place in the NCAA grand final for the second straight year on Saturday, June 1.
Three days prior to the start of Bates' seventh straight appearance at NCAAs, Bilotta (Washington, D.C.) joined sophomore Mallory Ward (Pittsford, N.Y.) as Pocock Division III First Team All-Americans, as announced by the College Rowing Coaches Association.
And it wasn't hard to see why when she guided Bates' WV8 to the silver medal for the fifth straight time in its grand final: two straight for Bilotta, who also coxed Bates' W2V8 in the 2011 NCAA Championship. In Saturday's grand final, Bates stood in second place over the entire second half of the race, as Williams steadily inched farther ahead in the course. The Bobcats finished the 2,000-meter course at Indianapolis's Eagle Creek Park in 7:22.874, 2.232 seconds behind the Ephs and 2.718 seconds ahead of third-place William Smith. Trinity (7:27.968), Washington (Md.) College (7:29.313) and Wellesley (7:40.614) trailed behind.
The outstanding grades she has earned made her a repeat awardee as both a CRCA National Scholar-Athlete and a NESCAC Spring All-Academic selection. Bilotta was also named First Team All-NESCAC and First Team All-ECAC earlier this season. Best of all for head coach Peter Steenstra and the program, Bilotta will potentially cox an entirely intact varsity eight next year for Bates.