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May 27, 2008

Going to California: Women's crew heads for NCAA Championships

The 2008 Bates Women's Rowing Team
Front Row, L to R: Rachel Tofel, Nora Collins and Kara Constantine.
Middle Row: Becca Waldo, Brianna Belanger, Davina Dukuly, Ellen Patterson, Alison Frye, Kirsten Laaspere, Molly Newton, Caitlin Murphy.
Back Row: Head Coach Andrew Carter, Emily Chandler, Nicole Ritchie, Elizabeth Martin, Laura Hubbell, Emma White, Annie Connell, Emily Howieson, Assistant Coach Peter Steenstra.
Missing: Tracy Glazier, Lindsay Swan, Danica Doroski.

Go to www.natoma08.com
for live video and results

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College women's rowing team enjoyed unprecedented success a year ago, traveling to the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships for the first time and finishing third in Division III. But with only three members of last year's first varsity eight remaining on the 2007-08 roster, and only four more from the second boat, making a return trip to NCAAs may have seemed a distant possibility at best.

That's what has made this year such a pleasant surprise for head coach Andrew Carter, who was on sabbatical during last year's historic run.

"The women's team has had a fantastic year this year," said Carter. "At the outset, some looked at it as one of those 'rebuilding years,' after a 2006-07 campaign that boasted one of the best rosters in program history. However, the 2007-08 squad never really bought into the notion of rebuilding. A very young group (only two seniors) looked to pick up the ball and they have done so in fine form."

This year's NCAAs, hosted by the University of California at Berkeley, will pit seven teams in Division III (Williams, Puget Sound, Trinity (Conn.), Ithaca, Bates, St. Lawrence and William Smith), plus two at-large eights (Coast Guard and Washington (Md.)), in races at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. The races will begin with preliminary heats on Friday morning, and culminate with finals on Saturday afternoon.

Links to live video and results for the races will be available at www.natoma08.com beginning tomorrow. Please check there for releases and heat sheets from each day’s racing.

Bates is powered in part by junior Nicole Ritchie (East Dummerston, Vt.), a two-time First Team All-America rower. Also rowing for Bates' first eight are first-year Rebecca Waldo '11 (Dracut, Mass.), Alison Frye '10 (Duxbury, Mass.), Ellen Patterson '11 (St. Louis Park, Minn.), Emma White '11 (Bainbridge Island, Wash.), Caitlin Murphy '09 (Duxbury, Mass.), Laura Hubbell '09 (Yarmouth, Maine), Emily Chandler '09 (North Yarmouth, Maine) and coxswain Nora Collins '11 (Kensington, Md.). Chandler replaces the injured Liz Martin '10 (Williamstown, Mass.) on the first boat.

Bates' second varsity boat lines up as: Kara Constantine '08 (Beverly, Mass.), Brianna Belanger '09 (Millbridge, Maine), Emily Howieson '08 (Holliston, Mass.), Molly Newton '11 (Easthampton, Mass.), Danica Doroski '10 (Wayne, Pa.), Kirsten Laaspere '11 (Londonderry, N.H.), Lindsay Swan '11 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Annie Connell '11 (Newburyport, Mass.) and coxswain Rachel Tofel '10 (Bronx, N.Y.). Davina Dukuly '11 (Lowell, Mass.) and Tracy Glazier '11 (Fairfield, Conn.) will also travel as spares.

Carter has done a great deal of lineup shuffling to account for injuries, but he is unfazed. "Injuries will certainly be felt, but others have been filling the void with incredible intensity and purpose," he said. "Everyone is excited to bring their game to Lake Natoma to see how it shakes out.  There is a great deal of respect for the field, as each of these programs (UPS excepted -- we've yet to race them) has provided incredibly stiff competition. We have no illusions about what a medal performance will take but all are prepared to take up the challenge."

Bates College

2 Andrews Road

Lewiston, ME 04240

Phone: 1-207-786-6255

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