Washington College’s women’s crew team is headed to the NCAA Division III Championships in Indianapolis after nailing the first-ever automatic qualifier in the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference’s history and winning its third MARC championship in five years. Coach Mike Davenport also earned MARC’s Women’s Coach of the Year honors.
The women won the qualifier by finishing first overall at the MARC Championships held in Lewisberry, Pa. WAC’s first varsity eight nudged out arch rival Marietta, who finished second, and Franklin & Marshall came in third. WAC’s second varsity eight in its final finished second to Marietta. The combined scores were enough to push WAC’s team to the top and land them an automatic trip to the NCAAs on the last weekend in May. It’s the first time the conference has held an automatic qualifier, and this will be Washington College’s first full-team effort at the NCAAs, meaning both eights will compete.
“I’ve never been more proud of this program. Everyone has worked so hard,” says Rachel Benders ’13, the team’s co-captain, who learned to row as a freshman. “It’s been a great season, just excellent.”
“I’ve been asking the women’s team all season if they were brave enough to win the conference,” says Davenport. “Could they be tough when asked to perform at a very high level, really pushing themselves, while being supportive of someone else who is trying to do the same, especially if they are struggling? All of them did rise to the challenge, especially in a week that saw one of their leading rowers battle through an injury.”
As for winning Women’s Coach of the Year, Davenport said the honor, “is an affirmation that I have amazing assistant coaches, great bosses, and a wonderfully supporting family.”
The women’s team first varsity eight crew is: Christie Phebus ’15, coxswain; Kelly Bird ’15, stroke; Rachel Benders ’13, seven seat; Kate Fiori ’13, six; Mickey Fili ’15, five; Taira Sullivan ’15, four; Valeria DiLisi ’14, three; Ashley Myles ’15, two; and Ellie Hilton ’14, bow.
The women’s team second varsity eight crew is: Abigail Thomas ’14, coxswain; Krystal Brostek ’15, stroke; Emily Sahadeo ’14, seven seat; Leslie Rothstein ’16, six; Lauren Halla ’13, five; Giavonella Knapp ’16, four; Kayla Noll ’16, three; Maggie Perry ’16, two; and Allie Everhart ’14, bow.
Washington College’s men’s crew team also won its third MARC championship in four years, and Coach John Leekley was named Men’s Coach of the Year for the fourth time in five years. Five of the men’s crew have been named to MARC’s Academic All-Conference Team. To see their story, click here.