Rochester’s first varsity eight won the “A” division race at 75th Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia this spring, defeating Marietta College and Emory University, while the second varsity eight won the “B” division by three one-hundredths of a second over Haverford College.
The wins moved the Yellowjackets into the national rankings by the end of the season, finishing in a tie for 14th place in the final national poll conducted by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association and US Rowing.
“The women worked extremely hard this season, making steady progress each week as different parts of their race plan improved,” said coach John Gaskin, who along with assistant coach Nicole Felluca served as interim head coaches for the spring season. “This week everything came together to peak for this championship event.”
Gaskin, who has served as an assistant coach of the Rochester program since 2009, was named Rochester’s new director of rowing in June, succeeding William Greene. In addition to providing administrative oversight to men’s and women’s crews, Gaskin will serve as head coach of the women’s varsity team.
“John brings a wide range of experience to this position,” said George Vander-Zwaag, director of Athletics and Recreation. “First and foremost, his technical rowing knowledge is significant. Coupled with his successful coaching and business experience, he is uniquely qualified to lead our programs as director of rowing.”
The first varsity eight, which placed fifth in the state meet, consisted of Rhiannon Vaughn ’14, Monika Cepulis ’14, Serra Sevenler ’15, Emily Widra ’15, Allie Born ’15, Juliana Orlov ’15, Bella Clemente ’16, and Clare McMahon ’16. Julia Evans ’14 was coxswain.
The second varsity boat included Francesca Ossi ’13, Mary Willis ’15, Stacy Miller ’15, Kara Lambson ’15, Lindsay Willstatter ’16, Becky Chu ’16, Amanda Kierstead ’16, Katherine Peterson ’16, and coxswain Emma Pollock ’16.
Women’s rowing operated as a club sport for more than 20 years before competing as a varsity sport for the first time during the 2009–10 season. By moving to varsity status, the women’s team became eligible for the NCAA Division III rowing championships.
Dennis O’Donnell is director of athletic communications for the Department of Athletics and Recreation.