CHESTERTOWN, Md. — The Washington College men's rowing team enters the spring racing season as the clear heavy favorite to capture its fifth consecutive Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) Championship. The Shoremen, after all, return 14 of the 18 rowers and coxswains to compete in one of their top two eights - both of which won their respective events - at last year's MARC Championships. Add to that a deep and talented class of newcomers, including two of whom already saw time in the Shoremen's top boat this past fall, and the Shoremen are poised for another banner year.
Headlining the Shoremen's list of returners from last year's first varsity eight are senior tri-captains Ryan Miranda (Farmington, Conn./Farmington), John Gould (Litchfield, Conn./The Gunnery), and Mark Boissonneault (Bowie, Md./DeMatha). Miranda is a three-time All-MARC selection, having earned All-MARC varsity honors each of the past two years and All-MARC novice recognition as a freshman, and holds the school's 2,000-, 4,000-, and 6,000-meter erg records. He has rowed in the team's first varsity eight at three consecutive MARC Championships as the Shoremen won each of those events. Gould has been the coxswain of each of those winning first varsity eights as well and represented the United States at the U23 World Championships in 2013. Boissonneault, the team's reigning MVP, has also competed in all three of those winning boats.
Juniors Zee Ali (Galloway, N.J./Absegami) and Teddy Connell (Chadds Ford, Pa./Unionville) and sophomores Chris Eggstein (Haddonfield, N.J./Haddonfield Memorial) and Joe Stockburger (Wilmington, Del./Salesianum) are also back from the Shoremen's top boat last spring. Ali was selected as an All-MARC varsity choice last spring after receiving All-MARC novice honors the year before. Stockburger was named All-MARC novice as a freshman.
The Shoremen welcome back seven of the nine student-athletes from the winning second varsity eight at the 2015 MARC Championships, including senior Ian Briggs (Huntsville, Ala./The Gow School [N.Y.]) and sophomore Samson Ramasamy (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown) - both of whom saw time in the first varsity eight this past fall. Also back from that boat are seniors T. Ian Flinn (Marlton, N.J./Bishop Eustace Prep), Nat Giblin (Cazenovia, N.Y./St. Johnsbury Academy [Vt.]), and Sean Haynie (Hampstead, Md./Calvert Hall), junior Alex Blue (Haddon Township, N.J./Haddon Township), and sophomore Jeffrey Wrobel (Henrico, Va./home school).
As if all of that returning talent was not enough, the Shoremen also bring back five of the nine student-athletes from the third varsity eight that competed at last year's ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championships - sophomore coxswain Kelly Valette (Springfield, Va./Lake Braddock), juniors Theo Aris (Redding, Conn./Joel Barlow) and Daniel Benton (Dover, Pa./Dover), and sophomores Tom Heffernan (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall) and Ethan LaLumia (Moorestown, N.J./Moorestown). Also back are senior Max Van Hoven (Reisterstown, Md./Calvert Hall), who rowed in the second varsity eight as a freshman and sophomore, and sophomore Brandon Toth (Catonsville, Md./Mount St. Joseph), who rowed in the novice four last spring and saw time in varsity boats this past fall.
Freshmen John Bruno (Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) and Matt Dimond (Grosse Point Farms, Mich./Grosse Point South) each rowed in the first varsity eight in multiple regattas this past fall, while classmates Nate Bonsib (Pittsford, N.Y./Pittsford Sutherland), Ethan Grugan (Bala Cynwyd, Pa./William Penn Charter), and Lee Potter (Kensington, Md./Bethesda-Chevy Chase) all competed in varsity-level boats in the fall. All told, the Shoremen boast 15 newcomers on this year's roster.
Head coach John Leekley is in his ninth year at the helm of the Shoremen and was named the MARC Men's Coach of the Year for the fifth time in seven years last spring. He is joined on staff by first-year assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Greg Piduch.
The Shoremen are scheduled to open their spring regatta schedule against St. Mary's at home on April 1st. The next day, they will travel to Philadelphia to race against La Salle. April 9th and 10th will see the Shoremen compete at the Knecht Cup in West Windsor, N.J. The next week, the Shoremen will be in Worcester, Mass., for a pair of regattas against some of the top teams in New England.
This year's MARC Championships are slated for April 30th in Lewisberry, Pa. The Shoremen are also scheduled to compete at the National Invitational Rowing Championships in Worcester, Mass., May 8th and will be making their first appearance at the IRA National Championships in many years June 3rd-5th in West Windsor.