CHESTERTOWN, MD -- The 2011 spring season was a mixed bag for the Washington College women's rowing team. The Shorewomen captured the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) Championship for the second time in three years, but it was conference rival Marietta who received the Mid-Atlantic region's lone bid to the NCAA Division III Championships as the Pioneers' first varsity eight was chosen for an "at-large eight" spot after finishing ahead of the Shorewomen's first varsity eight at the MARC Championships. This year, a young Shorewomen team with a total of just five seniors and juniors on the roster will look to begin a new chapter in the team's history.
Senior captain Kendall Mulligan (Southbury, CT/Westover School) is the Shorewomen's lone remaining rower who competed in that 2009 NCAA Championship regatta, having raced in the team's "at-large" varsity eight in that event. Mulligan has been a fixture in the Shorewomen's top eight ever since and earned All-MARC honors a year ago. Her fellow 2011-12 captains are senior coxswain Kelsie Jensen (Mays Landing, NJ/Oakcrest) and junior Rachel Benders (Cleveland Heights, OH/Beaumont School). Jensen has been ensconced as the team's lead coxswain since her sophomore year, while Benders rowed in the winning second varsity eight at last year's MARC Championships.
Mulligan and Jensen are joined by Jenna Moore (Catonsville, MD/Mount de Sales) as the team's seniors. Moore was a mainstay in the Shorewomen's first varsity eight a year ago. Benders and Kate Fiori (Boston, MA/Dana Hall School) are the team's lone juniors. Fiori spent her sophomore season in the Shorewomen's first varsity eight and also raced at the Head of the Charles in the Shorewomen's collegiate four this past fall.
Also racing in that collegiate four at the Head of the Charles in the fall was sophomore Valeria DiLisi (Moorestown, NJ/Moorestown), who earned All-MARC Novice honors last spring after rowing in the Shorewomen's first varsity eight as a freshman. Fellow sophomores coxswain Abigail Thomas (Hughesville, MD/Thomas Stone), Elizabeth Hilton (Severna Park, MD/Severna Park), Carly Ogren (Burke, VA/Lake Braddock), and Emily Sahadeo (College Park, MD/Elizabeth Seton) were all a part of the winning second varsity eight at last year's MARC Championships. Allie Everhart (New Market, MD/Linganore) and Kristina McCarthy (Phoenxville, PA/Conestoga), both first-year rowers, complete the sophomore class.
Five of the Shorewomen's nine freshmen have already made a big impact with impressive performances in the fall. Kelly Bird (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) and Ashley Myles (Chester Springs, PA/Owen J. Roberts) rowed in the varsity eight at the Occoquan Chase, with Bird also rowing with the varsity at the Head of the Charles. Bird and Myles joined coxswain Samantha Mason (Preston, CT/Norwich Free Academy), Taira Sullivan (Stevensville, MD/Kent Island), and Krystal Brostek (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) to comprise the winning novice four at the Occoquan Chase. Rachel Dilliplane (Yardley, PA/Pennsbury), Mickey Fili (Sparks, MD/Hereford), and Rocio Valdes (Washington, DC/Edmund Burke School) complete the freshman class.
Long-time head coach Dr. Mike Davenport returns for his 22nd season at the helm of the Shorewomen. Lauren McElhenny returns as an assistant, as does Caren Saunders. After 10 years as novice coach, Saunders has moved into a general assistant coaching role; Allison Murphy, the former varsity and novice women's coach at Space Coast Crew in Florida, is Washington's new novice coach.
The Shorewomen will open their spring racing season with a home regatta against traditional power Wellesley College March 24th. After a regatta against Philadelphia University and MARC rival Bryn Mawr April 7th, the Shorewomen will head to the Knecht Cup the second weekend in April. The Shorewomen will be racing some of the top crews in New England during the Worcester Invitational the third weekend in April before aiming to defend their crown at the MARC Championships April 28th.