March 27, 2010

2010 Season Preview: Outstanding Senior Class Hopes To Finish Careers In Style

Bulldogs Open Season Saturday Against Penn & Columbia In Philadelphia

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Yale women’s crew coach Will Porter still remembers his first meeting on campus with this year’s senior class in the fall of 2006.

“They had all grown a lot since the last time I had seen them,” Porter said.

During their time at Yale, the Class of 2010 has helped the Yale women’s crew program grow into one of the most dominant in the nation. The Bulldogs have finished in the top four at the NCAA Championship in each of the last three years and will start the 2010 season ranked No. 1 in the nation. Yale’s first race is Saturday against Penn and Columbia on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The teams will be racing for the Connell Cup.

Porter’s coaching philosophy remains the same every year.

“Our goal is to go as fast as we can,” he said. “We have a talented group of athletes and if we perform to our abilities, we will generate some good boat speed. Where that takes us? Who knows, but the goal is to go get it.”

Five seniors – Maren McCrea, Tess Gerrand, Alice Henly, Taylor Ritzel and coxswain Mia Kanak – are expected to begin the season in the varsity boat. Three of them – Gerrand, Henly and Ritzel – have been part of the varsity since the day they arrived at Yale. The three won NCAA championships in their first two years before finishing fourth last spring.

Six other seniors will be counted on to contribute during the course of the season as well. Catherine Hart and Allix Wilde will start out in the second varsity. Wilde helped the 2V win the NCAA Championship last year, while Hart spent much of the year with the varsity before suffering an injury. Mary Pat Wixted and Laura Gottesdiener are in four boats, while Ryan McCarthy will sit in the No. 1 seat of the third varsity eight. Katherine Adams is out with an injury.

“This group of seniors has already been the most successful class in the history of Yale women’s crew. That is not the question,” Porter said. “The question is how do they want to finish their careers at Yale?”

In order to help make it a memorable finish, Porter has put together a very challenging schedule.  The Bulldogs will race six teams currently ranked in the top-20, including No. 3 Virginia, No. 5 Brown, No. 7 Michigan State and No. 8 Princeton.

“This year’s schedule is the toughest we have had in a few years,” Porter said. “The idea is to test ourselves and to see how good we can be. Ultimately, we want to perform at a high level in the end of May.”

Connell Cup Race Schedule

9:50 a.m. -  2V 8+

10:10 - 4B+

10:30 - 4A+

10:50 - 3V 8+

11:20 - 1V

Yale Boatings vs. Penn/Columbia

Varsity Eight

1- Natalie King

2- Caroline Nash

3- Maren Mccrea

4- Armine Afeyan

5- Tess Gerrand

6- Alice Henly

7- Dara Dickson

8- Taylor Ritzel

c- Mia Kanak

Third Varsity Eight

1– Ryan Mccarthy

2- Brittany Bowman

3- Lauren Ross

4- Emily Tormey

5- Julia Jolliffe

6- Melissa Weigel

7- Georgia Separovich

8- Mary Barrose Antle

C- Margaret Ayers

Second Varsity Eight

1- Kathryn D'Andrea

2- Mary Jo Toothman

3- Julia Jolliffe

4- Kathleen O’Keefe

5- Catherine McDermott

6- Catherine Hart

7- Allix Wilde

8- Eliza Hastings

C- Sarah Brownlee

Varsity Four

1- Nikki Grigg

2- Alexandra Fields

3- Elizabeth McDermott

4- Mary Pat Wixted

C- Erica Segall

Second Varsity Four

1- Lily Blair

2- Laura Gottesdiener

3- Katherine Dyke

4- Amanda Grady

C- Yassmin Parsaei

Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity