INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 2 Nova Southeastern University rowing team captured the program’s first NCAA Division II National Championship Sunday at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, winning both the varsity-8 and varsity-4 grand finals.
“This is been a product of the beliefs this team had in themselves all year,” said head coach Stephen Frazier-Wong. “They said this was their goal from the beginning. They had some challenges earlier this year but they worked hard to get here. This is a testament to the hard work of the student-athletes and assistant coaches Rachel Sanders and Samantha Sarff, who went above and beyond this season. I also want to thank the athletic department and the rest of the university, who’s support was tremendous in my first season here.”
This is the sixth national championship for NSU athletics, all of which have come in a five-year span. For the rowing program, it’s not only the Sharks’ first NCAA DII National Championship, but the first for any school in the Sunshine State Conference and the South Region. NSU’s region dominated the championship, as No. 1 Barry claimed second in both the four and eight boat finals.
“This was a culmination of all the hard work put in since the start of the program in 2003,” said NSU Director of Athletics Michael Mominey. “Women’s crew is the consummate team sport, and this was the consummate team to reach this goal. I congratulate the administration, coaches and most importantly the student-athletes. They worked hard to get to this moment, in in the moment they became champions.”
The Sharks entered the weekend ranked second in the national rankings, as Barry was the early favorite to win it all. During the regular season, the Sharks could only get within two seconds of Barry’s varsity-8 crew, who won the Sunshine State Conference Championship. However, the Sharks persevered and defeated Barry for the first time this season in the varsity-8 on the sport’s grandest stage, a testament to 10 months of hard work.
“This championship was also for former coaches John Gartin and Mary Lenington,” said Frazier-Wong. “Without their hard work in previous seasons we would have never made it to this level.”
The varsity-8 boat won their race in a time of 6:42.75, defeating Barry by just over five seconds. The race was closer than the time implies, as the Sharks and Bucs traded the lead multiple times through the first three quarters of the race. However, the Sharks pulled ahead down the stretch and built a boat-length lead before crossing the finish line. Western Washington and California-San Diego were both 12 seconds behind NSU and never threatened the top two teams.
The eight boat was comprised of: coxswain Amanda Hudon (Fr., Sebastian, Fla.), Lauren Boudreau (Sr., Waterford, N.Y.), Tori Torrisi (Fr., Saratoga, N.Y.), Stephanie Hauck (Jr., Somers Point, N.J.), Amanda Craig (So., Berlin, N.J.), Taylor Van Horn (Jr., Cape Coral, Fla.), Kelly Scott (So., Hobe Sound, Fla.), Sarah Patterson (Sr., Winter Park, Fla.) and Camille Evans (So., Orlando, Fla.).
For the second time in program history, the NSU varsity-4 won the grand final at the NCAA DII National Championship. The boat set the tone for the rest of the day, winning with a time of 7:43.85. The Sharks beat Barry’s four for the second time this weekend, this time by just over seven seconds. Western Washington, a former dynasty in DII rowing, was defeated by the Sharks by 10 seconds. The win gave NSU eight points before the varsity-8 race and made the Sharks’ championship a possibility.
The four boat was made up of: coxswain Courtney Berger (Jr., Sarasota, Fla.), Megan O’Donnell (So., Lake Worth, Fla.), Caitlin Mooney (Jr., Centerville, Mass.), Emily Harrington (Jr., Virginia Beach, Fla.) and Amber Morrell (Sr., Brigantine, N.J.).
Of the 14 total athletes who competed on Sunday, only three are seniors. With 11 rowers returning with championship experience, NSU is in prime position for title runs for years to come.
About Nova Southeastern University: Situated on 300 beautiful acres in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic fully accredited research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at all levels. NSU is a not-for-profit independent institution with more than 28,000 students. NSU awards associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, doctoral and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. NSU is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and it’s one of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification. www.nova.edu
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