Thursday, March 26, 2015

NCAA Division I Rowing Preview: The RowingRelated Preseason Top 20

Pac-12s 2014 (Photo: B. Kitch)
Spring racing season is upon us. Yes, the ice is melting (finally), and crews are back on the water in gearing up for another great year. Before we kick things off in earnest at Crew Classic, however, we'd be remiss if we didn't share our thoughts on just how this year's NCAA Rowing field stacks up. Here are the first official RowingRelated NCAA Rankings for 2015.

1. Brown University
Last year's NCAA runner up is our pick to win it all in 2015. They return all but one athlete from their varsity eight and will be led by senior Coco Schoeller, juniors Sasha Tilles, Muriel Solberg and Logan Harris (former junior national teamer) and sophomores Alia Shafi (former junior and U23 national team athlete) and Monika Sobieszek, who stroked the Polish BW8+ in 2014. The Bears also boast and impressive freshman class that includes two-time junior worlds silver medalist Cicely Madden, and junior national team vets Julia Burgess, Mary Campbell and Camille Kisseberth (JNT spare).

2. Ohio State University
The two-time defending national champions will be working to repeat and make it a three-peat in 2015. Coach Andy Teitelbaum has said the team fitness is ahead of what it was in 2014 despite losing major talents Claire-Louise Bode (South African junior and U23 national team), Elodia Ravera-Scaramozzino (French Junior and U23 national team), and French Junior and U23 world medalist Daphne Socha. Despite these important losses, they have reloaded by adding some serious weapons in Australian junior international Sarah Davis, South African junior international Kimerleigh Warinner, Spanish junior and U23 national team athlete Laura Esmel, and Australian Rachel Engel to this year's squad. They will be led by veterans Catherine Shields from New Zealand (junior world medalist), American junior and U23 athlete Ashley Bauer, South African JNT rower Holly Norton, and Australian Stephanie Williams.

3. University of Virginia 
The Cavaliers lost some serious talent and horsepower from the 2014 varsity eight, but will be led in 2015 by former American junior internationals Georgia Ratcliff, Hemingway Benton, Mackenzi Sherman, Eliza Spilsbury, Chandler Lally, Jo Gurman, freshman Shawna Sims and American U23 world champion Lizzy Youngling. (As you can see, despite graduating a number of strong athletes, UVa is not short on talent.) And, as usual, they have a lot of depth along with some top-end speed that may just land them a spot on the podium in late May.

4. California
In his first year at the helm, new coach Al Acosta will look to show he can maintain the tradition of success established under former coach Dave O'Neill (now at Texas). The Golden Bears will be led by 2014 Under 23 world champion Kendall Chase, Norwegian junior internationals Ingvild Roenningen and Inger Kavlie, German junior and U23 national team athletes Dorothee Beckendorff and Charlotte Siering, Australian Jacinta Edmunds, and Americans Maddie Wolf and Charlotte Passot. They also boast a large and impressive class of freshman that includes junior national team athletes Mia Croonquist from the U.S. and Caileigh Filmer from Canada.

5. Princeton University 
Head coach Lori Dauphiny's squads are always incredibly talented and show up in the spring fit and ready to go fast. We expect 2015 to be no exception. They will be led by seniors Faith Richardson (U.S. Junior national team) and Annaliese Ionson (Canadian junior national team), juniors Erin Reelick (U23 world champion) and Meghan Wheeler, and sophomores Galen Hughes and Australian U23 national teamer Georgie Howe. The Tigers have an impressive freshman class that features Melissa Curtis along with fellow frosh recruits Isabella Nappa, Allie Diamond, Riley MacAuley, Charlotte McMeekin and Erin Nurre who will be expected to have the juice to help Princeton challenge Brown this spring.

6. Stanford
7. Washington
8. USC
9. Michigan
10. UCLA
11. Yale
12. Indiana
13. Harvard
14. Washington State
15. Wisconsin
16. Syracuse
17. Notre Dame
18. Texas
19. Cornell
20. Minnesota

Let the games begin! We will update our rankings throughout the season. Check the new RR Rankings page to see current and historical rankings, updated as they become available. 

-RR

2 comments:

  1. Nice recap but when you pick Brown as your preseason #1 and mention that they return all but 1 athlete from last year's V8, you probably shouldn't leave out the Co-Captain (Whitney Naylor) from your list of returners!!

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  2. Caroline H.April 03, 2015

    Great pre-season write up, but in regards to Brown, co-captain Coco Schoeller is also a 2x U23 National Team competitor, winning gold in the V8 in 2013 in Linz, Austria, and stroking the quad in 2014 in Varese, Italy. Looking forward to watching all of these crews as the season unfolds!

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