Rowing Takes on Bucknell and UConn


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Villanova celebrated Senior Day against Bucknell and UConn.

Lauren Armstrong, Staff Writer

On Saturday, April 29th, Villanova’s women’s rowing team headed to the Susquehanna River to take on Bucknell and UConn in the final regular season competition of the year.

“I thought that we did a great job executing our plan,” head coach Carissa Adams said. “We were setting out to improve against UConn in the Varsity Eight and we were able to do that. The team overall had some last-minute illnesses so we made some last minute changes to the lineup, and they were very adaptable and did a great job.”

In a close running race, the ‘Cats Varsity Eight ended the season with a 10-second win over the Huskies. The team focused their energy into ensuring a win against the Huskies in order to help build momentum and motivation to take on Bucknell. 

The day started with a senior luncheon to celebrate the seniors’ last regular season race of their college careers. This year’s seniors are Erin Welch, Ellie Falk, Kelechi Onuigbo, Madeline McCarthy, Alexandra Petrozzi, Olivia Krause, Caroline Shea, Kara Dempsey, Sheila Joyce and Sofia Lopez, six of whom competed in the line-up of the Varsity Eight.

“All the seniors are very special to me, and we have gone through so much together… I have nothing but gratitude for all of them,” Adams said.  “All of the seniors shine equally and they all have contributed and have set a very strong foundation for our future. This was a terrific opportunity to revisit the growth we have experienced over the course of the year and to get pumped up for our races.”

The energy from the luncheon carried throughout the rest of the day, with the Varsity Eight coming in with a time of 5:57.97, beating UConn, which came in with a time of 6:07.87.

The Wildcats set a new team-best record of the season with this time, due to Cate Donnelly, Welch, Shea, Maggie Coyne, Krause, Joyce, Dempsey, Isabella Thorne and Falk’s performances.

The other three boats finished behind the Huskies in very close head-to-head races.

In the 2V8, Madison Girard, McCarthy, Jadyn Ramos, Julia Kreisl, Petrozzi, Frizzell, Jillian de Merlier, Anna Flynn and Sarah Robillard launched with a strong start before falling back into a close battle, crossing four seconds after the Huskies with a final time of 6:16.08.

The V4 team of Sabrina Pauli, Lopez, Rose Baker, Grace Quirk and Gianna Zajac turned in a 7:10.85 time, while the 2V4 of Cecelia Jenkins, Onuigbo, Addison Wittnebert, Jenna Nolan and Olivia Kachurak finished in 7:15.77.

All of the boats racing against the host Bison came in behind Bucknell, with the V8 narrowly edged out by two seconds despite a strong push in the sprint, ending in 6:03.73.

There was a closer contest with the 2V8 with Villanova closing the gap to finish 1.96 seconds behind Bucknell at 6:17.99.

The V4 turned in a 7:19.37 finish, but the 2V4 had to scratch due to illnesses with the rowers.

“I am proud of these athletes’ efforts today and how they attacked on the water even with the adversity they faced,” Adams said. “Their adaptability is admirable.”

The team is getting ready to compete in the CAA Championships in Saratoga Springs, NY, with the league regatta being scheduled for May 12th.

“This past weekend was a good confidence boost for this meet,” Adams said.  “We still have nine more practices before this regatta and I think we are trying to take advantage of every opportunity between now and then to sharpen up and gain some speed to do the best we can at CAA. We have three boats racing and we want to emphasize that we are racing as one Nova Nation.”