Shorewomen clutch NCAA bids at MARCs championships

By Maegan White

Elm Staff Writer

On Sunday April 30, the men’s and women’s rowing teams traveled to the Occoquan Reservoir to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) championships. The women narrowly beat Stockton to secure an NCAA National Championship bid and earn their ninth win of the conference since 2013.

The Shorewomen entered three boats in the competition. The first Varsity 8+ took second in their preliminary heat behind Stockton University by 7 seconds. This second place finish earned the women a spot in the grand final.

In the grand final, the Shorewomen faced St. Mary’s and Stockton who both entered the championship ranked above WC. The Shoremen finished seven second behind Stockton again but were able to beat St. Mary’s boat by two seconds securing a second place finish.

The second Varsity 8+ raced in the final only. They edged St. Mary’s by 1 second and won the gold medal for the category. Stockton University came in third.

Sophomore Faye Webb, who rowed third seat in the second Varsity 8+ said the boats continuous success has been due to their hard work and focus. “We never gave up on ourselves or our teammates,” she said. “We were so determined, and we fought for first place [with] every stroke. I am so incredibly proud of every single person in that boat and in this team.”

With a first and second place finish in their respective categories, the Shorewomen earned a total of 36 points beating Stockton who earned 35 points. The Shorewomen were named MARC Champions and secured a bid for the NCAA National Championship.

Last year, the Shorewomen were narrowly beat by .3 seconds by St. Mary’s. 2022 was the first time that the Shorewomen did not go to NCAA in nine years. Senior captain MacKenzie Westfield reflected on the experience of losing last year and returning this year victorious.

“Last year we really attacked the course but fell short by less than half a bow ball,” said Westfield. “This year we were able to face that same crew again and we threw down even harder and we came out with a win. I couldn’t be prouder to call these people my teammates and I have been blessed to get to row alongside them for the past four years. The amount of hard work, dedication, and determination we pour into our three seasons shows and has paid off.”

The Shorewomen also entered a varsity 4+ boat, which could not score points for the championship. However, the team did finish in fourth beating, Stockton’s 4+.

Shorewomen head coach Kari Hughes told the WC Athletic department “I’m so incredibly proud of this team – they have worked hard this year and improved with each racing opportunity they had,” Hughes said. “Today was a team effort — every athlete contributed to win this championship.”

The Shoremen rowing team only entered one boat, which competed in the first varsity 8+ category. That boat placed fourth in their heat in the prelims earning a spot in the petite finals. The boat secured a victory in the petite finals. This finish will not secure a spot for the men to return to the IRA National Championships as they did last year.

The Shorewomen will spend the next four weeks training for the NCAA National Championships in Pennsauken, New Jersey, where they will face seven more of the top ranking teams in the nation. The Championships will take place Saturday May 26 – Sunday May 27. 

Photo courtesy of WC Athletics

Photo Caption: The women’s rowing varsity 8+ after winning MARC’s and qualifying for the NCAA championship.

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