Virginia Rowing Signs 13 for 2013-14

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM Head Coach Kevin Sauer
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Head Coach Kevin Sauer
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

Dec. 7, 2012

Become a Fan of Virginia Rowing on Facebook
Follow Virginia Rowing on Twitter 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Virginia rowing head coach Kevin Sauer announced Friday (Dec. 7) that 13 young women, including two World Junior Championship medalists, have signed national letters of intent to join the 2012 NCAA Champion Cavaliers in the fall of 2013.

The class includes Janey Brennan, Erin Briggs, Joanna Gurman, Jalena Hannink, Taylor Leonard, Dylan MacDonald, Lyndsay Martini, Allie Nicholson, Ellen Pate, Grace Plachy, Georgia Ratcliff, Eliza Spilsbury and Ali Zwicker.

“This is a fantastic class and we are really excited about what they can bring to our team as we strive to remain competitive on a national level,” Sauer said. “Kudos go to recruiting coordinator and assistant coach Brett Sickler, assistant coach Josh Gautreau and our present student-athletes as they allowed these young women to witness what UVa rowing is all about. They are all bright, hard-working and, most importantly, good people who will contribute in many ways in the years to come." 

Janey Brennan
6’1”
Grosse Pointe South, Mich. – Grosse Pointe South High School
Detroit Boat Club (George Sleator)

- 2012 U.S. Junior National Team selection camp member
- Third place in intermediate 2x at 2012 USRowing Club Nationals
- Sixth in 2- at 2012 USRowing Youth Nationals
- Winner in 2- at 2012 Midwest Junior Rowing Championship
- Eighth in 2- at 2011 USRowing Youth Nationals

“I chose UVa because it is one of the top-ranked schools academically in the country and the women’s rowing program is consistently outstanding,” Brennan said. “I felt a strong connection with the team and the coaches at UVa. I also liked the beautiful location, rich history and culture of the school.”

Erin Briggs
5’11”
Orono, Minn. – Orono High School
Long Lake Rowing Club (Todd Wilson) 

- 2012 NWIRA Junior Women’s Single champion
- 16th in Jr. Women’s double at Head of the Charles

“I chose UVa because I wanted to push myself and discover my full potential as a rower,” Briggs said. “I remember Coach Sauer saying ‘When we go to the starting line, we want to be dangerous.’ I liked the competitive level of the team and the coaches, along with the successful record." 

Joanna Gurman
5’9”
Weston, Conn. – Weston High School
Saugatuck Rowing Club (Chase Graham)

- Bronze medalist in 2x at 2012 USRowing Youth Nationals
- Silver medalist in 2x at 2012 Head of the Charles
- Selected to 2012 USRowing High Performance Team that competed in Germany
- Made ‘A’ final in lightweight 8+ and ‘B’ final in 2x at 2011 USRowing Youth Nationals

“I have been in love with UVa since my freshman year of high school,” Gurman said. “UVa gives me the ability to compete and train at a whole new level in both rowing and academics. The team’s determination to win an NCAA championship each year is inspiring and I know it will only push me to train harder. The team dynamic is very unique at UVa as there is an overwhelming sense of camaraderie both on and off the water.” 

Jalena Hannink
5’10”
Winter Park, Fla. – Winter Park High School
Winter Park (Michael Vertullo)

- 2012 Florida State Champion in 2V8
- Bronze medalist in V8 at Florida State Championships
- Fourth place in 2V8 at 2010 SRAA Nationals

“I chose UVa because of the calming environment where I can focus and the challenging atmosphere both academically and athletically,” Hannink said. 

Taylor Leonard
5’9”
Arlington, Va. – Washington Lee High School (George Kirschbaum)
Potomac Boat Club (Kathleen McNamee)

- Fifth place in Junior Women’s 1500 at 2012 Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints
- Competed at USRowing Club Nationals in junior double and junior quad
- Named team captain for Washington Lee for 2012-13 team

“Virginia is a great combination of academics and competitive rowing where I will be able to grow as a student and as a rower,” Leonard said. 

Dylan MacDonald
5’2”
Lincoln, Mass. – Phillips Academy
Phillips Academy (Peter Washburn)

- Coxed Phillips Academy boys’ V8 to 2011 and 2012 New England Interscholastic Rowing Association championships
- Coxed Phillips’ V8 to silver at 2011 USRowing Youth Nationals

“I chose UVa because I want to win,” MacDonald said. “I want to be part of a talented, successful and competitive group, while still having an extremely close-knit team dynamic.” 

Lyndsay Martini
5’10”
Falls Church, Va. – Bishop Ireton High School
Thompson Boat Center (Greg King)

- Gold medalist in Junior A Women’s 4+ in USRowing Club Nationals
- Holds Bishop Ireton record for 2K and 20-minute pieces

“I chose to come to UVa because everyone on the team was very friendly and supportive of each other, but at the same time, they were pushing each other to get better,” Martini said. “I really liked the coaches and their coaching styles and I loved Grounds and basically everything about the school in general.” 

Allie Nicholson
5’10”
Charlottesville, Va. – St. Anne’s-Belfield School

- A 2012 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) All-State First Team volleyball player at STAB
- Two-time member of the All-League of Independent Schools (LIS) team

“Growing up in Charlottesville has made me fall in love with everything that is UVa,” Nicholson said. “I can’t imagine myself anywhere else! I love the size, the school spirit and the challenging academics.” 

Ellen Pate
5’11”
Lafayette, Calif. - Miramonte High School
Oakland Strokes (Derek Byrnes)

- Gold medalist in women’s Under-19 8+ at 2012 Canadian Henley
- Gold medalist in 8+ at USRowing Youth Nationals
- Second place in youth women’s eights at 2012 Head of the Charles

“I chose the University of Virginia for the incredible rowing program and academic opportunities,” Pate said. “I have been a UVa fan my entire life.” 

Grace Plachy
5’10”
Amagansett, N.Y. – St. Paul’s School
St. Paul’s School Crew (Michael Spencer) 

- First at 2012 New England Interscholastic Rowing Association Championships
- Helped St. Paul’s earn second at 2012 USRowing Youth Nationals

“I have chosen UVa because I know I will get the best of both worlds – great academics and great rowing,” Plachy said. “I loved it when I visited and could really see myself as a part of the team. UVa has an amazing rowing program and I cannot wait to become a part of it.” 

Georgia Ratcliff
5’11”
Falls Church, Va. – James Madison High School
James Madison High School Crew (Paul Albright)

- Silver medalist in 4- at 2012 World Junior Championships
- Bronze medalist in 8+ at 2011 World Junior Championships
- Second place in 8+ at 2011 USRowing Youth Nationals
- Gold medalist in 8+ at 2010 CanAmMex Regatta
- Two-time Virginia state champion in 8+

“On land, the team was the funniest, goofiest team, but on the water, every stroke said they were National Champions and they were going for it. I loved it,” Ratcliff said. “On Grounds, I felt at home and the student body was so driven and focused. I knew I could reach more than just my rowing goals, but also my academic goals.” 

Eliza Spilsbury
6’3”
Kent, Conn. – The Kent School
Kent School Boat Club (Garrison Smith)

- Member of 2010-12 US Rowing Junior National Teams
- Silver medalist in 8+ at the 2012 World Junior Championships
- Third place at 2012 at New England Interscholastic Rowing Association Championships

“I knew I wanted to go to UVa at the end of my sophomore year,” Spilsbury said. “All I heard about the school was how beautiful it was, how amazingly nice everyone is and how great of a coach Kevin Sauer is. I could not ignore the fact that UVa always came up in conversation when discussing colleges. On my official visit, I felt so welcomed by the team and knew that this type of team, a family, was where I wanted to go.” 

Ali Zwicker
6’1”
Victoria, British Columbia – Claremont Secondary School
Victoria City Rowing Club (Albert Van Schothorst) 

- Selected to Team BC at 2012 Canadian National Rowing Championships
- Winner of 8+ and 4- at 2012 CanAmMex Regatta for Canada
- First place in Junior A Women’s 2- at 2012 British Columbia Championships
- Third place in Under-23 Women’s 2- at 2012 British Columbia Championships

“With UVa rowing being the best in the United States, it was a dream to become part of this team,” Zwicker said. “After my official visit in September, I knew this was the school for me. The great coaching staff, the supportive team atmosphere and high academic standards were the perfect fit to meet my athletic and academic goals.”