Sarasota, FL --- The WPI Women's rowing team made its first appearance at the NCAA Division III Championships since 2019 a successful one Friday, with both the varsity eight and the second varsity eight qualifying for their respective grand finals on Saturday. The two-day Division III regatta is being held in conjunction with the Division I and II Championships at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, FL.
Before the racing, senior Ashley Schuliger (Lewis Center, OH) was named the NCAA Division III Women's Rowing Championship's Elite 90 Award winner. The honor is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the championship site for each of the NCAA's 90 championships. It marks the fourth overall Elite 90 in school history for WPI and the second in as many days as Lindsay Ambrosino (Chelmsford, MA) garnered the award on Thursday at the Softball Championship Finals.
The varsity eight won its four-boat heat Friday morning and advanced directly to Saturday's grand final. Seeded fourth overall and second in its heat behind No. 1 Ithaca, the Engineers found themselves trailing the Bombers by 2 1/2 seconds at the midway point of the 2000-meter race. The Crimson and Gray went to work, trimming two seconds off in the next 500 meters before nipping Ithaca by 0.055 seconds (6:41.567 to 6:41.622) at the final buoy.
Defending champion and No. 2 Bates edged No. 3 Wellesley in the second heat (6:40.082 to 6:40.810) and joined WPI and Ithaca in the grand final. Later Friday in the repechage, Tufts and Williams defeated Pacific Lutheran (WA) and St. Mary's (MD) to also move onto Saturday's grand final at 11:36am on Saturday.
The second varsity eight went the repechage route to reach its Saturday grand final. WPI rowed well in the morning, posting a time of 7:00.093, to place third and move to the afternoon repechage with the best seed time.
In its second race, the Engineers reached the finish line in a time of 7:11.976 to place second in the four-boat match-up and advance to Saturday's grand final at 10:48am. The field will be the same as the varsity eight, featuring, Wellesley, Bates, Ithaca, Williams, WPI and Tufts.
Logan Rinaldi (Rumford, RI) - coxswain
Melissa Bazakas-Chamberlain (Arlington, MA)
Alexandra Heline (Hebron, CT)
Megan Tupaj (Amherst, NH)
Caitlin Kean (Shrewsbury, MA)
Maren Cork (Seattle, WA)
Lilly Earley (Candia, NH)
Emily Adams (East Greenwich, RI)
Ashley Schuliger (Lewis Center, OH)
Second Varsity Eight
Emily Howard (Riverside, RI) - coxswain
Eliza Smith (Beacon Falls, CT)
Lexi Baker (Needham, MA)
Alexa Freglette (Staten Island, NY)
Maggie Kirwan (Wolfeboro, NH)
Liz McGinn (Lincoln, RI)
Alana Guilbault (Bernardston, MA)
Jules Prisco (Pelham, NY)
Madison Gass (Barrington, NH)