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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Duke Adds 15 to National Letters of Intent
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 05/27/2018
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DURHAM, N.C. – Duke rowing head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno has announced the signing of 15 student-athletes to join the program starting in the fall. The class of 2022 features athletes from successful rowing clubs around the world.

“I’m very excited to work with Duke’s next class of student-athletes,” Cooke Carcagno said. “Coach Chase [Graham], Kendall [Schmidt] and I worked very hard to select this incredible group. Each one brings unique racing experience and spirit to the team. United, they will push Duke to the top of the ACC. These women are serious about their results and top of their field in the classroom.”

“The key trait we searched for is the ability to be a great teammate along with the skill to get the bow ball in front every time,” Associate Head Coach Chase Graham said. “We believe having the right set of values and work ethic will dictate the success of our program both in and out of the boat.”

Here’s a closer look at the class of 2022:

Kat Kern

Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
High School: Greenwich Academy
Rowing Program: Connecticut Boat Club
Why Duke: “I chose Duke for many reasons. Firstly, when I visited, I
absolutely loved the academic environment. I knew I loved the coaches already, and the next steps for making it my number one, were to love the school itself, and the team. On my first visit I loved how the campus was organized, I loved the fact that the classes are pretty small, and I loved the athletic facilities.” 
Graham’s Quote: “Kat has a passion to compete and lead others. She has a contagious work ethic and a maturity about her that will help her serve as role model at Duke.” 
Career Highlights: Placed seventh at the 2017 Head of the Charles as a member of the V8+ and was named a team captain as a senior.

Melanie Holmes

Hometown: Scarsdale, N.Y.
High School:
Scarsdale High School
Rowing Program:
Row America Rye
Why Duke:
“I chose Duke because it has stellar academics and a great rowing team.” 
Graham’s Quote: “Melanie knows how to handle adversity and the work level it takes to be a champion. We look forward to taking her skills to the next level here at Duke.” 
Career Highlights:
Named to the US Rowing Junior National High Performance Team in 2017 and was a semi-finalist in the women’s 2x at the US Rowing Club National Championship.  

Grace Butero

Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas
High School:
The Woodlands High School
Rowing Program:
Parati Competitive Rowing
Why Duke: “The environment at Duke encourages students and faculty to collaborate and examine, research, and develop processes and solutions to address global issues. Whether I am competing in a multi-person boat on my rowing team or working on a group project in a class, I am invigorated by being a part of something greater. There is a certain exhilaration in the success of collaboration between multiple minds and bodies.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Grace possesses the drive and discipline to be a champion in all that she does. We cannot wait to coach Grace this fall.”
Career Highlight:
Garnered third at 2016 Club Nationals in the U17 Women’s 2x.

 

Kiki Densel

Hometown: Sudbury, Mass.
High School:
Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School
Rowing Program: Community Rowing, Inc.
Why Duke:
“I chose Duke because I want to be part of a student body that is talented, driven, and down-to-earth. When I visited campus, I admired the culture of both the rowing team and the entire school. Furthermore, I grew up watching the Blue Devils, and always wanted to be part of such a longstanding and awesome tradition.”
Graham’s Quote: “
Kiki is one of the most determined athletes we have ever met. Her will to succeed in and out of the boat will make her a great addition to DWR.”
Career Highlight:
Gold medalist as a member of the U19 Women’s 8+ at the 2017 Royal Canadian Henley.

Amelia Shunk

Hometown: Corte Madera, Calif.
High School:
Redwood High School
Rowing Program:
Marin Rowing Association
Why Duke:
“I chose Duke to not just be part of a legacy but to build a legacy. I am also inspired by how driven everyone at Duke is to succeed.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Amelia has the tools and values to help lead Duke to its best performances yet.  She comes from a strong program with years of success on and off the water.”
Career Highlights:
Named a team captain as a senior and placed second at the Head of the Charles with the 8+ and garnered silver at the San Diego Crew Classic.

Gabby Salvati

Hometown: Medford, N.J.
High School:
Bishop Eustace Preparatory School
Rowing Program: Bishop Eustace Crew
Why Duke:
“When I was 12 I visited North Carolina on a soccer trip.  My family drove through the Duke campus and I knew at that time that Duke was where I wanted to go. Ever since it has been the driving force for the setting of my goals both academically and athletically.  I knew my goals had to be set high because of the level of excellence upheld at Duke.  When I revisited the campus as a high school junior, I again fell in love with the Duke community.  Duke had all the available programs and opportunities that appealed to me and I knew would help me reach my goals beyond undergrad.  Meeting with the coaching staff and fellow rowers, I knew the culture would be a great fit for me. I knew Duke would challenge me academically and athletically while being a place I could feel at home.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Gabby’s passion to pursue what she wants told us there is something special about her. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to sharpening her skills this fall.”
Career Highlight:
Captured first at the Haddon Hammer for the New Jersey Indoor Rowing Championships.

Payton Fraser

Hometown: Orinda, Calif.
High School:
Campolindo High School
Rowing Program:
Oakland Strokes
Why Duke:
“To me, there is no better combination of academics and athletics than Duke. As soon as I visited campus, I knew it was the perfect place for me.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Payton has built the confidence and determination to outwork the competition. She helped lead Oakland Strokes back to the Youth National Championships for the first time in three years - she is going to accomplish great things at Duke.”
Career Highlight:
Member of the 4x that placed ninth overall at the 2017 US Youth National Championships.

Meera Chakrabarti

Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
High School:
Del Oro High School
Rowing Program:
Capital Crew
Why Duke:
“Duke gives me the freedom to explore my academic interests while also having an amazing legacy of athletics that I know will push me out of my comfort zone in a good way! I love the competitive yet supportive environment at Duke, as well as the school spirit.”
Graham’s Quote:
“We are so excited to have Meera join us at Duke in the fall. She has demonstrated that she can move all the boat classes and has a knack for getting her bow ball ahead of the competition.”
Career Highlights:
Placed first at the 2017 Youth National Championship in the women’s 4+ and captured bronze a the Southwest Youth Regional Championship.

Eden Schumer

Hometown: Westport, Conn.
High School:
Staples High School
Rowing Program:
Saugatuck Rowing Club
Why Duke:
“With its culture of energy, passion, inspiration, drive, and spirit, I chose Duke because I saw it as a place of opportunity and platform for personal growth. I wanted a school where I could be as much a student and passionate academic as I am a coxswain and passionate athlete. Duke’s program is exactly what I was looking for and more. The team Megan and Chase are building is competitive, ambitious and committed to success. The momentum from their program is palpable. One of the first things I noticed when I visited was the supportive team culture, where the girls push each other to reach their highest potential as individuals and as a team. There is an opportunity to make Duke history, and it’s an unbelievably exciting mission I knew I wanted to join from day one. As a school, Duke celebrates diversity which will help me reach across cultural, ethnic and other divides to pursue a degree in International Relations, becoming part of a community that is united and strengthened by its differences. The academics here are of the best in the world, and their global nature will enable me to collaborate with other dreamers and doers to be trailblazers and forces of change.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Eden is everything you could want in a coxswain and more. She comes from a long line of Blue Devils and I know she will leave a lasting mark with DWR.”
Career Highlights:
Coxswain for the women’s lightweight 4+ that placed fourth at the 2017 US Rowing Youth National Championship and third at the Northeast Regional Championship.

Kelsey Lackey

Hometown: Wyoming, Ohio
High School:
Wyoming High School
Rowing Program: Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club
Why Duke:
“I chose Duke because ever since I visited the campus, I have wanted to go there. The campus is beautiful and I love the state of North Carolina. When I watched a rowing practice, I was really hooked. Coach Cooke Carcagno’s coaching styles really remind me of how my current coach coaches and I really like that. I also chose Duke for the academics. I hope to one day be successful in life and I believe getting an amazing education at Duke will really help with that.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Kelsey has a natural talent to move the boat and lead others by her contagious attitude. We are lucky to have her join our rowing family at Duke.”
Career Highlight:
Helped the V8+ place second at the 2017 Youth Nationals.

Callie Turner

Hometown: Wanaka, Central Otago, New Zealand
High School:
Columba College
Rowing Program:
Columba College Rowing Club
Why Duke:
“I chose Duke for the incredible academic opportunities and the high-level rowing program. Everyone I met was so welcoming and made me feel so comfortable despite being far from home. The girls on the team are so amazingly driven that it is an honor to join them, and I can really see myself thriving there.”
Graham’s Quote: “Callie was a great fit for Duke from the beginning, she fits right in with the attitude and work ethic we are looking to help shape our program.”
Career Highlights:
In 2017, captured multiple medals with gold in the under-18 four at the South Island Championships, silver in the under-19 four at the New Zealand Club Nationals and bronze in the under-17 four and under-17 eight at the New Zealand Secondary School Nationals.

Mia Johnson

Hometown: Sydney, New Wales
High School:
Queenwood School
Rowing Program:
Sydney University Boat Club
Why Duke:
“I chose Duke because it combines a fantastic academic experience with amazing athletic opportunities … and a warm-ish climate! I really want to be Blue Devils’ quest for its first ACC rowing title!”
Graham’s Quote:
“Mia is an accomplished rower out of Australia. Her desire to go fast fits right in with who we are and where we aim to be.”
Career Highlights: Four-time Australian National Medalist, a nine-time NSW State Medalist, a two-time Queenwood Sculling Champion, was a member of the Queenwood 1st Varsity 8 (2015-17) and is a current NSW Schoolgirl Head of the River record holder and winner in 2016 and 2017.

Ella Harris

Hometown: London, England
High School:
Queen Anne’s School
Rowing Program:
Reading Rowing Club
Why Duke: “
I watched practice on my official and really wanted to be a part of it. The high level in academics and athletics also really appealed to me. I also loved the community of the team, the campus and the climate!”
Graham’s Quote:
“Ella is a raw talent with a big engine. She is going to be great at Duke.”
Career Highlights:
Elected as a head of Queen Anne’s Boat Club and was selected for the Great Britain World Class Start Program.

Stella Haley

Hometown: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
High School:
Saratoga Springs High School
Rowing Program:
Saratoga Rowing Association
Why Duke:
“I chose Duke because of the culture. I felt there was a great balance between the academics and athletics, which is very important to me. I also felt that at Duke there is a lot of support for whatever your passion was. I felt that no matter what you want to pursue your peers will respect it. I also loved the team! Just like the school, I felt the women were striving for excellence on and off the water, all why supporting each other.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Stella is a relentless competitor and knows what it takes to be successful. She also has a compassion for others that is unmatched and we think she will be a great leader in the locker room.”
Career Highlights:
Attended the US High Performance Camp twice, made the Can Am Mex team where she placed third in the double and the quad, back to back Scholastic National Champion and current course record holder in the women’s varsity 8 in 2017 and 2018.


Sydney Johnson

Hometown: Cambridge, Waikato, New Zealand
High School:
St. Peter’s Cambridge
Rowing Program: Cambridge Club
Why Duke: “
Duke was one of the first schools that I was in contact with when I was looking at US colleges. I feel like I bonded really well with both Coach Graham and Coach Cooke. I met Coach Graham when I was at my 2017 Junior World Championships in Lithuania and felt very comfortable. Both coaches have been very patient, reliable, flexible, understanding and honest towards me and my family. That sort of thing only comes from a special relationship, which I was super lucky to have with them instantly. The university itself is a top-class university that can provide me with an amazing education, and so many fantastic experiences and opportunities. I'm very passionate about studying psychology and Duke is a leading school in this area.”
Graham’s Quote:
“Sydney will out work anyone and will bring others along with her here at Duke. We look forward to coaching her to the next level.”
Career Highlights:
Secured a bronze medal in the women’s U20 double at the 2018 New Zealand Rowing National Club Championships and was selected for the 2017 New Zealand Junior Rowing Team as part of the Junior Women’s Double to participate at the Junior World Rowing Championships in Lithuania.

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