DURHAM, N.C. - The No. 18 Duke rowing team opens its spring season Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., at the UVA Scrimmage, starting at 12 noon.
The Blue Devils earned multiple top-five finishes during their fall campaign. In its first race of the fall season, the club 4 boat captured fifth place with a time of 19:05.855 at the Head of the Charles. At the Princeton Chase, the varsity 4+ boast secured a fourth-place finish (17:16.010). At the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn., Duke earned its first first place finish of the season with one of its novice 4+ boats clocking a time of 17:03.269, securing the top spot over a field of 26 boats. The Blue Devils’ novice 4+ B boat was not far behind, as it finished in fourth (17:40.733). In the final race of the fall season, the varsity 8+ boat placed fourth (14:02.0) at the Rivanna Romp.
“I’m really excited to see our girl’s line-up with an outside team,” said head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno on the upcoming scrimmage against Virginia. “They’ve really been pushing themselves in practices and I’ve been so impressed with the depth we’ve been showing at every level on the team. The varsity 8’s, varsity fours and 3V8+’s go toe to toe every morning. There are so many combinations of fast boats. I can tell we have a talented, deep squad and I couldn’t ask for a better situation for early spring.”
Cooke Carcagno named four captains, one representing each class, prior to the spring season. Freshman Amelia Shunk, sophomore Maya Blake, junior Olivia Mendonca and senior Isabel Ruby-Hill round out the four captains.
“What excites me most about this upcoming season is the opportunity and privilege we have to show all of the hard work we have been putting in so far this season,” said Shunk. “I have so much faith in our team and I am just excited to see what we can do!” Shunk is one of 18 freshmen on roster for the spring season.
Blake, a native of Exeter, N.H., headlines 14 returning sophomores. “Having a captain from each class is important because it makes everyone feel like their voices are heard,” said Blake. “You have people who come every sort of background in regard to performance and also with age.”
After the UVA Scrimmage, Duke heads to Clemson, S.C., to partake in the Carolina Cup on Saturday, March 9. The Blue Devils then compete in the Cooper Sprints in Camden, N.J., on Sunday, March 24, then travel back to Charlottesville, Va., for the Big-Ten ACC Dual on Saturday, April 6. Over April 19-20, Duke competes in the Clemson Invite in Clemson, S.C., before co-hosting the Lake Wheeler Invitational with UNC on April 26-27 in Raleigh, N.C.
Mendonca, a native of Christchurch, New Zealand, believes Duke rowing is ready for every challenge it faces this season. “The next few weeks really give us an opportunity to show other teams our speed, our tenacity, and our passion,” said Mendonca. “I don’t think Duke rowing has ever been more prepared heading into a spring season. I am very excited to see what we achieve.”
“Being named a captain is very special and it is a privilege to be able to represent the team in this way,” said Ruby-Hill, who earned CRCA Division I All-Conference honors a season ago and is a two-time ACC Academic Honor Roll selection. “We’ve worked really hard all year and I’m excited for my teammates to see our hard work pay off.”
Duke concludes the season at the ACC Championships in Clemson, S.C., on May 17-18. A season ago at the ACC Championships, the 1V4 (second), 2V4 (third) and 3V8 (third) boats all finished in the top three as the Blue Devils finished third overall.