DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke rowing team will look to extend its streak of three straight top-three finishes at the ACC Championship this Sunday on Lake Hartwell in Clemson, S.C.
The Blue Devils have faced a gauntlet of stiff competition this season, facing 10 top-20 teams in the spring. The challenging schedule – and several top finishes – vaulted the Blue Devils into the CRCA/US Rowing Top 20 this season, marking the first time since 2005 that the Blue Devils earned a national ranking.
Duke’s success lies in veteran leadership provided by 15 upperclassmen, including 10 seniors who will compete in their final ACC Championship this Saturday. Among that group are two-time All-ACC and All-South Region selection Emily Theys and Laura Sciarrino, two seniors who have been fixtures of Duke’s varsity eight since their freshman year. Those two, along with coxswain Caroline Kiritsy and rowers Claire Vannelli, Alex Stonehill, Katie Dukovich, Tara Dalton, Grace Cassidy and Hannah Hewitt will power Duke’s varsity eight in the final race of the day.
In their last trip to Clemson this season, the Duke varsity eight turned in a season-best time of 6:25.1 which ranked as the fifth-fastest time in program history.
In the second varsity eight, seniors Sydney Johnson and Victoria Tsamis – who joined the program as novices their freshman year – will lead a crew that also includes coxswain Simone Pitre, Dana Lerro, Sophia Blair, Allison Beattie, Karolina Wadolowska, Rachel Wolsfelt and Kaila Perez. The Duke 2V8 also had a season-best outing in their last trip to Clemson, logging a 6:43.3 which was their fastest time this season and the best mark by a Duke 2V8 since 2004.
In the varsity four, senior Sarah Baker will cox a crew that includes fellow senior Katie Burke and Caroline Williams, Sophia Staal and Nicole Antoine. Baker coxed Duke’s second varsity four in the team’s first trip to Clemson this season on March 9 and led that boat to an 18-second win over the host Tigers that day.
Competition at the ACC Championship begins at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. The varsity four pushes off first, followed by the novice eight (9:20 a.m.), second varsity eight (9:40 a.m.) and the varsity eight (10 a.m.).