DURHAM, N.C. - Duke rowing head coach Robyn Horner announced on Thursday the signing of Brielle Batesko, Sophia Blair, Alex Enzor, Patricia Kolman, Kara Risser, Julie Rohde, and Karolina Wadolowska to join the Blue Devils for the 2011-12 season.
"This class will be really special to our program," said Horner. "They are all hard-working athletes who will add immediately to our program's speed, but even more so to fostering our culture of excellence. We were very selective in finding rowers that understand our high reaching goals and who want to be apart of the experience to take our program to new heights."
Batesko is a 6-0 senior from Point Pleasant, N.J., and is a multi-sport athlete. She was previously a Junior Olympic swimmer and played field hockey, basketball and lacrosse at Red Bank Catholic High School. Relatively new to the sport, she has shown great speed on the erg and will be a big contributor to advance her program this spring. This fall she won a bronze medal at the historic Bill Braxton Cup.
"The first day we met Brielle we knew she was a great candidate for our team," said assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Jim Lister. "She was enthusiastic and motivating and we can't wait to have her here on the team."
Blair is a 5-8 Radnor High School senior from Newton Square, Pa., who attended the US Rowing Development Camps in 2008 and 2009. She finished third in the Varsity Eights at the Stotesbury Cup and second at the Scholastic Nationals in 2010, where she currently serves as a team captain.
"Sophia is really good fit with our program," said Lister "It was quickly apparent to us that she is hard-working and will bring a great work ethic to the team."
A 5-6 senior from Darien, Conn., Enzor finished third in the Lightweight 8 at Youth Nationals in 2009 and then won in the Lightweight 4+ at Youth Nationals in 2010. She also finished fourth in the women's lightweight category at C.R.A.S.H B's in 2010.
"Alex is a really tough competitor," commented Lister. "She is part of one of the fastest programs in the country and is always proving herself to be competitive and significant contributor to her team's top boats."
Kolman is a 5-9 senior from Princeton, N.J. In the Hun School V4+, Kolman was undefeated in her dual meets against Peddie, Blair, and Lawrenceville and won the Mercer Lake Super Sprints. She finished the season second at Mid-Atlantic Sprints, eighth at Stotes, and seventh at SRAAs. This fall she grabbed third for Mercer Rowing at the Bill Braxton Cup.
"PJ [Patricia Kolman] has great energy as an athlete," said Lister. "She will be a program builder not only in her athleticism but also in her personality. She is a winner; it just shows when you meet her and get to know her."
Risser, a native of San Jose, Calif., was invited to 2008 US Jr. National Development Camp. The 5-11 senior was voted the Most Outstanding Freshman award and recently placed forth in US Rowing National Championships in the Varsity Eight.
"Kara has the complete package to be a successful teammate and rower," added Lister. "She has great character and integrity, which complements her amazing athleticism as a rower. She will be a fantastic compliment to our team."
Rohde is a 5-10 senior at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Purchase, N.J. Rohde placed second in the final of the 1x at the Independence Day Regatta 2010. She has placed in the top 15 for the past three years at Head of Charles Regatta in the Women's High School V4+.
"Julie has worked incredibly hard to not only improve herself but to help those around her," said Lister. "She is selfless in her pursuit of excellence and will be a big contributing member to our team immediately.
Wadolowska, a product of Cape Coral, Fla., was a Midwest Regional Champion in 2008-2009 with Lincoln Park Juniors and recently moved to Florida where the 5-11 senior now rows with Sarasota Crew.
"Karolina is incredibly dedicated to the craft of rowing," commented Lister. "She raced four times in one weekend at the Head of the Hooch. She is about making boats go faster. We like seeing that dedication to rowing. We can't wait to have her in our boats."
All seven signees will join the Blue Devils starting in August for the 2011-12 campaign.
"I am really looking forward to seeing this talented class join our fantastic team next year," said Lister. "This will be the forth recruiting class for me since becoming the recruiting coordinator and we will finally see our team running on all cylinders."
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