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Courtesy: Duke Photography
Rowing Announces Incoming Freshman Class
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 06/17/2013
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DURHAM, N.C. – Duke rowing head coach Robyn Horner announced the signing of 10 student-athletes for the Class of 2017. 

The class includes Karla Beltran (Goffstown, N.H./Phillips Exeter), Samantha Bowman (San Mateo, Calif./Aragon), Julia Bretz (New York, N.Y./Lawrenceville School), Johanna Burstein (New York, N.Y./Bronx High School of Science), Phoebe Donovan (Sydney, Australia/Pymble Ladies’ College), Elizabeth Horne (London, England/Lady Eleanor Holles School), Caroline Murphy (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Springs) Tani O’Neill (Falls Church, Va./McLean), Laura Rosas (Orinda, Calif./Miramonte), and Caroline Willis (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prepatory School).

“We graduated a hard-working class of 10 seniors that elevated us to a No. 20 national ranking, and we are looking to the class of 2017 to help continue our progression towards the top 15,” Horner said. “The women in this class know how to win.

“I’d like to give special recognition to Jim Lister, recruiting coordinator and associate head coach, and Kathryn Hagglund, assistant coach, and the members of DWR (Duke women’s rowing) for showing these women why they wanted to be a part of our program.”

Karla Beltran is a captain and coxswain at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., whose team was recently crowned NEIRA Team Champion for the third consecutive season.

“Karla has the personality to charge up a boat,” Horner said. “She has what we like to call the ‘it’ factor.”

Samantha Bowman is a coxswain for NorCal Crew in Redwood City, Calif., and has led her squad’s varsity four at the SW Regionals. Additionally, she has taken a leadership role in mentoring NorCal’s novice coxswains.

“When our staff sat down and met with Samantha, we immediately knew that she can take charge and lead,” Horner said. “Sam has tremendous enthusiasm, and we like to see this from our coxswains.”

Julia Bretz rowed at The Lawrenceville School in New York, N.Y., while also participating with the USRowing High Performance squad.

“Julia is going to be a fantastic all around student-athlete with our program,” Horner said. “She is very active in her school student body. We look forward to her contributions not only in the boat, but also to our team culture.”

Johanna Burstein rowed with Row New York in New York, N.Y., and has also participated at South East Rowing Camp.

“Johanna will fit in right away with our program,” Horner said. “She has a strong desire to learn and excel as she has shown by participating in summer rowing camp and participating twice at CRASH Bs. We also think she will add greatly to our team culture as she quickly made a lot of friends on her visit to Duke.”

Phoebe Donovan is a native of Sydney, Australia, where she rowed at Pymble Ladies’ College. At the 2013 Australian National Championships, her boat won the silver medal in the U19 eight. That same boat also won gold at the NSW Schoolgirl Head of the River.

“Phoebe rows for one of the top junior programs in Australia,” Horner said. “She has the work ethic that we look for in our student-athletes.”

Elizabeth Horne is a native of London, England, where she rowed at The Lady Eleanor Holles School and was Boathouse Captain. She helped the program capture a silver medal in the four at Junior Worlds in 2011 which took place on the Olympic race course on Dorney Lake in Dorney, Buckinghamshire, England.

“Elizabeth brings with her a wealth of experience in both sculling and sweep rowing,” Horner said. “Her experience at Junior Worlds on Dorney Lake is very special, and Elizabeth can help push the ceiling up for our program.”

Caroline Murphy rowed with the Saratoga Rowing Association in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and led her eight to a gold-medal finish at the Head of the Charles. Additionally, her group won gold in the U19 Women’s eight at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta in Sydney, Australia.

“Caroline is a great student and a fantastic rower,” Horner said. “We have seen her have success in every boat she races, and she has been a big leader for Saratoga Rowing. We look to Caroline to keep up her winning ways here at Duke.”

Tani O’Neill rowed at McLean High School and with Thompson Boat Club in Falls Church, Va., helping her boat claim seventh place at the Head of the Charles. She was selected as an All-Metropolitan first team selection by The Washington Post as a senior.

“Tani is a racer and has shown this capability with her high school program and also with her summer rowing club,” Horner said. “We like having hard-working and tough-minded student-athletes on our team, and Tani has these characteristics.” 

Laura Rosas rowed with Oakland Strokes Rowing Club in Oakland, Calif., where she led her varsity eight to wins at the Canadian Henley, San Diego Crew Classic and Youth Nationals. She was also a team captain.

“Laura can be found in the top boat for her program in the school year and summer,” Horner said. “Her confidence is apparent when you meet her, and it shows in her racing as well as in her leadership.”

Caroline Willis hails from Tampa, Fla., where she rowed at Tampa Training Center. She took first place and set a course record at the southern Sprints Erg Regatta and also won the novice single at 2012 Independence Day Regatta. She recently qualified for Youth Nationals in the pair.

“Carli is always seeking out rowing opportunities whether in a pair or a single,” Horner said. “She has an amazing positive outlook which will help push our team to reach for new heights.”