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Women's Crew Out To Defend WCC, WIRA Titles

April 26, 2006

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University women's crew program will be out to defend its West Coast Conference and WIRA titles when the Bulldogs compete this weekend at Lake Natoma just outside of Sacramento, Calif. Gonzaga has won nine straight WCC titles and two of the last four WIRA championships.

Gonzaga will start on Friday afternoon at the West Coast Conference Championships looking for its 10th title as the WCC hosts its 10th conference championship. Gonzaga remains the only school to win the WCC women's rowing title since the event was first started in 1997. Current GU head coach Glenn Putyrae has guided the Bulldogs to six of those nine championships. Racing will start at Noon with the Varsity 8+ race followed by the Junior Varsity 8+ and Varsity 4+. Kari Durgan and Sarah Allison were both All-WCC selections last season for the Zags.

On Saturday morning the Bulldogs will start defense of their WIRA rowing championships after winning WIRA titles in Varsity 8+ and Junior Varsity 8+ last season. Gonzaga's Varsity 8+ has been seeded 10th at this year's event and will compete in the second heat race with Sacramento State, San Diego State, Puget Sound, Saint Mary's, Santa Clara and UC Irvine. The top three boats from each heat advance to Sunday's Grand Final.

Gonzaga's women's Novice 8+ was seeded first and will face San Diego State, Loyola Marymount, Claremont, Sonoma State, San Diego and Colorado. The JV 8+ will race San Diego State, LMU, Puget Sound, Santa Clara and Pacific Lutheran.

Following a strong showing at the Knecht Cup and a split second lost to Western Washington, coach Putyrae feels confident that his team will be up to this weekend's challenge.

"We are really looking forward to an exciting weekend of racing," Putyrae mentioned. "Based on the results from various races this year, there are several crews in the WCC and WIRA that can challenge for the titles. We are working hard to be among those challenging for the championship."

West Coast Conference Championships (April 28) Line-ups
Varsity 8: Coxswain Erin Palmiter, stroke Kari Durgan, Sarah Allison, Cory Nelson, Jessica Kocarnik, Nicole Aadland-Lewis, Kelsey Koenig, Julie Smetana and bow Kelsey Raap.
JV 8: Coxswain Mimi Refuerzo, stroke Kelly Steinhaus, Whitney Engle, Rosie Bleymaier, Teagan Towhey, Hanna McClintock, Jana Holcombe, Lauren Rundberg and bow Katie Adkins.
Varsity 4: Coxswain Joan Aubry, stroke Whitney Patrick, Stephanie Murphy, Sierra Tittle and bow Brianna Morin.

WIRA Championships (April 29-30) Line-ups
Varsity 8: Coxswain Erin Palmiter, stroke Kari Durgan, Sarah Allison, Cory Nelson, Jessica Kocarnik, Nicole Aadland-Lewis, Kelsey Koenig, Julie Smetana and bow Kelsey Raap.
JV 8: Coxswain Mimi Refuerzo, stroke Whitney Patrick, Sierra Tittle, Brianna Morin, Stephanie Murphy, Liz Sambach, Patti Battles, Jennifer Pierce and bow Heather Jewell.
Novice 8: Coxswain Lex Lamug, stroke Kelly Steinhaus, Whitney Engle, Rosie Bleymaier, Teagan Towhey, Hanna McClintock, Jana Holcombe, Lauren Rundberg and bow Katie Adkins.