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ODU Rowing Club Team Captures National Championship

The ODU Rowing Club participated in the American Collegiate Rowing Association's (ACRA) national championship regatta in Oklahoma City, May 24-25 and came away with top honors.

The Men's Freshman 4, composed of Ben Ayivorh, Jeff Tsai, Tony O'Laughlin, Tyler Ricci and coxswain Beca Coleman, was crowned national champion. To win the title the team defeated California State University, Long Beach, Kansas State University, University of Maryland, Ohio State University and University of Michigan.

ODU's Women's Varsity 4 finished in third place nationally. The members of this group included Alicia Smith, Meredith McPherson, Brittany Clements, Becky Holgate and coxswain Mia Maceren. The Women's V4 team won its event at the Colonial Athletic Association championship and the Mid-Atlantic championship, and advanced to the semifinal of the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia, this year as well.

The Men's Varsity 4 finished in eighth place at the ACRA regatta. This group included Arda Akman, Artin Sharolli, Sean Price, Gavin Gramstad and coxswain Chrissy Babashanian.

Gramstad, a senior civil and environmental engineering major, and McPherson, a junior biological oceanography major, were named to their respective All-Region teams. Kemp Savage, an ODU graduate student, served as coach of the rowing club.

Also competing at the regatta were teams from Virginia, Notre Dame, Purdue, Northwestern, Kansas, UCLA, UC-Davis, Oklahoma, Texas, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Buffalo. The event was hosted by the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation.

This marked the first year of the ACRA championships.

"The ACRA was created because the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship, historically considered the collegiate men's nationals and the collegiate lightweight women's nationals, is strongly considering reformatting its regatta to be more in line with the NCAA championship for women," said Heather Weisel, who helped lay the foundation of the ODU Rowing Club. "This would have effectively eliminated non-varsity-sponsored teams from having a national championship."

Weisel was named head coach for ODU's first intercollegiate women's rowing team, which will become the university's 17th intercollegiate sport this fall.

This article was posted on: June 4, 2008

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