Coast Guard which placed fourth at the New England Women's and Men's (NEWMAC) Championship last season, returns plenty of experience to the Varsity 8 led by co-captains senior Cathy Durand and junior Brynna Cooke.
Durand and Cooke have been instrumental in leading the team both on and off the water. The team is down in numbers from years past, but strong in will according to interim head coach Jodi Hope.
"The squad is smaller than we have seen in years past, which limits our opportunities for fielding boats in multiple race categories and poses a challenge to our depth," said Hope. "However, I feel that the women have largely stepped up and taken ownership of their contribution to boat speed and the overall strength of the program. We have a great core group of returners who have been terrific models of hard work and dedication, and who have kept the program moving forward and have accepted the challenges with grace and pride."
The Bears also have several walk-ons who have made an immediate impact to the team and are expected to be strong competitors this spring. These walk-ons have been challenged to work at a varsity level from initiation, and they have taken that challenge head-on.
Seniors Judy Hooymans and Maren Balke have returned to the crew for the spring season and have made their distinct mark on the program, currently leading the Varsity 8 as stroke pair. Freshman Savannah Lyle has proven her strength on the erg since the fall and continues to produce top-level speed, followed closely by walk-on classmate Tasha Bull.
"I look forward to the challenges of the season as we face some of the strongest programs in the region and I am optimistic that we will see great speed from this squad," said Hope. "We may be limited in numbers, be we are bolstered by grit and gumption. "
The Bears open the spring portion of the season on Saturday, March 22nd at UMass.
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