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Women’s Varsity Eight Rowers Capture NCAA Championship
The women’s varsity eight rowers etched their names in WPI history by capturing the university’s first women’s NCAA championship. The boat of Melissa Bazakas-Chamberlain, Alexandra Heline, Megan Tupaj, Caitlin Kean, Lilly Earley, Maren Cork, Emily Adams, Ashley Schuliger, and coxswain Logan Rinaldi dominated the NCAA Division III 2,000-meter championship race, leading from start to finish. They join Eric Meerbach ’87 (1986 NCAA Division III Men’s Golf) as the only NCAA champions in WPI history.
“It’s a Cinderella story,” says WPI Hall of Fame coach Jason Steele. “The foundation was laid years ago—there are a lot of seniors in that boat who worked very, very hard over a long period of time. The most important thing was that in the pursuit of believing they could do it, they actually started to really believe it.”
WPI and Ithaca battled for the early lead, with the Engineers holding just a 0.186 second edge at 500 meters. The middle 1,000 meters was the difference as WPI bested the rest of the field by over two seconds from the 500-meter mark to the 1,500-meter buoys and sprinted home to the finish line in a time of 6:55.265.
WPI’s varsity eight and second varsity eight boats also traveled to London to compete in the Women’s Henley Regatta in June.