CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Nine experienced rowers will join the women's openweight crew this fall as part of the Class of 2014. This marks the third year in a row that more than a full boat's worth of recruited freshmen have entered the program. The new talent will help form the deepest squad in recent memory.
Looking toward her fourth year helming the program, head coach Holly Metcalf remarks: "Our new recruiting efforts have transformed the team dramatically in recent years. This past spring both our varsity and second varsity eights were made entirely of sophomores and freshmen. Those rowers are returning with greater skill and maturity, and with yet another talented freshman class coming on board the team will be in a very exciting place this coming year."
The new rowers joining MIT women's openweight crew are:
Taleen Afeyan (Winsor School, Mass.) – As a two-year captain, Taleen helped lead Winsor Crew to winning the team trophy at the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) Championships this past spring. The team also won the team-point trophy during her sophomore year, when she raced in the second four and captured gold. Taleen also played basketball at Winsor and was the squad's captain this past season.
Rachel Downing (Princess Anne High School, Va.) – Rachel is a leader for her school's crew club, rowing in the stroke seat. In addition to rowing she was a captain for the Princess Anne Science Bowl and Scholastic Bowl teams. Rachel is a second-generation rower, as her mother rowed for Yale.
Tara Ebsworth (Winsor School, Mass.) – Also from nearby Winsor School, Tara graduated last year and deferred her enrollment to MIT. She contributed to Winsor's team-point victory at the NEIRA Championships in 2008, placing second in her boat. Tara rowed for Community Rowing last summer, and competed on her school's varsity swimming and field hockey teams.
Lauren Gresko (Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Pa.) – Lauren enjoyed a very successful senior year, graduating with distinguished honors and winning gold at both the Philadelphia City Championships and the Stotesbury Cup in the second varsity eight. She captured both of those races during her junior season as well, along with the Mercer Sprints, Saratoga Invitational, and the Reading Regatta in England. Lauren was named to the 2009-10 USRowing Scholastic Honor Roll, which recognizes 52 high school seniors who "excelled in both academics and rowing."
Chyleigh Harmon (Cazenovia Rowing Club, N.Y.) – Rowing stroke seat of the varsity four and quad, Chyliegh has also achieved amazing successes as an alpine skier. In back-to-back years she competed at the New York State Championships and performed well enough to move on to the Eastern Finals. In the winter of 2007-08 Chyleigh was invited as an alternate to the Junior Olympics, where she raced in the slalom, giant slalom, and super G events.
Aileen Johnson (Girls Preparatory School, Tenn.) – After running varsity track her freshman and sophomore years, Aileen made the varsity crew in her junior year. She was also a member of the varsity volleyball team during the winter.
Alice Shin (Mendota Rowing Club, Wis.) – In addition to rowing the six seat in the varsity eight for Mendota, Alice was the principal violinist for her school's orchestra. She has earned a slew of academic accolades and was named a National Merit Semifinalist.
Joanie Weaver (New Trier High School, Ill.) – Joanie closed her high school rowing career with a silver-medal performance at the Scholastic Nationals in the second varsity eight, finishing only 0.3 seconds behind the winner. Last year she won gold in that event, and captured a gold medal with the freshman eight her first year rowing. Joanie was a captain for her team and was selected to the 2009-10 USRowing Scholastic Honor Roll. In addition she has earned several accolades for excellence in math, science, and French.
Katelyn Wolfenberger (St. Norbert Crew Club, Wis.) – After learning to row in the summer camps at Wisconsin and Navy, Katelyn had to join a local college club to continue the sport since there were no junior teams in her area. Despite her youth, she promptly earned a seat in the varsity eight and rowed the three seat of the varsity four.