FAIRFAX, Va. –
The George Mason University women's rowing team begins its October event schedule in a fitting "Erie" fashion, as the Patriots will head to the western Pennsylvania/New York border to race in the Mercyhurst Autumn Classic.
The Patriots open the season is a unique race format. Each boat will begin with a 5000-meter head race, followed by a 500-meter sprint showdown. The Green & Gold will match up with host Mercyhurst, as well as Buffalo's own Canisius College.
"The goal for this weekend is to start the season strong at a new race venue for our program," head coach Ted Nagorsen
said. "Mercyhurst is my alma mater. It's where I rowed in college and where I coached for many years before Mason. I'm very proud to bring this group of girls here and return with such a talented team."
The Patriots return the bulk of their Varsity 8+ boat from 2016-17, with seven of the nine members suiting up for Mason on Saturday. The talented group includes seniors Anne Graf
, Megan Gooding
and Taylor Williams
, junior Elizabeth Rush
, Maria Justiniano
and Nida Peleda
and sophomore coxswain Shelby Rein
. The Patriots also will welcome sophomore Anna Close
and freshman Katelyn James
into the Varsity 8+ boat.
Mason's Second Varsity 8+ will feature a trio of familiar faces from year ago, including Brianna Burke
and Emily Egdahl
. Sophomore coxswain Kathleen Lackatose
returns as well, while junior Anushka Prativadhi Bayankara
and sophomore Emily Egdahl
move up from last season's Varsity 4+ to join the boat.
Senior Nicole Van Oort
moves to the special Light 4+ boat this week, alongside Leah Gillespie
, Grace Venes-Escaffi
and Emily Holt
. Van Oort and Holt partnered to medal at the 2017 Dad Vail Regatta in the women's pair this past spring.
After this weekend, Mason returns to action next Saturday (Oct. 14) at the Navy Day Regatta in Philadelphia.