Feb. 24, 2005

The 2005 Buckeyes enter their 10th season as a varsity squad under the direction of head coach Andy Teitelbaum. Ohio State is coming off one of the best seasons in program history after winning the 2004 Central/South Regional Championship and qualifying for its fifth-consecutive NCAA championship. Utilizing the experience of 20 letterwinners, including 12 seniors, the Buckeyes hope to make their sixth-consecutive NCAA appearance.

“Our goal this year is to qualify for the NCAA championship and have all three top boats compete in the grand final,” Teitelbaum, said.

In 2004, the Buckeye first varsity eight earned numerous accolades, including remaining undefeated in regular season action with an 8-0 record. The boat also made its mark as the first Big Ten boat to be ranked No. 1 in the US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll and the first to garner four-consecutive Big Ten Boat of the Week honors.

The Buckeyes recognize the competition will be stronger this year and will only continue to grow.

“Michigan is the defending Big Ten champion, Michigan State is very strong and last year marked the emergence of Wisconsin as a powerful team,” Teitelbaum said. “In general the conference continues to get stronger and deeper.”

Not only will Ohio State face stiff competition inside the conference, but also from outside of the conference. The Buckeyes are scheduled to face defending national champion Brown as well as Duke, Virginia, USC and Rutgers. Five of the eight teams Ohio State will compete against this season were ranked in the Top 20 in the final 2004 US Rowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll.

“The program’s philosophy has always been to race against the best crews,” Teitelbaum said.

This is a rare season for the Buckeyes, because they will have the unique opportunity to host three regattas.

“We are excited to bring this many teams to Columbus,” Teitelbaum said. “We hope hosting a lot of regattas and not traveling as much will take less of a toll on the team and we will be able to perform better.”

The Buckeyes also believe it is important to race a crew from every region across the country.

“It is essential for our selection to the NCAA tournament and to be able to test ourselves against teams from every corner of the nation,” Teitelbaum said.

Although the Buckeyes saw the departure of Tatiana Grigorieva a First-Team All-American and All-Central Region rower, Ohio State returns 20 letterwinners from last season including two All-Americans and an All-Big Ten selection. The squad returns 12 seniors including Diana Albrecht and Amanda Purcell, who both rowed in the first varsity eight which earned Big Ten Boat of the Week accolades four-consecutive weeks. Last year, Albrecht received first team All-Big Ten and All-Central Region accolades. Albrecht was a named co-captain of the 2005 squad.

“Didi (Albrecht) has become a permanent fixture in the first boat and receives an enormous amount of respect from her teammates,” Teitelbaum said.

Senior Maggie Kathman will continue to be an asset to the varsity squad, serving as a co-captain this season. Kathman helped guide the second varsity eight to a fourth-place finish at the 2004 Big Ten Championships and earned accolades as an OSU Scholar-Athlete and an Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

“Maggie provides a lot of spirit and has a positive attitude,” Teitelbaum said. “She is well liked and is highly regarded for her athletic ability.”

Other Buckeyes returning for their final season include Meredith Corley, who spent her junior year splitting time between the second varsity eight and first varsity four. Corley received the 2004 Most Improved Rower award. Laureen Ellison coxed the second varsity eight in 2004, which placed fifth last year at the regional championships. Ellison was a member of the 2003-04 Academic All-Big Ten team and was an OSU Scholar-Athlete. Senior Franziska Schubert returns for her fourth season as a Buckeye. In 2004 Schubert rowed in the second varsity eight and earned accolades for Academic All-Big Ten and OSU Scholar-Athlete. Prior to the 2004 season, Schubert was a member of the first varsity eight and in 2003 was named First Team All-Central Region. Senior Beth Tompkins rowed in the first varsity four and second varsity eight and was an Academic All-Big Ten selection and an OSU Scholar-Athlete. Megan Gordon spent part of the 2004 season in the second varsity four, which defeated Michigan early in the season. Seniors Christina Neveu and Kathryn Elizabeth Poling both rowed in the second varsity four and were Academic All-Big Ten selections and OSU Scholar-Athletes in 2004. Sarah Monimee and Katie Machingo did not see postseason action for OSU last year, but will return for their final season with the Buckeyes.

“We have a large group of seniors this year and I believe they have put a sense of urgency to the program,” Teitelbaum said. “This provides a sense of leadership, because they realize things must get done.”

The Buckeyes also return their top freshman rower from last year Annabelle Fago, who earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year and second team All-America honors. Also returning from the 2004 varsity squad are juniors Susan Cohen, Olga Grigorieva, Ninett Kossowsky, Sarah Obee and Jana Schiller and sophomores Briony Clare and Jessica Shepherd.

The Buckeye recruiting class is a unique mixture of student-athletes, who each bring different qualities to add to the success of Ohio State. Overall 11 new rowers, four of which are true freshmen, look to contribute to the success of the Buckeyes this season. Four members of the rookie class are from Germany and Lithuania and all have competed at a high level in their native countries. The Buckeyes also add two athletes who previously competed for the Ohio State swim team (Rachel Helfrich and Ashley Routson).

“The freshmen this year are skilled and will make a positive impact on the top boats,” Teitelbaum said.

The four true freshmen are Gabrielle Albertaviciute, Andrea Dymalski, Simone Haubner and Christine Wulfert.

The team also will add five rowers and a coxswain from the novice program. They hope to bring experience and power to the team. The five rowers are Christy Alge, Guilia Benedetti, Jacquelyn Davis, Helfrich and Justine Mahler. The first novice coxswain from 2004 Susanne Wilson, also returns for her first varsity campaign.

In the 2005 season, Ohio State looks to capitalize on its three home regattas. This is the first time in five years the Buckeyes have had the opportunity to host more than two regattas in a season.

Ohio State opens the 2005 season March 26 when the squad plays host to the ACC/Big Ten Duals. The Buckeyes then travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to face the Wolverines April 2. Ohio State returns home to host back-to-back regattas April 9 against Rutgers, Michigan State and defending national champion Brown and April 16 vs. USC and Indiana.

“The reputation of our venue has allowed us to bring the best teams to our facility,” Teitelbaum said. “We are excited to have this opportunity.”

Postseason action includes a trip to Bloomington, Ind., where Ohio State will compete in the 2005 Big Ten Championships April 30. Following the conference championships, the Buckeyes will travel to the 2005 Central/South Regional Championships, which once again will be held in Oak Ridge, Tenn., May 14-15. Ohio State looks to qualify for its sixth consecutive NCAA championship held in Sacramento, Calif., May 27-29.