Nov. 22, 2011
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The University of Louisville women's rowing team signed eight future Cardinals during the November signing period. The coaches could not be more excited about the group of ladies that are joining the team next fall.
The coaches describe them as a tenacious, hungry and inspiring group of ladies who, most importantly, are extremely proud of their commitment to Louisville. The Class of 2016 includes Rachael Haight, Darya Marchanka, Katie McGrath, Hanna Spittel, Alexis St. Martin, Elise Valantine, Kelsey Webb and Amanda Zalno.
"We have really enjoyed getting to know the Class of 2016," said Louisville head coach Laura Aubrey. "As a whole, their positive energy, passion for being a Cardinal athlete and their strong competitive spirit is going to be a great addition to the team."
The Cardinal rowing staff intends to continue recruiting to this class and they expect to add an additional three signees in the spring.
"We are very excited with this group and, as expected, we will continue to search for more athletes to make an impact next year," Aubrey said.
Louisville Women's Rowing Recruiting Class (Graduating class of 2016)
Hometown: Longwood, Fla.
Club: Lake Brantley RA
Haight earned a silver medal at both Stotesbury (Junior 8) and Scholastic Nationals (JV8) in 2011. She has also competed with Southeast Juniors Rowing for the last two summers.
Coach Aubrey on Rachael: "Rachael is an experienced rower and has shown great consistency and stability throughout her rowing career. This trait will prove to be very beneficial while making the transition to college athletics. Rachel has a strong work ethic and I value her eagerness and willingness for constant improvement."
Hometown: Minsk, Belarus
Club: National Team, Republic of Belarus
Marchanka joins the Louisville Cardinals with a very stacked rowing resume. Most recently Darya competed at the 2011 Junior World Championships while earning a bronze medal in the Junior Quad at the 2010 Junior World Championships and second at European Championships in 2011. As an experienced sculler, Darya has many national medals and a strong competitive background.
Coach Aubrey on Darya: "Darya is a fierce competitor with great boat feel. She has solid rowing experience that includes a competitive edge that we knew would be an asset to the team. Rowing in the States will be an unbelievable opportunity for Darya and one I know she will be extremely appreciative of."
Hometown: Great Falls, Va.
Club: Langley HS
McGrath has been the captain of her high school team for two years and is a very skilled coxswain. She was awarded MVP her sophomore year and the coaches award her junior year. She has many different experiences on and off the water, and that makes her very valuable in any environment that she selects.
Coach Aubrey on Katie: "From the moment Katie stepped on campus, she knew and we knew that Louisville was where she would be starting her next chapter in life. Katie is not only passionate about rowing, but also about the University of Louisville. This type of energy and passion toward your program is addictive and it's contagious. There is no question Katie will have an immediate impact on this team."
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Club: Three Rivers RA
Spittel has earned 21 medals with Three Rivers Rowing and holds lightweight indoor rowing records in Pittsburgh. She is very effective on the water, and has wonderful work ethic.
Coach Aubrey on Hanna: "We knew Hanna was going to be a great for this program form the moment we met her. Hanna has shown great skill in the boat and is getting faster every single day. Her hunger for improvement and determination to succeed will bring her great success during her collegiate career."
Alexis St. Martin
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Club: Cincinnati Junior RC
Alexis is in her fifth year as the top coxswain for midwest rowing powerhouse, Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club. Her teams have won the Mid-West Junior Rowing Championship and have been to national competitions three times and finished seventh in the nation. She has impressed the coaching staff with her level head off the water and her experience and aggression in the boat.
Coach Aubrey on Alexis: "Alexis has a very strong coxswain's resume with top place finishes since the day she stepped into a boat. Alexis knows what it takes to win and is as competitive as they come. We are certain she will bring a special fire to any boat she drives down the course."
Hometown: Bellevue, Wash.
Club: Sammamish RA
Although relatively new to the sport, Valantine has quickly made her mark in the northwest rowing scene. Her boat won the Triple Crown of the Northwest - Brentwood Regatta, Windermere Cup and NW Regional Championships - last year earning them a spot at nationals.
Coach Aubrey on Elise: "Elise is a sharp young lady with tons of positive energy that has shown great success in a sport that is relatively new to her. She possesses that intrinsic motivation that is critical in the sport of rowing and I know that will only continue to flourish when she arrives at Louisville."
Hometown: Alpharetta, Ga.
Club: Atlanta Junior RA
Webb is an experienced swimmer and cross country runner that recently switched to rowing. She has made an immediate impact at AJRA, and is expected to continue to progress quickly.
Coach Aubrey on Kelsey: "Kelsey is doing a phenomenal job picking up a sport that she has done for only a short period of time. She has a strong athletic background that has provided her with a solid foundation, allowing her to easily transition to this demanding sport. Kelsey has a very bright future in rowing and we are thrilled to share this journey with her."
Hometown: Gibsonia, Pa.
Club: Three Rivers RA
Zalno has always played lacrosse in the spring, but has decided to stay with her fall sport, rowing, for college. She shows a lot of strength and progresses quickly.
Coach Aubrey on Amanda: "Amanda has committed herself to this sport and has grown tremendously in the process. She has set and exceeded her goals consistently throughout the past year and I know it will only continue to get better for her. Amanda will be a strong teammate both on and off the water."