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Merrimack Rowing Finishes First Overall Twice during Fifth Year of Existence

The Merrimack College women’s rowing team tallied a second-place finish in the petite final of the Varsity Eight Division II event at the Dad Vail Regatta on May 13-14 in Philadelphia, Pa.

The Warriors cleared third-place Philadelphia University by 14.661 seconds, while trailing first-place UC San Diego by only 4.734 seconds. The team turned to its lineup featuring sophomore coxswain Jess Khoury (Bay Shore, N.Y.), sophomore stroke Tasha Wypych (Wellington, New Zealand), senior seventh seat Lydia Staschke (Guilford, Conn.), senior captain and sixth seat Aubrey O’Neill(Pawcatuck, Conn.), freshman fifth seat Ashley Augulewicz (Beverly, Mass.), junior fourth seat Amy Wengefeld (Old Saybrook, Conn.), junior third seat Megan Lacombe (Middletown, Conn.), junior second seat Lauren Blazon (Lowell, Mass.) and senior captain Mara Payne(Sandwich, Mass.) on the bow.

The squad was led during the 2015-16 season by its exceptional Varsity Four lineup of Khoury, O’Neill, Staschke, Blazon and Wypych. The group finished first overall in back-to-back events, which came in the finals of the Varsity 4+ at the UMass Lowell Invitational on April 16 and the Varsity Fours (7:37.72) at the Northeast-10 Cup on April 23.

The five girls reeled off nine consecutive top-two overall finishes, which started at the Knecht Cup in April 2015 and concluded at the NE-10 Cup this past April. During that span, the Warriors collected first-place honors five times, while boasting second-place finishes on four occasions. The lineup recorded runner-up finishes in the finals of the Varsity 4+ at the Quinsigamond Snake Regatta on Oct. 10 and the Club Fours (7:41.32) at the Knecht Cup on April 9-10.

For the Novice Fours, the Warriors continuously turned to their strong lineup of sophomore Hillary Farrell (Jefferson, Mass.), Wengefeld, freshman Rebecca Cleary (Milford, N.H.), freshman Emily Crowe (Ridgewood, N.J.) and Augulewicz.

The group finished second overall in the finals of the Novice 4+ at the UMass Lowell Invitational, while tallying third-place finishes in the grand final of the Novice Fours (8:13.716) at the New England Rowing Championships on April 30 and the petite final of the Frosh/Novice Fours (8:04.31) at the Knecht Cup.

The lineup also posted a first-place finish in the initial preliminary-round heat during the Novice 4+ event at the UMass Lowell Invitational, as the mark of 9:15.4 was the lowest by any boat in the entire preliminary round, which included a total of eight teams between the two heats. The girls also tallied a first-place finish in the second preliminary-round heat during the Novice Fours at the New England Rowing Championships.

Mike McMahon is in his 13th year covering Merrimack College for The Eagle Tribune and is the founder and managing editor of The Mack Report. Mike also serves on staff as a senior writer at College Hockey News. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonCHN

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