For the third consecutive year, the William Smith College rowing team has swept the Liberty League postseason awards. The Heron varsity eight captured its third straight Crew of the Year award, the novice eight earned its sixth consecutive Novice Crew of the Year award, and the Coaching Staff of the Year award went to William Smith for the third straight season.
The varsity eight of Kim Goral, Jess Steketee, Lauren Blake-Whitney, Sinead Reilly, Katie Paige, Sarah Gordon, Laura Cappio, Libby Hughes, and Alyssa Trebilcock was ranked in the top five in the nation all spring by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association. At the Liberty League Championships, the Herons bested the field by more than 13 seconds to secure the program’s sixth title in 10 seasons.
At the New York State Championships, William Smith’s 1V earned a gold medal for the second year in a row with a nearly 7-second victory over regional rival Ithaca. A week later, the Herons captured a bronze medal at the ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championships, trailing only top ranked Williams and No. 2 Bates. William Smith closed out the season with a second consecutive third place finish in the NCAA Championships.
Blake-Whitney, Goral, Gordon, Paige, and Steketee have been a part of three Liberty League Crews of the Year. Goral and Gordon are four-time honorees after earning the 2009-10 Liberty League Novice Crew of the Year award. Reilly and Trebilcock have been a member of two Liberty League Crews of the Year. Reilly was a member of the 2010-11 Liberty League Novice Crew of the Year.
The novice eight took second at the Liberty League Championships, finishing just 0.51 seconds off RIT’s winning pace. The Herons rebounded the following week to beat the Tigers by 0.66 seconds and claim the New York State Championship. The 1N capped its season with a fifth place finish in the grand final at the ECAC NIRC. Coxswains Amanda Salzman and Susan Tuvell steered oarswomen Brianna Taylor, Grace Hutton, Megan Miskovsky, Karly Wagner, Alex Belden, Catharine Pirie, Sammi Hurwitz, and Nikki Andrzejczyk throughout the season.
Heron Head Coach Sandra Chu and her assistants have been voted the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year seven of the 10 times it has been presented. This season, Chu guided William Smith to the collegiate eight championship at the Head of the Genesee, a second place finish in the Head of the Charles, a second place finish in the Head of the Fish, a third straight Liberty League title, and a four medal performance at the New York State Championships.
For the third straight year, William Smith received a team bid to the NCAA Championships. The third place showing by the 1V and a first place finish by the 2V in the petite final resulted in a fourth place finish in the team standings, a repeat of 2012’s finish by the Herons. Chu is assisted by Lindsey Hochman and Ford Weiskittel.