By Ken DeBolt
It was another banner year on the water for the Colleges. William Smith rowing finished fourth at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. Hobart rowing produced a medal haul that rivals the finest in school history. The sailing team competed in all three spring national championship regattas. And, the swimming and diving team recorded its best finish at the Liberty League Championships in over a decade.
Herons row into national spotlight
It’s a challenge to know where to begin bragging about the exceptional season Heron rowing put together. The nation’s coaches knew William Smith’s varsity eight was among the best in the nation, ranking the Herons in the top four all spring.
The team won its third consecutive conference championship with gold medal efforts in the 1V and in the second varsity eight. Coxswain Kim Goral ’13 and varsity eight stroke Jess Steketee ’13 represented William Smith on the inaugural All-Liberty League team. The following week at the New York State Championships, William Smith put all four of its boats on the podium, including gold medals for the 1V and novice eight. The Herons completed their NCAA Championship prep by progressing three boats to the grand finals at the ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championships with the 1V finishing third.
In Indianapolis for the NCAA Championship, competitors were met by heavy rains and wind that forced organizers to reschedule, delay, and shuffle the racing schedule throughout the weekend. The 1V and 2V were unfazed by the weather or the changes and finished third in the grand final and won the petite final, respectively.
Off the water, the team’s performances were widely recognized. Steketee ’13 was named a CRCA first team All-American, nine Herons earned CRCA National Scholar-Athlete honors, and 14 Herons were tabbed Liberty League All-Academic. Additionally, William Smith collected the Liberty League Crew of the Year, the Novice Crew of the Year and the Coaching Staff of the Year awards.
The More Things Change…
Hobart rowing made big strides on the water this spring, while still maintaining a strangle hold on the Liberty League title.
The Statesmen collected the Liberty League Boat of the Week Award 10 times this season. Hobart won four medals at the conference championships, including gold in the varsity eight, second varsity eight, and novice eight on the way to the program’s eighth consecutive league title.
A week later, the Statesmen collected four more medals at the New York State Championships with the 1V, 2V, and 3V all capturing gold. It was the first time Hobart has placed its 1V atop the podium at States since 1996.
Hobart wrapped up the season with three medals at the 2013 ECAC NIRC and Head Coach Paul Bugenhagen was named the ECAC NIRC Men’s Coach of the Year. The silver and two bronze medals marked the most won by the Statesmen at that regatta in program history.
Coxswain Jessica Dinan ’14 and Robert McNamara ’15 were named to the inaugural All-Liberty League team and Owen Monahan ’15 was tabbed All-ECAC. Five oarsmen were recognized as Liberty League All-Academic while two more earned ECAC All-Academic honors.
Like the Herons, Hobart earned all three Liberty League postseason awards, marking the eighth time in 10 years the Statesmen have swept the Crew of the Year, Novice Crew of the Year and Coaching Staff of the Year awards.
Harnessing the wind
For the seventh time in the past decade, the Colleges qualified for all three ICSA Spring National Championship regattas.
After missing a spot in the women’s dinghy finals last season, the Herons returned to the national stage with a solid showing in the semifinals and finals that put the team 14th in the nation.
In team racing, HWS earned the final spot from MAISA into the national championship field. The Colleges sailed to a three-way tie for eighth place after the first round robin. Only eight team’s advance so HWS, Boston College and Navy went to a sail-off with the Midshipmen taking the last berth. The Colleges were ninth in the final standings, an improvement on the team’s No. 12 ranking entering the championship.
In the ICSA Coed Dinghy Western Semifinal, HWS looked strong on the waters off Hampton, Va., placing third in a highly competitive field. Unfortunately, when the championship began on Tampa Bay a month later, the Colleges were unable to duplicate their semifinal success, finishing 16th.
John Norfleet ’13 and Bridget Nannig ’13 earned All-America honors as a skipper and crew, respectively. HWS sailors have now won a total of 51 All-America awards since 1996. Additionally, the Colleges put six sailors on the inaugural All-MAISA teams.
Climbing the standings, taking down records
In the pool, the Heron swimming and diving team logged its highest finish at the Liberty League Championship in over a decade, placing fourth out of 10 teams. William Smith opened the meet on a high note, finishing second in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Lia Duffy ’14, Casey Sherwin ’13, Mimi Mahoney ’14, and Lauren Morosky ’13 hit the wall in 1:42.11. The Herons also closed the meet on that same high note, placing second in 400 free relay with a time of 3:43.97 behind the efforts of Duffy, Sherwin, Samantha Burnett ’15, and Morosky.
At the state championships two months later, Sarah Litt ’16 stole the spotlight. On Day 3 of the meet in the morning heats, she qualified for the consolation final of the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:16.04, more than 1.7 seconds behind Heron Hall of Honor inductee Kate Hendrickson’s 1989 record of 2:14.35. In the evening finals, Litt put together an exceptional swim. Her first 50 split was 30.15 and she reached halfway in 1:03.9. Litt swam the final 50 in a slightly faster time (34.75) than her third 50 (34.81) to finish second (10th overall) in a time of 2:13.46, 0.89 seconds faster than Hendrickson’s 24-year-old mark.
On the final day of the meet, Litt narrowly missed breaking another school record. Competing in the 200 backstroke, she qualified for the third level final with a morning swim of 2:14.95. Vibeke Hopkinson ’83, a charter member of the Hall of Honor, set the 200 backstroke record in 1983 with a time of 2:12.93. In the evening session, Litt made a run at her mark, finishing third in her heat (19th overall) logging a time of 2:13.21, just 0.28 seconds off the 30-year-old record.
When the Hobart lacrosse team takes the field in 2014, it will be the dawn of a new era. On July 1, the Statesmen departed the dissolving ECAC Lacrosse League for the Northeast Conference. Next season, Hobart will compete for a league title and NCAA automatic bid against Bryant, Mount St. Mary’s (Md.), Robert Morris, Sacred Heart, Saint Joseph’s, and Wagner, while maintaining its traditional non-conference rivalries with Cornell and Syracuse among others.
The team will be led by Head Coach Greg Raymond, who joined the Statesmen on July 12 after four seasons as the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Princeton University. “From his foundation at Corning East High School to leading his college team to a Division I title and from working under some of the very best in college coaching to coordinating one of Division I’s top defenses, Greg Raymond is the perfect fit for Hobart College and our lacrosse program,” says Hobart Director of Athletics Mike Hanna ’68, P’99, HON’04.
Raymond is the 19th man to lead the storied program. He replaces T.W. Johnson who accepted a coaching and administrative position at his high school alma mater in Virginia after nine seasons with the Statesmen.
Brighde Dougherty '04
After serving as the interim head coach of the William Smith lacrosse team for the 2013 season, Brighde Dougherty ’04 was promoted to head coach by Heron Director of Athletics Deb Steward. “Brighde’s loyalty to William Smith, her expertise, leadership skills, recruiting and work ethic are exceptional,” says her predecessor Pat Genovese, who still serves as an associate athletic director at William Smith. “She will be a positive force for present and future Herons.”
Dougherty led William Smith to a 10-7 record this season, marking the program’s first double digit win total since 2009. William Smith’s lineup was honored with an IWLCA All-America, three IWLCA All-Region, and four All-Liberty League awards, including a conference-high three first team selections. In the classroom, Dougherty’s Herons were just as acclaimed, earning eight Liberty League All- Academic honors.