Blue Crew Wins 9th NEWMAC Title In Program History, Automatic NCAA Bid

NEWMAC Champion Blue Crew is headed back to the NCAA Division III Championships (Courtesy WPI Athletics).
NEWMAC Champion Blue Crew is headed back to the NCAA Division III Championships (Courtesy WPI Athletics).

Wellesley senior Kelsey Campbell named NEWMAC Rower of the Year; Classmate Sydney Stento named NEWMAC Coxswain of the Year 

WORCESTER, Mass. -- Wellesley College crew took first place in all four races to win the 2018 New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Rowing Championship on Saturday at the Donahue Rowing Center on Lake Quinsigamond.

Wellesley wins the conference title for the eighth consecutive year and the ninth time in program history to earn the NEWMAC's automatic bid to the 2018 NCAA Division III Championships at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla. The Blue will represent the NEWMAC for a ninth consecutive year at this year's NCAA Championships.

Wellesley's sweep of the Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight, Third Varsity Eight, and Fourth Varsity Eight races helped the Blue clinch the Florence Jope Smith Cup, awarded annually to the school with the highest number of points from the overall results at the NEWMAC Championship. Wellesley, who has now won the overall points award for eight straight years, finished first with 44 points. The Blue were followed by WPI in second with 30 points. Smith College was third with 22 points, followed by Simmons in fourth with 16 points, Coast Guard in fifth with 12 points, Mount Holyoke in sixth with eight points and Clark in seventh with four points.

The Blue also swept the major awards with Kelsey Campbell (Broomfield, Colo.) being named 2018 NEWMAC Rower of the Year and Sydney Stento (Boise, Idaho) tabbed as the 2018 Coxswain of the Year. Joining the Wellesley duo on the NEWMAC All-Conference first team were teammates Meg Babikian (Belmont, Mass.) and Liz Shumway (Eden Praire, Minn), as well as Christine Hovermale (Alameda, Calif.), Marlies de Jong (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Kinsey McNamara (Chelmsford, Mass.) of WPI and Lucy Jensen (River Forest, Ill.) and Julianne Eppley (Greenville, Pa.) of Smith. 

The NEWMAC All-Conference second team was made up of WPI coxswain Madison Healey (Atkinson, N.H.), Coast Guard's Marissa Marsh (Vienna, Va.) and Jacquelyn Dilley (Steialcoom, Wash.), Simmons' Samantha Kelsey (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Veronica Bennett(Pottstown, Pa.), Mount Holyoke's Liz Hazen (Brookline, Mass.) and Arita Lawson (Washington, D.C.) and Halley Glier (Shelburne, Mass.) and Emily Ladda (Farmington, Conn.) from Clark. 

The Blue captured the varsity eight in a time of 7:07.298 with the host Engineers crossing the line in a time of 7:10.662. Smith took third (7:23.686), followed by Simmons, Coast Guard, Mount Holyoke and Clark. It was a wider margin of victory in the second varsity eight, which featured the same order of finish, as Wellesley handed in a 7:22.929 compared to WPI's 7:31.655. Smith reached the finish line in a time of 7:50.732. 

In arguably the most dramatic race of the day, WPI (7:44.751) led the third varsity until Wellesley (7:41.900) passed them with about 500 meters to go and then held off a late Crimson and Gray charge. Smith ended up third. In the first race of the day, the Blue used an 8:04.500 to take the head-to-head fourth varsity eight with WPI.

The Blue will return to Lake Quinsigamond on Saturday, May 5 at 8:00 AM for the New England Rowing Championships (NERC).