BERKELEY – California head women’s rowing coach Dave O’Neill has announced the Golden Bears’ nineteen-member recruiting class for 2014.
The Bears’ 2014 class includes two international athletes: Caileigh Filmer and Katarina Floyd, 10 California natives: Kate Anderson, Madison Brooks, Hunter Deuel, Roisin Duffy, Lena Kallweit, Olivia Klinkenberg, Julia McKeon, Nina Obaldia, Elizabeth Perrine, and Lexia Tatro, and seven additional standouts from across the United States: Charlotte Cordova, Mia Croonquist, Katie De Haas, Julia Gallwitz, Ellen Heile, Juliet Ruhe, and Kendra Shutts.
“I could not be more pleased with the depth and quality of the recruits who just signed the NLI’s,” O’Neill said. “Of course, it’s imperative to identify student-athletes who will be the right fit for the University and our program. That is certainly the case here. This class includes our highest ranked prospects from California, the United States and Canada, and it was really important to recruit student-athletes who can make an immediate impact in our top crews. We definitely accomplished that goal. This group also includes student-athletes we are confident will develop into important contributors in the years ahead."
A Nicasio, Calif. native, Anderson is a member of the Marin Rowing Association. She recently competed to earn a seat in one of the country's strongest varsity eights that competed at the 2013 Head of the Charles. Anderson began rowing after playing competitive soccer for seven years, and received the Novice Athlete of the Year Award in 2012.
“Kate Anderson is a terrific person who has really stepped up this season at Marin,” O’Neill said. “Being coached by Sandy Armstrong, you know she’s going to row well and understand the work ethic needed to be successful at any level. We got to know her a bit through our summer camps, and she is a perfect fit for our team.”
Brooks, a talented competitive swimmer from Thousand Oaks, Calif., turned down interest from several Division I and Division II swimming programs to join the Golden Bears’ rowing program. Madison was voted Co-Captain of her La Reina High School team as a senior, and was a member of the Tri-Valley League champion 400-meter freestyle relay team that clinched the overall Tri-League Team Championship for La Reina in 2013.
“Our team has had great success in developing athletes from other sports, and I really think Madison Brooks has the potential to be a superstar,” said O’Neill. “She comes from an athletic family and has exactly the right mindset to be a terrific rower. I’m really looking forward to working with her on our team.”
Cordova, a tall, athletic lightweight rower from St. Louis, Mo., has been racing in the varsity openweight four and eight at the St. Louis Rowing Club for the past three years. This fall, Cordova won two Gold Medals at the Head of the Rock regatta, and a Bronze in the Youth Eight at the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn.
“I was really impressed with Charlotte Cordova when she visited this past summer, and I’m thrilled she joining our team,” O’Neill said. “She also comes from an athletic family and was highly recommended by her coaches. She’s a solid technical rower, but I’m most impressed with her positive spirit and determination.”
Croonquist, who hails from Vashon, Wash., competes with the Vashon Island Rowing Club. In 2011, at just the age of 14, Croonquist made her presence known on the world stage when she was the youngest girl to ever compete with the U.S. national team at a world championship. She won Gold in the Straight Four in Eton Dorney, Great Britain. Croonquist followed that performance the next summer at the 2012 Junior World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, winning Silver in the Women's Eight. She also won a Silver medal at the 2011 USRowing Youth National Championships with Vashon Island RC.
“Mia Croonquist is probably the most sought after recruit in the last few years,” O’Neill said. “She’s proven to be a terrific rower and will make a big impact on our team. It has been a pleasure getting to know Mia. She’s a really hard worker with a positive energy while being really humble and nice at the same time. Three qualities we really value. She’s a great kid and is going to be terrific teammate for everyone in our program.”
A former hockey player turned rower from Darien, Conn., De Haas competes with the Connecticut Boat Club located in Norwalk, Conn. At CBC, De Haas sits in the five seat of the Varsity Eight that placed ninth at the Head of the Charles. Last spring De Haas stroked the CBC varsity boat at the San Diego Crew Classic.
“When Liz Trond (USA junior national team coach) says someone is good and has potential, you had better listen, and this was certainly the case with Katie de Haas,” O’Neill said. “We’ve been really impressed with Katie and think she’s a perfect fit for Cal. She rows long and is helping to power a fast CBC eight.”
Deuel, an Alamo, Calif. native, began rowing in the summer of 2013 with the Oakland Strokes Rowing Club learn to row camp, and fell in love with the sport instantly. This fall, Deuel made the top Novice boat at Oakland Strokes and competed at the Head of the American. Deuel is a multi-sport varsity letter winner in track and field, is a volunteer with Contra Costa Search and Rescue, and owns her own photography company.
“Hunter Deuel is new to rowing and has been doing some great things at Oakland Strokes,” O’Neill said. “She’s a powerful athlete with a great attitude. Since she’s being coached by Beth Anderson this year, she’s going to be well prepared to make a big impact with us next year.”
A Mill Valley, Calif. native, Duffy comes to Berkeley having won a National Champion title at the 2013 USRowing Youth National Championship in the youth varsity eight. With the Marin Rowing Association, Duffy captured top honors and titles at the 2013 San Diego Crew Classic and 2013 USRowing Southwest Junior Championship. This past October, Duffy competed at the 2013 Head of the Charles and placed third out of eighty-five youth eights.
“Another terrific athlete from Marin is Ro Duffy,” said O’Neill. “Ro might not be the tallest rower around, but she rows really long. She’s sitting in the middle of the Marin eight for a reason. She knows how to win, and it is going to be great having her on our team.”
Filmer, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, will be coming to Cal as one of the top recruits from Canada following a very successful high school career with the Victoria City Rowing Club. Filmer was crowned the 2013 Canadian National Indoor Champion for Junior Women for her performance in her native Victoria, British Columbia. Last summer, Filmer stroked the Canadian Junior Women's Straight Four at the 2013 Junior World Championships in Trakai, Lithuania, finishing eighth overall.
“I expect Caileigh Filmer to have an immediate impact on our top boats,” O’Neill said. “She’s the type of athlete who sets a goal and does everything she can to achieve it. She’s been super-successful among the Canadian juniors, and I was really impressed with her when she came down to visit. She is a strong, motivated individual who loves being part of a team, and that is really important to us.”
Floyd, a native of Kleinmachnow, Germany, will be joining Cal after spending most of her life in Berlin learning how to move small boats. Floyd caught the eye of O’Neill at the 2013 Club Nationals in Cherry Hill, N.J. Floyd placed first in the Women’s Junior A 2- at Club Nationals with Community Rowing Inc., and she captured gold again at the Royal Canadian Henley in the same category.
“Katarina Floyd comes from a terrific program in CRI and looks to be a real student of the sport,” O’Neill said.” She’s very skilled, especially in the single and pair, and she going to do very well on our team. Even though she’s not a powerhouse, she knows how to move a boat, and that’s what matters most.”
Gallwitz, a native of Haddonfield, NJ, rows for the Haddonfield Crew Club. Gallwitz has coxed her crews to a lot of success over the past two seasons, with Gold medals at the Head of the Christina, Bill Braxton Memorial, and Cooper Cup regattas. Gallwizt also won the Haddonfield Crew Club's Spirit Award for the 2012-13 season.
“We put a lot of emphasis on finding coxswains who will be a good fit for what we are trying to do, and Julia Gallwitz is perfect for our team,” O’Neill said. “She’s mature and calm while still being very demanding and competitive. Most importantly, I’ve been impressed with her commitment to the team and doing the extra effort to be successful.”
Heile, a native of Seattle, Wash., rows for Pocock Rowing Center. Ellen stroked her PRC Youth Pair at the 2013 USRowing Youth National Championships and is a Gold Medalist from the 2013 Northwest Junior Regional Championships. Chosen as team captain of the Pocock Rowing Center for the Spring and Fall seasons of 2013, she was also the recipient of PRC's "Top Nut Award", awarded by her coach for demonstration of team leadership, sportsmanship, and work ethic. Heile was recently chosen a 2013-2014 USRowing National Scholastic Honor Roll honorable mention. Her varsity eight won their event at the 2013 Head of the Lake regatta in Seattle.
“Ellen Heile is a wonderful person and truly coming into her own as a talented rower,” O’Neill said. “She’s someone with a ton of potential, and I’m really looking forward to working with her and helping her achieve her goals. Good kid and hard worker, that’s Ellen. Simply stated, that’s our team, as well.”
A Sacramento, Calif. native, Kallweit helped River City Rowing Club to one of their most successful seasons ever in 2013. She was a member of the RCRC Varsity 8+ that finished a program-best sixth overall at the Southwest Junior Regional Championship. In 2012, she won two Gold medals at the USRowing Club National Championships while rowing with the Southeast Juniors Development Camp.
“Lena Kallweit was highly recommended by her coach, Tricia Blocher, and I’ve been really impressed,” said O’Neill. “Lena is one of those athletes with a quiet, unassuming demeanor on the outside but a burning intensity underneath. She’s a good kid and pulls really, really hard.”
A Lafayette, Calif. native, Klinkenberg was selected to race at the 2013 San Diego Crew Classic that placed first, after rowing less than a year with the Oakland Strokes Rowing Club. Klinkenberg went on to earn two more gold medals in the Novice eight and Novice four at the Southwest Junior Regional Championship. Olivia finished off her first year of rowing at the Royal Canadian Henley with gold in the U19 Women’s Eight. This fall, Olivia earned a spot with the top varsity athletes’ at Oakland Strokes to compete at the Head of the Charles.
“Although Olivia Klinkenberg has been rowing less than a year, she’s already won a ton of races at both the novice and varsity levels,” O’Neill said. “She’s basically been rowing non-stop since she got hooked on the sport and has the ability to set a strong, powerful rhythm from the stroke seat.”
McKeon is a San Francisco native who began rowing at St. Ignatius College Prep the Spring of her junior year. A multi-sport athlete at St. Ignatius, she worked her way into the top eights and fours and has competed at the San Diego Crew Classic and the USRowing Southwest Youth Championship.
“Julia McKeon is another athlete who just started rowing last spring and quickly showed the potential to make a difference at our level,” O’Neill said. “She welcomes a challenge and is more than willing to put in the work to be successful. This has been our experience of most of the recruits from Saint Ignatius.”
Obaldia, a Sacramento, Calif. native and former competitive swimmer, immediately began to make an impact once she began rowing with River City Rowing Club. She earned seats in several different RCRC varsity boats and has won medals at a variety of regattas. Most notably, Nina sat in the six seat of River City's Varsity Eight last spring that finished sixth overall at the 2013 Southwest Junior Regional Championship, the best finish in that boat classification in RCRC's history.
“Nina Obaldia is a strong, powerful rower despite not being particularly tall,” said O’Neill. “She has a positive and engaging personality that is always important on every successful team. River City Rowing Club has emerged as a force on the junior rowing scene, and Nina has played an important role.”
Hailing from San Diego, Calif., Perrine will be rowing for Cal next fall as a relative newcomer to the sport. Now in her second year competing for ZLAC Rowing Club, she demonstrated tremendous potential at Cal's rowing camp this past summer. She has continued to show consistent promise and improvement throughout the fall season, having recently won Gold in the Pair Event at the 2013 Head of the American regatta.
“I think Lisa Perrine has a terrific future on our team,” O’Neill said. “She’s a really hard worker and super-motivated to be the best she can be. She’s tall, athletic and rows very well. I could not be happier that she has chosen to come to Cal, and I’m looking forward to working with her.”
Ruhe, a native of Darien, Conn., was described by her Connecticut Boat Club coach as a "workhorse" of a rower. Ruhe was a member of the 2013 USRowing Junior High Performance Team, and competed in the USRowing Women's Junior "A" Eight at the 2013 USRowing Club National Championship in Camden, N.J.
“Juliet Ruhe is a good kid who’s been described as a ‘workhorse’, and rowing coaches love those types of athletes,” said O’Neill. “She’s the consummate team player, and someone we think is going to play a significant role in our future success.”
Shutts, a Darien, Conn. native, rows for Connecticut Boat Club with fellow Cal signee Juliet Ruhe. Shutts comes to Cal as an accomplished high school rower. Over the last three years Shutts has made her club's varsity eight, competing at the San Diego Crew Classic, Northeast Junior Championship, and the USRowing Youth National Championship. Earlier this year, Shutts competed at the 2013 Head of the Charles and placed in the top-10.
“All the Cal coaches have been impressed with Kendra Shutts,” said O’Neill. “She’s a determined, focused and direct athlete who knows how to make the most of her athletic ability. She’s established herself as one of the top rowers at one of the best clubs in the country. She has exactly the mindset we value at Cal.”
Having only recently begun rowing in her hometown of San Diego, Calif., Tatro has produced immediate success on the national scene. As a novice last spring, Tatro won Silver in the Quadruple Sculls at the 2013 Southwest Junior Regional Championships, and finished fourth overall in the same event at the 2013 USRowing Youth National Championships. That success earned her a spot in the USRowing Junior Women's National Team Selection Camp. Now in her second year of rowing, Tatro won a Silver Medal this fall at the 2013 Head of the Charles Regatta in the Youth Women's Double with the San Diego Rowing Club.
“Lexie Tatro is the type of athlete coaches love to have on their teams, and she’s really doing well under the guidance of one of the USA’s top rowers, Susan Francia,” O’Neill said. “She has all the physical tools to be great, but more importantly her attitude and work ethic are what set her apart. She loves a challenge and is willing to go that extra mile to be certain she reaches her goals. There are some outstanding athletes in California, and I’d put Lexi at the top of that list in any sport.”
Each member of the Bears’ nineteen-member recruiting class will enroll at California in the fall of 2014.