Openweight Crew Joins Patriot League as an Associate Member

Openweight Crew Joins Patriot League as an Associate Member

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Carolyn Schlie Femovich, Patriot League Executive Director, and Julie Soriero, DAPER Department Head and Athletic Director, announced Friday the addition of MIT as an associate member in the sport of women’s rowing. The Engineers will begin competing in the Patriot League during the 2010 campaign, including the Patriot League Rowing Championship to be held on Sunday, April 25 on the Cooper River in Camden County, N.J.

"We are very pleased with MIT's decision to accept an invitation to join the Patriot League as an associate member," said Femovich. "They share many of the same strong qualities with our current Patriot League membership: a distinguished institution with exemplary academics and high-level athletics, and a commitment to competitive equity and the personal development of their student-athletes.”

“The invitation to join a conference as well-respected as the Patriot League is exciting and challenging for our student-athletes and our coaches. As women’s crew nationally continues to grow and as our program strives for new levels of success, we are pleased to be affiliated and compete with institutions that share similar philosophies and goals.” said Soriero.

The Patriot League does not dictate its members’ competitive schedules, other than requiring attendance at the championship regatta; therefore the Engineers will continue to race at the Eastern Sprints and against EAWRC squads during the regular season. An associate membership with the Patriot League will allow MIT to adapt to the changes that are occurring in the structure of women’s rowing. Beginning in 2011, the NCAA will grant automatic bids to conference winners for a spot at the NCAA Championship. Since the EAWRC is not an NCAA-recognized conference, the Patriot League membership will provide MIT crew with a competitive home in an established Division I conference and the opportunity to advance to the NCAA National Championship.

“Becoming an associate member of the Patriot League is an honor – an incredible opportunity to race very fast crews, and continue to move our program to a new level in Division I rowing,” commented Holly Metcalf, who enters her third campaign as the head coach of MIT’s openweight team. During her competitive career, Metcalf was a six-time member of the U.S. National Team and won five World Championship and Olympic medals, including a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games.

Women’s rowing at MIT has been competing at the NCAA Division I level since September 2001. “The team is looking forward to joining a conference that complements both our academic and athletic commitments,” added junior co-captain Jenna Sternberg. “It will provide us with a challenging competitive opportunity and the possibility of qualifying for the national championship is particularly exciting.”

The Engineers join full-time Patriot League members Bucknell University, Colgate University, the College of Holy Cross, Lehigh University and the United States Naval Academy in the sport of women’s rowing.