By: David West
Northwestern State University’s Crew won its first varsity conference championship, capturing the Women’s Varsity 4+ event at the annual
Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Conference Championships in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
The winning boat consisted of Jami LeBlanc of Hathaway, Melissa Pesacreta of Lafayette, Glory Deaton of Pineville, Holly Smith of Natchitoches and was coxed by Nicole Plunkett of New Orleans.
Twenty-two teams entered the race. NSU advanced from the time trials to the semifinals where the squad posted the fastest overall time. Northwestern State won the championship by five seconds.
NSU Crew Coach Jason Stelly said the crew’s previous highest finish in this event was fifth overall in the grand finals in 2007. Stelly expects the Women’s Varsity 4+ to be very competitive in the national championships.
The SIRA Championships are the largest sprint race in the South. Northwestern State will compete in the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championships May 28-29 in Gainesville, Georgia.