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STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford Rowing added six more names Monday to its growing list of current and former rowers competing internationally this summer, as Sabrina Kolker `03 was named to Canada's Women's Pair (W2-) boat for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, while for the 2008 FISA World Rowing Under 23 World Championships, Steph Morrison `08 and Jessi Reel `08 earned spots on the women's eight boats of Canada and the United States, respectively, and Alex Osborne `09 and Silas Stafford `08 were both named to the U.S. Men's Eight boat. Erika Roddy `11 was named to the U.S. Women's Eight which will compete at the 2008 FISA World Rowing Senior And Junior Championships.
The six selections increases the number of current and former Stanford rowers competing in international competitions this summer to 11. The Cardinal now boast six Olympians (four for the U.S., two for Canada), four U23 participants (three U.S., one Canada), and one U.S. Junior National Team member that will be competing on rowing's elite stage this summer.
"The summer of 2008 will set the standard for all Stanford Rowers and Alumnae seeking to perform at the highest levels in our sport," said Stanford Director of Rowing and Men's Head Coach Craig Amerkhanian. "With six Olympians, four Under 23 National Team members, and a rower on the Junior National Team, this is the greatest Cardinal representation on the elite stage in Stanford rowing history. Well done. We salute you all and the example you have provided for each Stanford student-athlete who launches from Redwood Creek."
"Stanford is proof that those who are willing to give their best can achieve their dreams as world-class athletes, and make the most of a world-class education," commented Stanford Women's Rowing Head Coach Yasmin Farooq, who will also be in Beijing for the Olympics as NBC's rowing analyst. "Their accomplishments are not a coincidence. We are so proud of the efforts of all 11 of our Stanford rowers and wish them the very best this summer."
Kolker will make her second Olympic appearance at the Beijing Games this summer, and first in the Women's Pair. She rowed as part of Canada's Women's Eight boat that finished seventh at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. A member of the Stanford Women's Eight that captured the Pac-10 title and claimed third at the NCAA Championships in 2003, Kolker has seen international action with Canada's Women's Four that finished fifth at the 2003 World Championships, as well as the Women's Eight boats that finished fifth at the 2006 World Rowing Championships, fourth at the Linz World Cup in 2007, and sixth at the 2007 World Rowing Championships, respectively.
"I am so excited to have the chance to represent Canada at the Beijing Olympics," Kolker said. "The pair combination I'll be rowing in is a new one and we are excited to test our speed against the other crews on an international stage. While training with the national team here in Canada over the past couple of years, not a day went by where I didn't think about all my wonderful coaches and teammates I had at Stanford. All the memories and lessons learned while at Stanford have helped every step along the way in making my Olympic dreams come true. I look forward to the next five weeks of hard training and final preparations for what I hope will be a memorable and rewarding Olympic experience. Go Card!"
Osborne and Stafford, along with Morrison and Reel, will look to make their mark with the U.S. Men's Eight at the 2008 FISA World Rowing Under 23 World Championships that will take place from July 17-20 in Brandenburg, Germany.
Osborne will be competing in his second Under 23 World Championship in as many years after being part of the boat that finished fourth in Strathclyde, Scotland in 2007. Stafford is also making his second straight appearance at the Under 23s with the Men's Eight, as he and Osborne are two of the three returners from last year's boat. The Stanford duo were part of the Cardinal Men's Eight that finished second at the IRA and captured the Copley Cup in 2007.
"I'm just really excited for this opportunity and I'm looking forward to improving on how we did last year," Osborne said. "I think the fact that so many Stanford rowers have made this boat in the past three years is amazing and I think it's a testament to our coach, Craig, and how he is able to prepare his athletes for college rowing and beyond."
"The selection process is pretty brutal, and it's a relief to have it over with," Stafford noted. "The camp had a lot of workhorses, a lot of big guns, and a lot of slick machines, and it was a challenge to make the boat. It's an honor to represent the USA with these talented athletes. I'm really excited about the lineup. I think it has a lot of potential for speed. By the time we are in Germany we hope to be ready to rumble with the best rowers from around the world."
Morrison and Reel, each named to the CRCA/Pocock All-America First Team in 2008 after leading the Stanford Women's Eight to a silver medal at the NCAA Championships, will compete for the Women's Eight of their respective home countries of Canada and the United States at the Under 23s in just under two weeks. The championships will mark the fourth appearance for Morrision with the Canadian Team, and second straight with the Women's Eight. She had previously rowed with the Women's Pair at the 2005 Under 23 World Championships in Amsterdam, finishing sixth, and with the Women's Four that finished sixth at the 2006 Under 23s in Hazewinkel, Belgium. Last year, Morrision was part of the Women's Eight that finished fourth at the Under 23s. Reel, meanwhile, earned her spot on the U.S. Women's Eight after having previously been an alternate for the U.S. Under 23 Women's Sweep Camp.
"Every year I've been on the U23 team I've worked with different coaches, new selection procedures, and unique coaching styles," commented Morrison. "I really am thankful for Stanford's high-caliber coaching and training which have enabled me to attack the inevitable challenges that come each year and make competing at this level so much fun!!"
"It's exciting to be here and be a part of the U.S. team," said Reel. "Camp was a completely different experience and a whole new kind of challenge. In the moments when discouraged, I thought back to my teammates at Stanford, and everything we accomplished as a team this year, and I am so inspired to work harder, fight stronger, and give more. Rowing is about giving: digging deep and knowing that we have what it takes inside to achieve what we set our minds on together. It is just so exciting to represent Stanford and the USA as we race internationally."
Roddy will compete for the U.S. Junior National Team's Women's Eight at the FISA World Rowing Senior And Junior Championships scheduled for July 22-27 in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. This past season, Roddy was a part of the Stanford Women's Eight boat that claimed silver at both the NCAA Championships and the Pac-10 Championships, and previously, as a prep, was part of the first varsity boats that claimed first, second, and second at the NEIRA Championships from 2005-07, respectively.