Lumberjacks' Logjam Leads Women's Rowing All-Conference
The 12 First Team All-GNAC selections were honored during the awards ceremony at the GNAC Women's Rowing Championships on May 13. Photo by Steve Gibbons.
The 12 First Team All-GNAC selections were honored during the awards ceremony at the GNAC Women's Rowing Championships on May 13. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

Monday, May 22, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – In a season where the GNAC teams have been the class of Division II, Cal Poly Humboldt has emerged towards the top of the conference’s list.

The Lumberjacks’ resurgence was recognized by conference coaches with three of the five special awards to lead the 2022-23 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Rowing All-Conference Team.

Humboldt senior Dana Foley was selected as the Rower of the Year while sophomore Sonja Scollon was named the Coxswain of the Year. Matt Weise, who is in his third year as the Lumberjacks’ head coach, was the unanimous selection as the Coach of the Year.

Foley has been a mainstay in the Humboldt varsity 8+ crew the whole season. She was in the No. 4 seat for the Lumberjacks when they won the D2/D3/Club grand final at the WIRA Championships in April and once again when the team won the varsity 8+ final at the GNAC Championships.

After serving as the coxswain for the varsity 4+ at the Hornet Invitational in March, Scollon was slotted as the coxswain for the varsity 8+ for the remainder of the season. She guided the Lumberjacks both in their run to the D2/D3/Club grand final victory at the WIRA Championships and the win at the GNAC Championships.

After seeing his Cal Poly Humboldt team struggle in his first two seasons as head coach, thanks primarily to COVID-related issues, Weise saw it all come together for an impressive 2022-23 season. In addition to the solid performance at the WIRA Championships and a second-place team finish at the GNAC Championships, Weise guided the program to a No. 1 ranking in the CRCA/Pocock Division II poll in April. Under his leadership, Humboldt is making its first NCAA Championships appearance since 2015.

Cal Poly Humboldt also landed three First Team All-GNAC selections in seniors Molly Urtz, Alyssa Paynton and Malia Seeley. All three rowed in the varsity 8+ crew at both the WIRA Championships and the GNAC Championships. Seeley becomes the conference’s first three-time First Team All-Conference selection.

Western Washington earned the remaining special awards with Taylor Wall receiving the Freshman of the Year award and sophomore Jenae Pusich named the Newcomer of the Year. Wall spent much of the season in the fours for the Vikings before moving to the varsity 8+ in time for the Windermere Cup/Opening Day Regatta. She was in the No. 3 seat for the Vikings varsity 8+ when it placed second at the GNAC Championships.

Pusich saw most of her action in the fours in her first season with the Vikings. She was part of the novice 4+ that placed first at the Covered Bridge Regatta in April and sat in the bow seat for the second varsity 8+ at the Windermere Cup/Opening Day Regatta.

Western Washington also placed two of their strongest rowers in the varsity 8+ on the All-GNAC Team in seniors Lily Bjork and Clarice Ruhlin-Hicks, both of whom earned their second first-team selections.

Conference champion Central Oklahoma saw five earn First Team All-Conference honors. Four were part of the Bronchos’ second-place varsity 8+ at the GNAC Championships, including junior Faith Brooks, a repeat first-team selection, freshman Lauren Clark, freshman Raphaela Sanchez and senior coxswain Sydney Large. Junior Emily Overholt, who was the coxswain on the Bronchos’ winning varsity 4+, was also named to the first team.

Seattle Pacific was represented on the first team by senior Macie Leach, who occupied the No. 2 seat on the varsity 8+ at the GNAC Championships.

All four GNAC squads will put their all-conference talent on display this weekend as all four conference programs participate in the NCAA Division II Championships on Friday and Saturday in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

Rower of the Year:
Dana Foley, Cal Poly Humboldt
Coxswain of the Year:
Sonja Scollon, Cal Poly Humboldt
Coach of the Year:
Matt Weise, Cal Poly Humboldt
Freshman of the Year:
Taylor Wall, Western Washington
Newcomer of the Year:
Jenae Pusich, Western Washington

Name School Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Faith Brooks Central Oklahoma Jr. Georgetown, Texas (Gateway Prep)
Lauren Clark Central Oklahoma Fr. Marietta, Ohio (Marietta)
Raphaela Sanchez Central Oklahoma Fr. Lima, Peru (Piura Peru)
Emily Overholt Central Oklahoma Jr. Ada, Mich. (Forest Hills Northern)
Sydney Large Central Oklahoma Sr. Cedarburg, Wis. (Cedarburg)
Molly Urtz Cal Poly Humboldt Sr. Half Moon Bay, Calif. (Crystal Springs Uplands)
Alyssa Paynton Cal Poly Humboldt Sr. Yucaipa, Calif. (Yucaipa)
*+ Malia Seeley Cal Poly Humboldt Sr. Polson, Mont. (Polson)
Lily Bjork Western Washington Sr. Port Orchard, Wash. (South Kitsap)
* Clarice Ruhlin-Hicks Western Washington Sr. Anchorage, Alaska (West Anchorage)
* Macie Leach Seattle Pacific Sr. Chico Calif. (Pleasant Valley)
* - 2021-22 All-Conference Team 
+ - 2020-21 All-Conference Selection