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Bronchos Dominate Women's Rowing All-Conference Awards
The 11 First Team All-GNAC selections pose following the 2021 GNAC Women's Rowing Championships. Photo by Steve Gibbons.
The 11 First Team All-GNAC selections pose following the 2021 GNAC Women's Rowing Championships. Photo by Steve Gibbons.

Friday, May 21, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – After winning the inaugural GNAC championship and qualifying once again for the NCAA Championships, Central Oklahoma swept all of the special awards to lead selections to the 2020-21 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Rowing All-Conference Team.

Bronchos’ senior Megan Dwarshuis was named by coaches as the Rower of the Year while senior Madisyn Kitchell was named the Coxswain of the Year award. Second-year UCO head coach Brian Ebke was named the Coach of the Year. Faith Brooks was named the Freshman of the Year while junior Sage Kroeker received Newcomer of the Year honors.

Central Oklahoma picked up five of the 11 First Team All-GNAC selections. Joining Dwarshuis and Kitchell are seniors Kateryna Klymenko, Siobhan Quirke and Shelby Wackerly. Seattle Pacific had three first-team selections in seniors Megan Chalfant and Gillian Edgar and junior Jennifer Hoag.

Western Washington seniors Maddie Bangasser and Jessica Smithlin earned first-team honors while Humboldt State landed one selection in junior Malia Seeley.

A three-time All-American, Dwarshuis rowed in the No. 2 or No. 3 seat of the Varsity 8+ all season. The eight won in all but one regatta it raced in this season and won the GNAC championship in an impressive time of 6:29.85. Kitchell reprised her role as the UCO Varsity 8+ coxswain from the 2019 NCAA championship team, leading the Bronchos’ crew all season. Brooks held the No. 6 seat on the Varsity 8+ all season while Kroeker was in the No. 1 seat of the Bronchos’ GNAC champion Varsity 4+ crew.

Ebke coached a Central Oklahoma team in 2021 that was No. 1 in the Pocock/College Rowing Coaches Association Division II Poll all season. In addition to the yearlong success of the eight, the Bronchos’ Varsity 4+ won the GNAC championship by two seconds.

Klymenko, Wackerly and Quirke were part of the UCO Varsity 8+ lineup all season. Klymenko rowed in the bow seat for the Bronchos at the GNAC Championships. Wackerly spent the season in the No. 3 or No. 4 seat all season while Quirke held down the bow seat.

Seattle Pacific’s three selections spent the full year rowing with the Varsity 8+ crew. Edgar and Chalfant held down the No. 5 and 6 seats in the boat before moving to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, for the GNAC Championships. Hoag spent most of the season in the bow seat before moving to the stroke for the GNAC Championships.

Both Bangasser and Smithlin wrapped up solid four-year careers for the Vikings with their appearances in the Varsity 8+ the GNAC Championships. Smithlin rowed in the stroke seat at the conference regatta while Bangasser rowed in the No. 2 seat. Both rowers were 2020 Pocock/CRCA All-Americans and were members of the Vikings’ 2018 runner-up and 2019 third-place Varsity 8+ crews at the NCAA Championships.

Seeley and the rest of the Lumberjacks’ team were unable to compete until the GNAC Championships due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeley was in the No. 2 seat of the HSU Varsity 4+, which rowed a time trial at the championships after being scratched from the championship race due to an equipment issue.

2020-21 GNAC WOMEN'S ROWING ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM
Rower of the Year: Megan Dwarshuis, Central Oklahoma
Coxswain of the Year: Madisyn Kitchell, Central Oklahoma
Coach of the Year: Brian Ebke, Central Oklahoma
Freshman of the Year: Faith Brooks, Central Oklahoma
Newcomer of the Year: Sage Kroeker, Central Oklahoma

FIRST TEAM      
Name School Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Megan Dwarshuis Central Oklahoma Sr. Grand Rapids, Mich. (Forest Hills Northern)
Kateryna Klymenko Central Oklahoma Sr. Kyiv, Ukraine (Kyiv Sport Lyceum)
Siobhan Quirke Central Oklahoma Sr. Long Beach, Calif. (Los Alamitos)
Shelby Wackerly Central Oklahoma Sr. Edmond, Okla. (Deer Creek)
Madisyn Kitchell Central Oklahoma Sr. Yukon, Okla. (Yukon)
Megan Chalfant Seattle Pacific Sr. Roseville, Calif. (Woodcreek)
Gilllian Edgar Seattle Pacific Sr. Seattle, Wash. (King’s)
Jennifer Hoag Seattle Pacific Jr. Normandy Park, Wash. (Seattle Christian)
Maddie Bangasser Western Washington Sr. Sammamish, Wash. (Eastlake)
Jessica Smithlin Western Washington Sr. Orting, Wash. (Orting)
Malia Seeley Humboldt State Jr. Polson, Mont. (Polson)
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