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Rowing Rams included in Top Ten in Nation

By Patricia Sundman, 05/26/19, 11:30PM EDT


The Ram Crew team traveled far to compete in nationals. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

In May of every year, the top schools from across the nation compete at one of eight qualifying regattas that provide an opportunity for rowers to advance to Nationals. These qualifying regattas are held in Florida, the Midwest, New Jersey, Virginia, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and the West Coast.

If you don’t live on the East Coast, qualifying means you will be travelling some distance to one of these events, as Rockford does each year to the Midwest qualifying regatta, to compete against rowers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the western half of Pennsylvania. The result was 156 schools competing at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Nationals Championship on Memorial Day weekend.  Competing at this event is large honor, representing countless hours of hard work, dedication, endurance and support of all your team members.  Participation draws interest from colleges and prestige for your school.

This year, Rockford qualified for three boats to attend the Nationals competition with a result of top ten spots in the nation.

 The Women Lightweight 8+ boat earned seventh in the nation, with Madison Boss, Makenzie Rutgers, Caitlin Weiss, Anastasia Motta, Riley Peterson, Eden Shaw, Emma Bray, Kahlan Dukes, and Coxswain Rory McMahon.  The Women JV 8+ boat, featuring Sophia Stauffer, Ally Kinstle, Avery Sluiter, Hannah Burmania, Courtney Mathis, Amanda Skarda, Amelia Sundman, Chloe Merritt, and Coxswain Callie Perini, earned eighth place in the country.  Rockford Senior Emma Lassig finished 13th in the nation in the Women Varsity 1x.  Additionally, Emma Laplante, Dana Hammer, Courtney Cocuzza, and Isabella MacKenzie qualified to attend as well.

Many Rockford families made the journey to ring out the cowbell on Dillon Lake, Ohio and cheer on the Rockford team. It was an incredible weekend for strengthening friendships and skills and bonding over this sport that so many have fallen in love with.  Tremendous appreciation is had for coaches Dilan Itter, Grant Hoffman, and Jeff Durant for spending their holiday weekend with the athletes and for the hours of volunteering from parents and families for the successful trip.

Congratulating the team following their success, head women’s coach Dilan Itter noted the pride in their accomplishments followed with, “Training for Nationals 2020 starts Monday.”

Rockford Rowing will host a variety of “learn to row” and advanced classes this summer. Middle and high school students will have the opportunity to learn the sport, as well as adults, through the Rockford Community Education program. To learn more about the program, visit

Rockford Rocking Alumni and collegiate rowers Casey McMahon and Claire Sundman, attending Nationals to cheer on their baby sisters Rory and Amelia, who competed at Nationals this Memorial Day weekend. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Sophia Stauffer, Courtney Cocuzza, Amanda Skarda, Ally Kinstle and Hannah Burmania need more cowbell. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Rockford Junior Emma Laplante at the SRAA National Championship Regatta. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

I Play Crew. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

The 8th place JV 8+ rowing out to the start of their race. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

The Lightweight 8+ launching for their race which earned them 7th in the nation. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

The launch of the JV 8+ following Dilan's traditional "Woah." ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Avery Sluiter doing the traditional Hokey Pokey before launch with her team. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Hannah Burmania and Ally Kinstle at the SRAA National Championships. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Volunteer coach Jeff Durant breaking down the race with the Lightweight 8. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Freshman Dana Hammer volunteered to help with the finish line. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Head Women's Coach Dillan Itter strategizing with the Lightweight 8. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Rockford Senior Emma Lassig earned the 13th in the nation spot in the Women Single. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

7th in the Nation in Womens Lightweight 8+ is Caitlin Weiss, Emma Bray, Riley Peterson, Madison Boss, Dana Hammer, Rory McMahon, Kahlen Dukes, Makenzie Rutgers, Anastasia Motta, and Eden Shaw. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman