Stanford rowers earn five medals at U-23 World Championships


Stanford rowers collected a total of five medals at the 2011 World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Amsterdam over the weekend. Recent graduate Grace Luczak won gold with the U.S. pair and, along with '11 grad Erika Roddy, took bronze with the U.S. eight. Anna Dawson (2013) collected a silver medal with New Zealand's eight.

Stanford oarsman Austin Hack ('14) helped row the U.S. men's eight to the gold medal as the boat crossed the line in an U23 world-best time of 5:24.31.

Hack now adds the Under-23 gold medal to the Pac-10 bronze medal he won during the collegiate season with Stanford's I Eight boat.

"Austin and his USA teammates have started a trend that we hope continues through the London Olympics," said Stanford men's rowing head coach Craig Amerkhanian. "By winning the gold medal, Austin joins Stanford USA U23 alumni Jamie Schroeder in 2003, Silas Stafford and Alex Osborne in 2008 as USA Under 23 gold medal world champions."

Lining up for the final in a steady downpour and a tailwind gusting from the northwest, Hack and the U.S. boat opened up the race in second position behind the Czech Republic. Making its move at the 750-meter mark, the U.S. took the lead from the Czech crew just before the midway point of the 2,000-meter course and would lead the rest of the way.

In the women's event, Cardinal grad Mechelle Vezie ('11) also participated while rowing with Great Britain's eight that finished sixth in the grand final.

For Luczak the medals brought her total haul over three Under 23 championships appearances to four. She previously won gold with the U.S. eight last year in Belarus and captured silver at the 2009 event in the Czech Republic. Roddy adds her bronze medal to the silver she won as part of that same U.S. eight two years ago in the Czech Republic.

Dawson's silver Sunday was the first Under 23 medal of her career, while Vezie had previously captured gold with the British eight in 2009.

Luczak, rowing in the women's pair with Felice Mueller, captured the first medal of the event among the Stanford rowers Saturday, as she and Mueller set a world-best time of 7:05.13, three boat lengths ahead of second-place Romania. The final time also smashed the previous U.S. U23 pair record by nine seconds.

"Camp (to select the women's pair) was really competitive and we really owe it to all our U.S. teammates for pushing us," Luczak told after the race.

"The conditions associated with a world-best time can often require some of the best technical rowing you've got and the U.S. women's pair definitely stepped up and ran away with it," said Stanford women's rowing head coach Yasmin Farooq. "Knowing Grace, she took all of that enthusiasm from the victory right into the eight final where she and Erika won the bronze with their fellow USA teammates. Having four Stanford women lineup in a final on the elite stage is exciting and a testament to the hard work they've put in together and with their respective teams this summer.

"And now, adding Anna's silver medal in the eight for New Zealand, they have all been on that U23 World Championship medal podium," Farooq continued. "Best yet, I know that when the ceremonies were over, they all got together and had a big hug. We are all extremely proud of them."

— Aaron Juarez/Stanford Sports Information

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