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Crew team heads to national championships for first time

May 24, 2012 : By BJ Williams/Liberty University News Service

The Liberty University Crew team will compete in the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championship Regatta May 26-27 on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga.

This will be Liberty’s first appearance at the ACRA Nationals in its third full season as a team.

Liberty Crew is the ninth Club Sport to participate in a national championship this year, joining men's and women's hockey,men’s volleyball, gymnastics, triathlon, paintball, wrestling and disc golf.

The Flames will be competing in three events at nationals: men’s varsity four, women’s lightweight varsity four and women’s novice four.

Junior Austin Jones will lead the men’s varsity four. He will be teaming with Connor Houston and Mitchell Dieudonne, who he rowed with at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia two weeks ago, and Robert Fonnor.

Two recent graduates competing in their final race will lead the women’s varsity four: Amy McGowan and coxswain Toni Ortu. Sophomore Abigail Lenz and junior Lindsey Churchill will join them in the race.

McGowan and Ortu, along with men’s varsity four coxswain Sarah Morris, were all founding members of the crew team in 2009.

Heats begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and finals are set for 9:30 Sunday morning.

The teams practice at Liberty’s Ivy Lake in Forest, Va. Crew is part of Liberty’s 31 Club Sports teams.