Rowing: UVA signs 19 to National Letters of Intent

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Virginia rowing head coach Kevin Sauer announced this week that 19 student-athletes will join the Cavaliers in the fall of 2022.

The signing class includes Natalie Bailey (Olympia, Wash.), Dylan Bentley (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Sarah Bradford (Oconomowoc, Wis.), Olivia Colston (Alcoa, Tenn.), Ava Dargon (Belmont, Mass.), Hannah Guy (Nashville, Tenn.), Elsa Hartman (Roseville, Calif.), Reilly Katz (Port Washington, N.Y.), Lauren Jochims (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Ashlyn McGinn (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Alison Miller (Blackstone, Mass.), Cillian Mullen (Batavia, Ill.), Lindsay O’Neil (Boston, Mass./George Washington), Katie Rapaglia (Ridgefield, Conn.), Sarah Rapaglia (Ridgefield, Conn.), Riley Richardson (Ottawa, Ont.), Lilly Sutter (Darien, Conn.), Allison Triano (Stamford, Conn./Bucknell) and Catherine Williams (Rye, N.Y.).

“We are very excited about the class of 2026 and believe they can be transformative for our program,” Sauer said. “What is impressive is that they took it upon themselves to be significantly better when they arrive at UVA than when we recruited them.  That kind of character and desire to be a little better every day, and positively affect those around them, will help them be the best community members, students and athletes possible.  Thank you to associate head coach Kelsie Chaudoin, and assistant coaches Annie Thompson and Anne Campbell as well as our team for their commitment to bring good people as well as talented student-athletes into our program.”

Natalie Bailey • 5-10 • Olympia, Wash.

Club: Olympia Area Rowing

Coaches: Richard Hull and Kathryn Reith
• 10th place in 2x at Youth National Championships

“I fell in love with the positive, passionate and driven culture at UVA. I had visited other campuses but when I walked onto UVA, I felt that this was where I belonged. Being around the team and hearing the singing and cheering in the erg room filled me with excitement and I knew I wanted to be a part of that energy. The people I met were hardworking and kind, and that’s the environment I wanted to submerge myself and grow in. I can’t wait to pursue academic and athletic excellence at UVA this fall!”

Dylan Bentley • 5-8 • Basking Ridge, N.J.

Club: Blair Academy Crew

Coach: John Redos

  • Second place Scholastic Nationals in the 4+
    •2022 Youth Nationals Silver in the 4+

“I chose UVA for its high-level academics and athletics. It’s a place where I feel like I could excel and be constantly encouraged to achieve my highest potential. The chemistry of the team and the care exhibited by every member further encouraged me to commit, and I can’t wait for this season to come! Go Hoos!”

Sarah Bradford • 6-2 • Oconomowoc, Wis.

Club: Milwaukee Rowing Club

Coach: Roger Huffman

  • 2x US National Team selection camp invitee

“I chose UVA because of the success of the team along with the prestige of the school. The coaches and girls on the team were so welcoming during the recruiting process and made me feel like I belonged there. It was clear to me that UVA was the best fit.”

Olivia Colston • 5-9 • Alcoa, Tenn.

Club: TriStar

Coach: Katie Moore

  • Club National Champion in Women’s 8+ 2021

“UVA has been my dream school since seventh grade. I love the team atmosphere and the coaches, and I knew I wanted to go after the first time I was on Grounds. UVA is a place where I can focus on getting a great education as well as develop my rowing skills and compete at the highest level. UVA feels like home, and I can’t imagine going anywhere else.”

Ava Dargon • 6-1 • Belmont, Mass.

Club: Riverside Boat Club

Coaches: Mark Grinberg and Hannah Elder

  • U17 1x champion

“I chose UVA because I felt at home when I first arrived. I had an instant connection with the people here and the rowing community. The athletics and academics at Virginia are unparalleled to anywhere else. It helped a TON that the coaches were some of the most involved and passionate people I had ever met. I am so excited to be a part of this incredible team and class of 2026. GO HOOS!!”

Hannah Guy • 5-11 • Nashville, Tenn.

Club: Nashville Juniors

Coach: Cory Sanderson

  • Head of the Charles and Youth National Championship Competitor 2021

“I chose UVA because of the countless academic and athletic opportunities provided. The spirit and supportive community at UVA really stood out to me on my visit. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of such an amazing place.”

Elsa Hartman • 5-10 • Roseville, Calif.

Club: Capital Crew

Coach: Sarah Puddicombe

  • Gold medalist in U.S. 8+ at 2021 World Championships
    • 2022 Youth Nationals Gold in the 2-

“I choose UVA because I loved the supportive team culture, the coaching staff, and everyone I met during my recruiting process. I also knew that Virginia would be a place where I could challenge myself both academically and athletically.”

Lauren Jochims • 5-10 • Pittsburgh, Pa.

Club: Three Rivers Rowing

Coach: Matt Grau

  • National Champion in 2x at 2021 Youth Nationals

“I chose UVA because of the team camaraderie and spirit surrounding the practices, the coaches, other athletic teams, the school, Charlottesville, and Virginia as a whole. From the very first phone call with the coaches and athletes, I knew it’s where I wanted to end up.”

Reilly Katz • 5-10 • Port Washington, N.Y.

Club: Port Rowing

Coach: Isa Rahman

  • Won CRASH-B indoor rowing championships in 2020
  • Won Club Nationals in CanAmMex 8+

“Other than the obvious top-notch academics, I chose UVA because I had an instant connection with the coaches. They cared not only about me as a rower, but equally about me as a person. They wanted to know who I was and what I enjoyed doing when I wasn’t rowing. I loved all the girls I’ve met on the team who are as motivated as I am and just immediately knew it was the perfect place for me. The gorgeous campus and beautiful water are just icing on the cake!”

Ashlyn McGinn • 5-3 • Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Club: Pine Crest Rowing

Coaches: Kristen Larson and Sarah Sullivan

  • 3rd place at Club National Championships

“I chose UVA because I love being able to pursue my passion in psychology and business, while being a part of an amazing and hardworking team and community!!”

Alison Miller • 5-10 • Blackstone, Mass.

Club: St. Mark’s School

Coaches: Clara Babbott-Ward and Liz Cavanagh

  • 1st in U19 2021 8+ 2021 Independence Day Regatta
  • 3rd in U19 4+ at 2021 USRowing Club National Championships
  • 7th in U19 8+ at 2021 USRowing Club National Championships

“Out of all the schools I visited, the combination of high-level athletics and academics at the University of Virginia was unmatched.  The consistent success of UVA rowers on the course and in the classroom was very important for me.  Also, the emphasis on the foundation of the rowing program as strong morals and character by Coach Sauer and Coach Chaudoin drew me to Virginia.  Ultimately, a strong team culture coupled with the success and work ethic of the rowing program helped me feel at home. I am excited to grow as both an athlete and a person during my next four years in Charlottesville.”

Cillian Mullen • 6-0 • Batavia, Ill.

Club: Chicago Rowing Foundation

Coaches: Mike Wallin and Steve Dani

  • 3rd place in Women’s 8+ at Youth National Championships
  • 4th place in Women’s 8+ at Junior World Rowing Championships

“The team made me feel like I was at home and welcome with them from the second I met them. I knew from that moment forward that I had to go to UVA!”

Lindsay O’Neil • 5-11 • Boston, Mass.

Club: Cambridge Boat Club

Coach: Abby Knight

  • 2019 CRASH-B Champion

“I choose UVA because I am looking for a place which has a high emphasis on community. In all aspects, in and out of rowing, Virginia is a thriving example of that.”

Katie Rapaglia • 5-11 • Ridgefield, Conn.

Club: GMS Rowing Center

Coach: Gunter Beutter
• 2nd Place in 4x at 2020 U19 Virtual Championships
• 2022 Youth Nationals Gold in the 4-

“UVA was my top choice from the very beginning because it is such a great school with a great rowing program. I also felt a strong connection with the school during my official visit. Everyone was super friendly and cool, and the team and coaching staff made me feel very welcome throughout the whole process. I truly can’t wait to be a part of such a supportive team environment!”

Sarah Rapaglia • 5-11 • Ridgefield, Conn.

Club: GMS Rowing Center

Coach: Gunter Beutter
• 2nd Place in 4x at 2020 U19 Virtual Championships

  • 2022 Youth Nationals Gold in the 4-

“I ultimately chose UVA because I loved the coaches and everyone I met who was associated with the school. Good vibes from everyone!”

Riley Richardson • 6-2 • Ridgefield, Conn.

Club: Ottawa Rowing Center

Coach: Zak Lewis

  • Named Rowing Canada NextGen future Olympian in 2022

“I chose UVA because it is such an outstanding program with amazing coaching and team atmosphere. The academic programs and support are first class, and the campus is spectacular. When I visited UVA, I knew Charlottesville would be my home for the next four years!”

Lilly Sutter • 6-0 • Darien, Conn.

Club: Greenwich Rowing Club

Coaches: Catherine Starr and Heidi Hunsberger

  • 2021 Youth 8+ National Champion

“It was very important to me to find a school where I would be academically challenged and supported. I wanted to be part of a team that was both highly competitive and positive. I want to be surrounded by teammates who will push me every day to become a better rower and person, preparing me for life after college. UVA had all of the above and I am thankful to have found my people and my new home for the next four years.”

Allison Triano • 5-1 • Stamford, Conn./Bucknell

Club: Connecticut Boat Club

Coach: Liz Trond

  • 15th place at 2019 Head Of The Charles

“I chose UVA due to its incredible ability to push me as an athlete on the water and as a student in the classroom. The environment is one that cultivates personal and community growth and success.”

Catherine Williams • 6-2 • Rye, N.Y.

Club: Row America Rye

Coach: Marko Serafimovski

  • 2nd place Youth 8+ at Youth National Championships
  • 3rd place Youth 8+ at Head of the Charles
  • 2022 Youth Nationals Bronze in the 8+

“Beginning my recruiting process in the peak of the pandemic, it was virtually impossible to visit schools or take officials. All of my decisions and opinions were based solely on my perception of team culture via calls with coaches, communication with current athletes and meetings with alumni. After making my commitment and stepping on Grounds for the first time, I knew that I had made the right decision. Virginia Women’s Rowing is not only a successful team, but a family. Their love for both rowing and one another is contagious and was a community I felt compelled to be a part of.”