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Tulsa Rowing Adds Eight for Fall 2013 Roster

June 27, 2013

Tulsa, Oklahoma - Kevin Harris, head coach of the Tulsa rowing team announced the addition of eight athletes for the fall of 2013. Rowers Nicole Barber, Jenny Casson, Skylar Luttjehuizen, Phoebe Mulligan, Sarah Palilionis, Lauren Simpson and Bonnie Wease, along with coxswain Brianna Vander Berg, will bring Tulsa's 2013 incoming class to 24 student-athletes.

"I am humbled and appreciative," Harris said. "We worked hard to recruit this group and it paid off. They are going to be strong contributors to the team we are continuing to create here. These women saw the quality of our current team and formed strong bonds with each other before they ever committed to TU. The Class of 2017 is arriving at a critical time for Tulsa given this year of transition to a new conference, and they have the potential to contribute a lot to our success over the next few years."


Nicole Barber (Oak Ridge HS, Oak Ridge, Tenn.) comes to Tulsa having rowed three years for the Atomic Rowing Club where she is coached by Allen Eubanks. Her home club is the sight of many prestigious regattas in the United States, including the Conference USA Rowing Championships. During her time at Atomic, Barber has rowed in either the Varsity 8+ or Varsity 4+ as a Lightweight. Her team won a silver medal at the 2012 Head of the Ohio, and she recently rowed in a Varsity 4+ that earned a silver medal at the USRA Southeast Regional and finished sixth in the "C" final at Youth Nationals.

Why Tulsa? - "I chose Tulsa over many others because of the friendly nature of the city and the campus. Another plus was the school's size. The academic and athletic programs provided the perfect synergy for me."







Jenny Casson (Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute, Kingston, Ontario, Canada) comes to Tulsa after having been a competitive runner and a two-year rower on the teams at KCVI and the Kingston Rowing Club. She and her teammates earned first-place finishes in the Varsity 8+ and Varsity 4+ at the 2013 Eastern Rowing Association Championship in Montreal. Most recently, she competed with her Kingston teammates at the Women's Henley Regatta in England and advanced to the second round. Casson has also been chosen by Rowing Canada as a member of their 2013 CanAMex Team. She will represent her country in Oklahoma City against teams from America and Mexico on July 11-13, 2013. Casson is coached by Brad Brennan and will join current teammate Sarah Palilionis as a classmate at Tulsa.

Why Tulsa? - "I chose Tulsa because of the size of the school and the fact that it takes care of its student-athletes. I also love their dedication to the team."







Skylar Luttjehuizen (E.L. Crossley HS, Dunnville, Ontario, Canada) comes to Tulsa with a multisport background in volleyball and rowing. She has rowed for four year with E.L. Crossley High School and the South Niagara Rowing Club where she is coached by John Ruscitti, Pat MacNally and Swede Burak. Luttjehuizen earned a silver medal in the Lightweight Double Sculls at the 2013 Stotesbury Cup in Philadelphia, Pa., and her team has also been strong at the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Championships where she earned gold medals in multiple events. Recently, Luttjehuizen and her teammates won the Junior 8+ event at the 2013 Women's Henley Regatta in England. She will also represent Canada on July 11-13 at the CanAmex Regatta in Oklahoma City, Okla. She will row at Tulsa with current teammate and TU fall signee, Maria Gearing, as well as her former Crossley teammate and TU sophomore Sam Tober.

Why Tulsa? - "Because of the amazing feeling I had when I stepped on campus. The team and the coaches push all of the athletes to do well in their school work, as well as athletics which is important to me. I chose TU because I immediately felt like I was at home."





Phoebe Mulligan (Royal Portora School, Enniskilling, United Kingdom) comes to Tulsa as an accomplished rower from Northern Ireland. She is coached by former Irish Olympian Derek Holland at the Portora Boat Club where she has had many successes in her career. Phoebe serves as Club Captain at Portora and has earned medals in many regattas, including the Lagan Head and Erne Head of the River. In August of 2013, Mulligan will represent Ireland as a member of its junior squad rowing at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Why Tulsa? - "I visited Tulsa and was very impressed with the academic opportunities, rowing facilities and team spirit."










Sarah Palilionis (Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute, Inverary, Ontario, Canada) comes to Tulsa after having a successful swimming and rowing career in Kingston. She is coached by Brad Brennan and will be joined at Tulsa by her current teammate Jenny Casson. She participated in the 2012 Canadian Henley and won the 2013 Eastern Rowing Association Championships in the Varsity 8+ and Varsity 4+. Most recently, she competed with her Kingston teammates at the Women's Henley Regatta in England advancing to the second round.

Why Tulsa? - "I chose Tulsa because the balance between academics and athletics will help me to excel. The environment welcomed me and made me feel like I was already a part of the Tulsa family."








Lauren Simpson (Notre Dame HS, Chattanooga, Tenn.) is a four-year rower at the Chattanooga Rowing Club where she is coached by Jack Fish. Simpson has had a steady rise in her sculling career at Chattanooga, and in 2013 her Junior Quad finished second at the John Hunter Regatta and fourth at the Southeast Regional. Her quad also competed at the 2013 Youth Nationals.

Why Tulsa? - "TU was welcoming to me, and the campus and team feel more like home and a family."










Brianna Vander Berg (Rockford HS, Rockford, Mich.) is a four-year coxswain who is coached by Rob Johnson and Tim Vallier at Rockford High School. Vander Berg has coxed boats to Michigan state titles and a Midwest Scholastic title. Most recently she coxed the Rockford Junior 8+ to a second-place finish at the Midwest Scholastic Championships. At the weather-shortened 2013 CSSRA Championships her Four also finished with a silver medal.

Why Tulsa? - "I chose Tulsa because of the size of the school, the quality of the education, the attentiveness of the faculty and the wonderful rowing team."








Bonnie Wease (Ursuline Academy, St. Louis, Mo.) is a new rower with the St. Louis Rowing Club where she is coached by Tim Franck. Despite her brief time in the sport, Wease comes to Tulsa having earned multiple medals while racing in regattas throughout the Midwest.

Why Tulsa? - "I chose Tulsa because of the great Film Studies program and the fact that it had rowing. Tulsa made me feel welcome from the first moment I stepped on campus."



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Contact Natasha Ostopovich at natasha-ostopovich@utulsa.edu