Tuesday, 16 June 2009 15:03
Maggie Ajello has won a gold medal for the Loyola College (MD) women’s varsity crew team at the Dad Vail National Collegiate Rowing Championship.
The ‘Dad Vail,’ which is held on Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, is the largest collegiate regatta in the United States. Maggie rowed the 2 seat in the women’s novice 4 heavyweight class 1500 meter race. The field of 53 entrants included boats from powerful programs including Purdue, UConn, Tulsa, and Delaware. The Loyola novice four, which was undefeated for the season, dominated the competition from the start and finished first in the qualifying trials, heats, and race final. Their gold medal winning time of five minutes and 19.55 seconds beat the second-place finisher by 9 seconds. They became the first boat in the history of Loyola’s crew program to win a gold medal in a national championship race!
Maggie, who was an All League middle blocker for Sacred Heart Academy‘s 2007 New York State Catholic High School Class AA Championship Volleyball team, hoped to win another championship in college. This time, however, she brought her winning experience from the volleyball net to the open water of collegiate rowing. Maggie was encouraged by her freshman roommate to try out for the crew team after she finished her first season playing for Loyola’s volleyball club. Her experience racing sailboats on Fire Island’s Great South Bay made it an easy decision to return to competitive racing. The combination of impressive ergo meter times, boat trials, height and athletic ability landed her a spot on Loyola’s division one varsity squad. She won six gold and two silver medals racing in eight regional and national regattas, including Loyola’s victory in the 2009 MAAC (Mid Atlantic Athletic Conference) women’s team championship.
Loyola’s head coach Al Ramirez believes Maggie has a bright future racing at the collegiate level. A full squad of rowers will return next season for the Greyhounds, and they’ll be an exciting team to watch in 2009-2010.