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CLASS OF 2018 IRL FELLOWS

Emilie Johnston IRL Class Of 2018 

Emilie Johnston

B.S. - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Emilie Johnston discovered her love for rowing in middle school with the Albany Rowing Center. While at ARC, she won a New York State Championship and raced in numerous USRowing Youth National Championships and Royal Canadian Henley Finals. After high school, Emilie continued her rowing career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at Wisconsin, she was fortunate to be able to train with an incredible group of women who furthered her love of the sport.

As an underclassman, Emilie won a gold medal at the Big 10 Championship and raced in the U23 4x final at Canadian Henley, but ultimately an injury forced her to transition from athlete to manager in the spring of her junior year. For the remainder of her time in Madison, she was able to ride in the launch with, and learn from, the coaches at Wisconsin. It was during this time that she developed an interest in coaching. Upon graduating in May of 2016, Emilie moved back to Albany where she began coaching junior boys and masters, as well as running various youth and adult learn to row programs at Albany Rowing Center.

Outside of rowing, Emilie enjoys hiking, snowboarding, cooking and cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers. She joins the IRL excited to grow as a coach while learning from many excellent role models.

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 Katie Jones IRL Class of 2018

Katie Jones

B.S. - Colorado State University & B.N. - Thomas Jefferson University

An avid athlete and lover of sports, especially those involving water, Katie Jones had noticed rowing from a distance as she biked along the Schuylkill River while attending nursing school in Philadelphia. She never had the opportunity to row until a few years later when she joined High Point Rowing Club in North Carolina. After quickly falling in love with the sport, Katie competed primarily with masters women, and a few times with her husband in a double. They took first place at the Head of the South in 2015 and competed the following fall at the Head of the Hooch.

In 2016, Katie had the opportunity to coach youth and masters for the first time. To her surprise, this sparked a new passion and excitement towards coaching. While not on the water, Katie works full-time as a labor and delivery nurse where she thoroughly enjoys helping women complete the marathon of childbirth. Katie is a natural encourager and loves fighting for people, whether that is in the hospital or from the coaching launch. 

Katie and her husband, Scott, are in the beginning stages of developing the North Carolina Rowing Center, a new community rowing organization in Greensboro, NC. Katie met her husband in college while working for Noah’s Ark, an outdoor adventure company in Colorado that specialized in whitewater rafting, backpacking and rock climbing. The water they work on now is flat, hopefully, but the unforgettable experiences they desire to offer is the same. This next endeavor reflects a natural outpouring of what Katie loves and who she is. 

Katie is looking forward to learning as much as she can at the IRL. She is eager to build a toolbelt to use in her future endeavors as she translates what she is learning at the IRL to her vision for another rowing community in Greensboro. Outside of rowing and coaching, Katie enjoys sailing in Northern Michigan with her family, having potlucks with friends, helping deliver babies, and running long distances in the woods.

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 Scott Jones IRL Class of 2018

Scott Jones

B.S. - Elon University

Born and raised in North Carolina, Scott Jones has been an active athlete his entire life; however, it wasn’t until his mid-twenties that he was introduced to the sport of rowing. While working EMS, his partner on the ambulance invited him to a masters practice in the fall of 2014 where he quickly fell in love with the sport. The next spring, he competed with the masters team of High Point Rowing Club, and had the opportunity to begin coaching their middle school rowers. He and his wife, Katie, worked their way to a first-place finish in the mixed double event at the Head of the South in 2015. Throughout the following year, the sport of rowing transitioned from a twice a week activity, to a potentially new career path.

After being involved with his local rowing club for nearly two years, Scott had the opportunity to be the head coach for the club’s expansion to their second location. This was Scott’s first full-time coaching position, and where he experienced lives being truly transformed through the sport. From middle school rowers who developed self-confidence, to adults that now had an excitement for Monday morning, Scott knew that rowing was a career he could dedicate his life towards. 

Scott and his wife drove to Boston to visit CRI in the winter of 2017 while they were in the process of developing a vision for the North Carolina Rowing Center, a new community rowing organization they are starting in Greensboro, NC. Scott was introduced to the IRL while in Boston, and concluded that it is the perfect foundation for his career in rowing. He is looking forward to learning from the best, and bringing that knowledge back to North Carolina. His passion for people and love of fostering healthy communities where anyone feels welcome fuels his excitement for rowing.

When he’s not doing rowing related activities, Scott enjoys driving more than most, loves to sail, and is usually working on a side project or two. His friends and family mean the world to him, and he’s pretty content doing anything if the right people are there. 

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 Diego Mejia Petersen IRL Class Of 2018

Diego Mejia Petersen

B.L. & J.D. - San Martín de Porres University (Peru)

Diego Mejia Petersen joins the IRL from his native Peru where he balanced his time between coaching with Club de Regatas “Lima” and as an independent lawyer. During his senior high school year of high school, Diego gave up his previous sport of martial arts, which he had practiced since the age of 10, and began rowing representing his Nuestra Señora del Carmen (Carmelitas) School. After graduating high school in 1998, he began rowing for Club de Regatas "Lima" as a novice while sharing his time with his law studies. Two years later, this led to an opportunity coaching youth rowers during summer camps.  

After having coached for four years at summer camps, Diego transitioned to a full-time coach/athlete in 2005. Alongside his own training, he coached young men and women primarily in the under 15 and under 16 age groups. In addition, he has also coached at the international level with the Peruvian National Team in several competitions.

Off the water, Diego loves to spend time with his family, practicing sports, and going to the soccer stadium with friends.

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 Rachel Purington IRL Class Of 2018

Rachel Purington

B.A. - University of Rhode Island

Rachel Purington first discovered her love for rowing in her sophomore year of high school. It could have been a year earlier, but her mom said she couldn’t join her freshman year as she didn’t understand why she needed $500 to “row a boat” and it took a year to convince her otherwise. While never the fastest rower on her team, Rachel always gave 110% effort and enjoyed every minute of the time spent on the water. Her senior year, she was awarded the “Little Green Award” which is given to an athlete who demonstrated leadership and determination in the classroom and on the playing “field”. 

In fall of 2013, Rachel began her next chapter at the University of Rhode Island and realized she couldn’t let rowing leave her life just yet. Within her first five hours at URI, she was in contact with the URI Men’s Rowing Team, switched from rowing to coxing, and would become the varsity coxswain for her four years at URI. In her URI coxing career, highlights have included earning silver and bronze medals at the New England Rowing Championships, placing 4th in the Men’s Varsity 4+ in 2016 at the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta and coxing in the Head of the Charles Regatta each of her four years in college.

After many hours of trying to figure out her post-college plans, Rachel decided that she was still not ready to retire from rowing and took the next step of joining the IRL program to move from the athlete side of the megaphone to the coaching side. In her free time, Rachel loves spending time with her standard poodle Bode, skiing, hiking the Presidential Mountain Range in New Hampshire, and spending time with her friends.

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 Annalise Routenberg IRL Class of 2018

Annalise Routenberg

B.A. - Boston University

Annalise Routenberg love of rowing began in 2010 with Arlington-Belmont Crew on Spy Pond in nearby Arlington, Mass. where she found the competitive aspects of rowing paired with the family atmosphere of the team to be invaluable. After four years of high school rowing, Annalise was recruited to Boston University and had a strong desire to row for BU due to the rich tradition and history of rowing there, with her inspirations being the 1991 and 1992 National Champion crews. A history major at BU, she was elected as team captain in her junior year and was honored by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) as a Division I All Region First Team Athlete in 2016 when she stroked the Varsity 8 to a Patriot League Championship.

During her collegiate summers, Annalise rowed competitively for Riverside Boat Club's under-23 women's sweep team, and served as a team captain for the 2016 summer. With Riverside, she competed at the Royal Canadian Henley, finishing second in the U23 8+ in 2015. Annalise also served as an assistant coach for both the junior men's and women's teams at Riverside in the summer of 2016. 

At the IRL, Annalise hopes to embody CRI’s mission of "Rowing For All" by working to ensure that rowing can be more accessible and leave it's mark on every community.

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 Ben Urbanowski IRL Class of 2018

Ben Urbanowski

B.S. - Mercyhurst University

Ben Urbanowski began his rowing career at Gibraltar Carlson High School in Gibraltar, Michigan. While a three-sport athlete, he focused primarily on rowing with the highlight of his high school career racing in the CSSRA Championships and the Canadian Henley Regatta.

Ben went on to join the lightweight men’s team at Mercyhurst University and while earning his degree in exercise science; he was able to experience collegiate rowing at its highest levels. Ben credits the lessons learned on and off the water with his team as some of the most influential points in his life. Ben moved around boats throughout his Mercyhurst career, primarily being in the second varsity eight or the varsity four. Ben also rowed for Wyandotte Boat Club and Penn AC during the summer seasons.

After realizing how powerful of an impact rowing made on his life, Ben chose to go into coaching after college to help others realize their potentials. Currently, Ben coaches the men and women at Franklin & Marshall College and has helped guide the team to unprecedented success with the women’s team their first ranking ever in the CRCA Coaches Poll and the highest placing at the MARC Championship.

When not coaching, Ben enjoys coffee, running, and cycling. Ben is excited to join the IRL to push himself to be the best coach he can be.

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 Mackenzie Whiteside IRL Class of 2018

Mackenzie Whiteside

B.S. - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Growing up in the foothills of the Colorado Mountains, Mackenzie Whiteside was involved in a wide variety of sports. She swam competitively for eight years and when she wasn’t in the water, she was in the mountains hiking, biking and skiing with her family. It wasn’t until her sophomore year of high school that she discovered rowing and joined Mile High Rowing Club. Throughout her years as a junior, her passion for the sport developed quickly and she knew that rowing in college was just the next step. After a 6th place finish in the four at Youth Nationals, Mackenzie joined the lightweight rowing program at the University of Wisconsin in the fall of 2012.

While at Wisconsin, Mackenzie was a two-time IRA National Champion in the lightweight four, a four-time Wisconsin varsity letter recipient and two-time Eastern Sprints champion. As a three-year team captain, Mackenzie gained a lot of experience working with her teammates and a variety of coaches. These experiences opened her eyes to the impact a coach can have on their athletes’ lives, which peaked her own interest in pursuing it as a career. After graduating with a degree in genetics, Mackenzie stayed in Madison to work as a volunteer assistant coach for the lightweight novice team at Wisconsin. Throughout the year, she enjoyed working with the novices develop not only as individual athletes, but also as teammates. She was also very fortunate to have a great group of coaches at Wisconsin who mentored her in her transition from athlete to coach. 

Off the water, Mackenzie enjoys the outdoors, exploring new places, and getting involved in the community. She loves to get back to the Colorado mountains when she can and is so grateful for the support of her parents, Bob and Bev, and twin brother, Cameron. She is beyond excited to join the IRL class of 2018 and is looking forward to developing the coaching skills necessary to help her future athletes thrive.

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The Institute for Rowing Leadership is accredited at the highest level (Level 5) offered by NCACE and is the only accredited US coaching education program in rowing ever.

   

PHOTO CREDIT: DAMIAN STROHMEYER