Quaker Valley senior Jane Merriman will head west to continue her rowing career.
Merriman, a 17-year-old coxswain on the Three Rivers Rowing junior team, signed with the University of Wisconsin women’s team last week.
She chose the Badgers over Indiana, Iowa and Michigan.
“Wisconsin has everything I was looking for,” said Merriman, who plans to study business management. “It combines high-caliber academics and a great business school along with a strong, top-tier rowing program.”
Wisconsin has qualified for the NCAA championships in seven consecutive seasons — and 10 of the last 11 — and finished 16th in 2013 and 2014.
After winning the Big Ten championship in 2010, the Badgers finished third in the conference each of the last four seasons.
Merriman was one of 20 junior women selected for a U.S. Rowing High Performance Team that competed at the club national championships in July 2013.
Competing for the third straight year, she was on a Three Rivers Rowing entry that placed 37th in women’s youth 8-plus at the Head of the Charles Regatta — the world’s largest two-day rowing event — in Boston last month. She was 32nd last year and 37th in 2012.
Following gold-medal performances at the Head of the Ohio Regatta in women’s youth 4-plus and 8-plus last fall, she went on to finish fourth in similar events at the Midwest Junior Rowing Championship in the spring.
Wisconsin associate head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno is enthusiastic about the 5-foot Merriman joining the Badgers.
“Her skilled coxing, along with her wonderful personality, (makes) her the perfect fit for our team,” Carcagno said. “She’s outgoing, in charge and extremely confident.
“She’s the perfect size and with her desire to win (will) be a key component in our success.”
Three Rivers junior coach Steve McCarthy is impressed by Merriman’s leadership skills.
“Jane is incredibly well organized,” he said.
Rick Brown, executive director and former head junior coach at Three Rivers Rowing, said he considers Merriman an ideal crew leader.
Merriman, who will receive a partial scholarship, is one of two junior team members to have signed with a major college program so far.
Madison Hrynda, a North Hills senior who occupied the fifth seat in the boat at the Head of the Charles this year, will row at West Virginia.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.