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Dec. 10, 2014

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—Virginia rowing head coach Kevin Sauer announced Wednesday (Dec. 10) that 11 student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Cavaliers in the fall of 2015.

The class includes Lexi Bralver, Olivia Decker, Catherine Fleming, Georgia Gray, Mackenzie King, Heidi Long, Margaret Manley, Alexandra Natale, Alex Slabbert, Julia Volpenhein and Izzi Weiss.

“This is a very talented, driven and diverse class,” Sauer said. “All of us are excited to welcome them to UVa!”

10615833.jpeg Lexi Bralver
5-1 Coxswain
Westport, Conn. – Greens Farms Academy
Saugatuck Rowing Club
Coach: Chase Graham
• Coxed Saugatuck to first place in women’s youth 8+ at 2014 Head of the Charles
• Coxed junior A 4+ to first place at 2014 USRowing Club Nationals
• Coxed fourth-place women’s youth 8+ at 2013 Head of the Charles

“When I came and visited the school and got a chance to spend time with the rowers and coaches, I could tell how hard everyone worked and how much everyone loved being on the team,” Bralver said. “After seeing what a competitive yet close-knit team it was, I just realized, ‘Wow, I really want to be a part of that.'”

Olivia Decker
Westport, Mass. – St. Andrew’s School
Coach: Wilson Everhart
• Medaled in four events at the Cooper Cup Regatta

“I chose to come to UVa not only because of its incredible academics, but also because of the amazing team and coaches,” Decker said.

Catherine Fleming
New York, N.Y. – Deerfield Academy
Coach: Eve Goldenberg
• Placed fifth with 2V4+ at 2014 New England Rowing Championships

“UVa combined all the things I was looking for in a school — excellent and diverse academics, history and traditions, a well-rounded student body and exciting athletic opportunities,” Fleming said. “I have met many students and alumni who all speak very highly of their experiences at UVa. I felt the same way when I first visited UVa and instantly knew that this was the school I wanted to go to. Seeing other schools only strengthened my resolve to be a part of this amazing community.”

Georgia Gray
Seattle, Wash. – King’s High School
Seattle Rowing Center
Coach: Conal Groom
• Placed seventh overall with U.S. women’s quad at 2014 World Junior Championships in Hamburg, Germany
• USRowing Junior National Team member
• Second in women’s 4x at 2012 USRowing Youth Nationals
• Fourth in women’s 4x at 2013 USRowing Youth Nationals

“I chose to come to UVa because of the positivity of the coaches and the feeling of unity I got from the team,” Gray said.

Heidi Long
Buckinghamshire, England – Beaconsfield High School
Marlow Rowing Club
Coach: Bret King
• Placed seventh overall with Great Britain’s women’s four at 2014 World Junior Championships
• Junior British national champion in the women’s double and quad

“It will be an incredible experience and one that I would not want to miss,” Long said. “The people, the rowing and the school were a perfect fit and I am really looking forward to the next four years.”

Mackenzie King
Yardley, Pa. – Bucks County Technical High School
Swan Creek Rowing Club
Coaches: Amelia Aspell and Carol Hey
• 2015 USRowing Junior Worlds Development Sweep Team member
• Won varsity single at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Junior District Championships
• Won varsity high school double at 2014 King’s Head Regatta

“It’s an environment that’s going to really challenge me both athletically and academically, but it’s also a very supportive atmosphere that I’m proud to be joining,” King said.

10615839.jpeg Margaret Manley
Wilton, Conn. – Greenwich Academy
Saugatuck Rowing Club
Coach: Chase Graham
• Part of winning women’s youth 8+ at 2014 Head of the Charles
• Second in women’s junior A 8+ at 2014 USRowing Club Nationals
• Fifth at 2014 USRowing Youth Nationals in women’s junior 4+

“I chose UVa because of its ideal combination of being academically rigorous and also having an incredible crew team,” Manley said. “All of the rowers are so motivated to push themselves and the team as a whole, which really shows in the results they produce on the water. I’m so excited to become a part of such an awesome and close-knit team.

Alexandra Natale
Basking Ridge, N.J. – The Hun School of Princeton
Princeton National Rowing Association/Mercer
Coach: Ted Sobolewski
• Placed second with women’s youth 8+ at 2014 Head of the Charles
• Placed fifth with women’s 8+ at 2014 USRowing Youth Nationals
• Won Under-19 4+ and 8+ at 2014 Canadian Henley Regatta

“I chose UVa because the school offers both competitive academics and rowing,” Natale said. “From the moment I stepped on Grounds, I knew UVa was where I wanted to go. I loved the team culture and the hard working atmosphere and wanted to be part of it.”

Alex Slabbert
Greenwich, Conn. – Greenwich High School
Row America Rye
Coach: Marko Serafimovski
• Selected to Great Britain’s 2014 World Junior Championship squad
• Second in the women’s junior 2- at 2014 USRowing Youth Nationals
• Fourth in the women’s youth single at 2014 Head of the Charles

“I chose UVa because I love everything about it,” Slabbert said. “I don’t think there is a team with a better atmosphere and vibe than the UVa team. The coaches are great and the school itself is amazing. I am excited to be a part of the Virginia tradition and culture.”

Julia Volpenhein
Mason, Ohio – Mason High School
Swim Club: Mason Manta Rays
Coach: Ken Heis
• Very accomplished age group and high school swimmer

“I chose to come to UVa because I know that I will get the best possible combination of superior academics and athletics there,” Volpenhein said. “I felt extremely welcomed by the whole team and coaching staff right away. I got the biggest sense of family at UVa compared to the other schools that I visited, which was very important to me. I know that my talents will be developed to their fullest potential in the hands of the great coaching staff there, and that the team atmosphere will push me to achieve all of my goals in both rowing and in the classroom.”

10615899.jpegIzzi Weiss
5-5 Coxswain
Chicago, Ill. – Latin School of Chicago
Chicago Rowing Foundation
Coach: Mike Wallin
• Coxed the U.S. 8+ and 4+ to first-place finishes at the 2014 CanAmMex Regatta
• Coxed Chicago Rowing Foundation V8 to eighth-place finish at 2014 USRowing Youth Nationals
• Selected to USRowing High Performance Camp

“The University of Virginia was everything I was looking for athletically, as well as academically in terms of dedication to doing one’s best,” Weiss said. “The combination of UVa’s uncompromised speed on the water and the amazing food of Charlottesville made the decision easy.”

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