Oregon State Signs Six to NLIs

Photo By: Ethan Erickson/Oregon State Athletics   12-01-2013

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CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State Women's Rowing head coach Emily Ford has signed six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent to join the Beavers starting in 2014.

The recruiting class features five athletes from the across the United States: Aleah Dew, Emily Halbert, Ellie Lesch, Isabella Preble, and Cassidy Western. The program also brought in another international rower: Olivia Ashby.

"This is an outstanding class and I have to give credit to recruiting coordinator/assistant coach Vita Scaglione and assistant coach Andy Foltz for their roles in recruiting this group," Ford said. "All six of these young women are the full package – stellar students, top-notch athletes and a great fit with our team culture. They will be entering into some of our most prestigious academic programs including marine biology, forestry, business, international relations, and art and design. We are proud that they have chosen Oregon State and we are excited to welcome them into our rowing family."

Olivia Ashby
Rotorua, New Zealand
John Paul College

Ford on Ashby - “We are eager to welcome our eighth Kiwi to the Oregon State rowing family. New Zealand is a great recruiting ground for us because of the geographical and cultural similarities to Corvallis and Oregon. Olivia is a fireball. She has great energy and a work ethic to match. She is the type of individual who people love having on the team because she is so positive and aggressive. I think she will really thrive in our team environment.”

Ashby on committing to OSU - “OSU ticks all the boxes for me. Making the leap from high school to university is a big one let alone traveling halfway around the world to do so. OSU offers the areas of study I am interested in, it is in a smaller town and I feel I will have the support to succeed at both my studies and at my sport. After my communications with Vita and Emily I now feel completely at ease about my next step at university and I'm excited to be included in and contribute to the success of the women's rowing at OSU.”

Aleah Dew
Rockford, Mich.
Rockford High School

Ford on Dew - “Aleah is 6’3, so she catches everyone’s attention. It’s easy to be excited about her physical potential, but what is equally impressive to me about Aleah is her disposition. In the face of all of her ability, she is incredibly kind, humble and gracious. She is a fantastic teammate who always puts the team first. It is going to be fun to watch her grow over the next four years.”

Dew on committing to OSU - "Well, there are a multitude of reasons as to why Oregon State was my school of choice. First of all, it will help me get to exactly where I want to be career-wise. And, there will be loads upon loads of academic help available. Also, it was almost the only college that I visited that saw me as a person. I felt like they made the effort to learn my name first, and then my height was just another positive. Finally, it's kind of hard to describe, but Oregon State just gave off good vibes. I feel like everyone on the team gets along, and have no trouble being friendly with one another, creating that great friendly inter-team competition. Attending a university that is so far away from home may be hard, but it will be a heck of a lot easier if my 'college' family is one I can easily get along with. But most of all, when I imagine myself a year from now, I can really see myself being a Beaver."

Emily Halbert
Woodinville, Wash.
Woodinville HS 

Ford on Halbert - “Emily is one of two rowers coming to us from one of our favorite rowing clubs – Sammamish Rowing Association. Emily just started rowing last year and has already made her way into the team’s varsity 8. She was awarded Most Improved last year in her first year and is on her way to another great leap this year. Coach Kara McKown is doing a great job of developing sound habits at Sammamish, so I know Emily is going to come in with all the skills she needs to be competitive in the Pac-12.”

Halbert on committing to OSU - ”When I first visited I fell in love with the campus, the town, and the people. The campus is absolutely beautiful and I could totally see myself living there for four years. I also loved the town and all the different things there are to do. The people in Corvallis are so nice. While I was there everyone was so welcoming I felt right at home. I also like how OSU has tons of options for degrees and how they really care about your success not only as an athlete but as a student and a person as well. I'm very excited to be rowing for such a great coaching staff and with such an amazing team.”

Ellie Lesch
Lake Oswego, Ore.
Waldorf School

Ford on Lesch - "Ellie is the best rower coming out of Oregon this year and we are thrilled that she has chosen to continue her rowing career and education right in her backyard. Ellie is the kind of athlete who could go all the way in rowing. She is 6’1, she rows very long and smooth, she knows how to pull hard and most importantly, she has the grit to get it done. Coach Susan Wood has done a great job of laying down the fundamentals with her and I can’t wait to see how she takes off in college."

Lesch on committing to OSU -  “I picked Oregon State because I immediately felt comfortable being on campus and around the team. Also because I loved the team’s competitive drive. I am very competitive myself and am always striving for the best. I feel that Oregon State is striving for greatness and I want to be a part of it and make it happen.”

Isabella Preble
Redmond, Wash.
Redmond HS

Ford on Preble -  “Isabella has the 'X' factor. She is the type of person who leaves you saying, ‘I don’t know, there’s just something about her.’ She is a great athlete who excels because she is authentic and because she rows with passion. She is the type of person you want in the boat because she is going to find a way to win. I suspect that Isabella is going to light it up on our team over the next four years.”

Preble on committing to OSU - "I chose Oregon State University because it is has everything I have been looking for in a college. It is someplace that has the right academics, the same values as me and a place where I feel safe and happy. Coach Emily, Coach Vita and the OSU women's rowing team also really helped me make my decision because I felt so inspired and comfortable with them which is the major reason why I want to row for OSU."

Cassidy Western
Orange County, Calif.
Corona Del Mar HS

Ford on Western - “Cassidy will actually be joining us this January as she graduated from high school this past June. Cassidy is a great young woman. I have met very few people who could be so instantly at ease as Cassidy was when she came to visit. It felt like she had been a part of the team forever so we knew it was going to be an instant fit. Cassidy is very young in the sport so I’m anxious to see how she does with more strokes and training behind her. She has great enthusiasm and I think she’ll do really well here.” 

Western on committing to OSU - "I chose Oregon State because I believe it fits me in every way. The size of the school, the atmosphere, the school spirit, the beautiful location, the list goes on. I was always interested in applying from the very beginning, but it was my visit to campus and the boathouse that really made OSU my number one school. I'm so happy I have the opportunity to row in such a great program and represent my new home, Oregon State. Go Beavs!"