While some of her Stanford University rowing teammates prefer to use the summer to heal and spend time away from the sport, Chase Shepley opts to be active and immersed.
“It’s something I’ve always done,” said Shepley, a Crystal Lake Central graduate. “I like to row during the summer. I like to be able to hit the ground running in the fall.”
After an impressive junior season this spring with the Cardinals, Shepley will have plenty of opportunities this summer to stay active.
Shepley plans to leave school early this month and take her final exams in Princeton, N.J., where she will be training with U.S. Rowing’s Under-23 program for a chance to compete in the world championships in Poland in July.
“I’d be so grateful to have the opportunity to row in the world championships,” said Shepley, who is one of 34 invited rowers to the selection camp. “Hopefully, I will come out on the right side of this.”
The team will train up to three times a day on Mercer Lake, where the U.S. national team has a boathouse.
“We’re just going to jump right in and get to work,” Shepley said. “We have six weeks to create a lineup that will help Team USA win.”
The past two summers, Shepley has trained in Wisconsin. That offseason work led her to a spot on Stanford’s top varsity eight boat this spring.
Last weekend in Sarasota, Fla., Shepley and her teammates took fourth at the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships to earn their third podium finish (top four) in the last five seasons.
“It’s always awesome to be able to walk away from a year of really hard work with something in your hands,” Shepley said.
Her commitment to a year-long training schedule led to big improvements in her 2- and 6-kilometer times, a standard measurement in the sport, she said.
“Last year at the end of the year, I definitely looked back on the season wondering, ‘Was that everything that I had?’” she said. “This year, I can confidently look back at the season knowing I gave it 100 percent every day. To have that team result was definitely something I was satisfied with.”
Shepley, who competed last season with Stanford’s second varsity eight team, will have plenty of company at the U.S. Rowing camp.
Four Stanford teammates are among the invitees, along with athletes she knows from Washington, Wisconsin and California.
“Rowing is a small community,” she said. “It won’t be hard to start getting to know people.”
Impressive Wildcat journey: Kentucky’s softball team and sophomore Alex Martens (McHenry West) ended their impressive season last weekend with loss in the NCAA super regionals against No. 1 Oregon, falling one win shy of a berth in the Women’s College World Series.
Martens batted .333 with a three-run homer in the opening game of the best-of-three-game series, which Oregon won, 2-1.
For the season, Martens batted .310 for the No. 19 Wildcats (36-20). She led the team with 10 doubles and was second with 37 RBIs. Martens also had a .545 slugging percentage, aided by eight homers, and a .416 on-base percentage.
All-American … again: Crystal Lake Central grad Celeste Madda earned her third career D-III All-American honor last weekend on a record-setting Wisconsin-Whitewater 4x100-meter relay team.
Madda ran the final leg on the Warhawk relay that placed fifth at the NCAA Division III outdoor championships in LaCrosse, Wis., in a school-record time of 47.07. Two days earlier, Madda helped Whitewater break a 20-year-old school record with a time of 47.18 in the prelims.
Madda also placed 11th in the 200 dash (25.30) and 14th in the 100 dash (12.62).
Super in Summit: Western Illinois junior pitcher Ian Koch (CL Central) earned first-team All-Summit League honors this spring while helping the Leathernecks (17-31) to their most conference wins in 12 years.
Koch (4-6, 4.38 ERA) struck out 83 batters in 86 1/3 innings for WIU, which earned the No. 2 seed in the Summit League tournament with a 14-12 league record, its best since 2006. He ranked third in the conference in strikeouts.
All four of Koch’s wins came in conference play, where his ERA dipped to 3.38.
Parkside production: Sophomore Jessica Shields (Huntley) earned third-team All-Great Lakes Valley softball honors this season.
The outfielder led the conference and finished 13th nationally with 38 stolen bases for D-II Wisconsin-Parkside. She also led the Rangers in five other offensive categories, including batting average (.323), runs (35) and on-base percentage (.398). Shields posted 11 multi-hit games this season, including six games with three or more hits.
Augustana honors: Dale Charlier (Cary-Grove) won the Most Improved award to cap off his junior wrestling season at D-III Augustana, the school announced last month. Charlier, a 141-pound competitor, finished 21-14 this season and placed fourth at the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Championships.
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at email@example.com and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.