Dec. 9, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa rowing head coach Andrew Carter announced five additions to the Hawkeye program Monday morning.
Bianca DiBellonia, Kaelynn Heiberg, and Anna Kareis each inked a National Letter of Intent, and Hannah Hawks will transfer in from the University of Miami. All four student-athletes will join the Hawkeyes in 2014-15. Bec Clayton will join the roster in January of 2014.
DiBellonia is a SOSSA Champion and OFSAA Qualifier who hails from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. She earned bronze honors at Stotes 2013 and America Schoolboy in women's quad, and competed in the Royal Canadian Henley's U19 quad and double in August 2013.
DiBellonia has also earned academic recognition throughout her tenure at Ridley College. She was named School Prefect as a senior, earned the Prefect Award as a sophomore, and received the Honor Roll award and True Patriot award as a freshman. She earned Excellent Standing recognition as a sophomore, junior, and senior. DiBellonia was also a member of the Brock Swim Club and the Niagara Falls United Soccer Club.
"I met Bianca a while ago and have watched her race and develop as a rower at Ridley and Ridley Grad BC," Carter said. "Bianca's skills as a sculler are terrific and not surprising after having worked with coaches like Nancy Storrs. She's contributed to some great crews as a junior and the preparation she's undergone at home positions her to make an impact at Iowa on day one. I've been impressed with Bianca in each and every one of our conversations and I know we're going to work well together as a coach-rower team."
Heiberg is a Minnetonka, Minn., native and a member of the Twin Cities Youth Rowing Club. She finished first in the Youth Women's 4+ at the Milwaukee River Challenge and the Head of the Mississippi in 2013. She also placed first in the Youth Women's 8+ at the Head of the Mississippi in 2013, and posted the fastest splits of Youth Women's 4+ for two miles at the Head of Charles in 2013 earning a sixth place finish in a field of 85 competitors. At the Northwest International Rowing Association Championship Regatta in 2013, Heiberg once again finished first in the Youth Women's 8+.
Heiberg is a member of the National Honor Society, an academic letterwinner, and a three-time Academic Gold award winner at Hopkins High School. She is involved in jazz band, concert band, pep band, and pit orchestra as a trumpet player. Heiberg is also a member of the Nordic ski team, and placed third in the state as a sophomore and sixth in the state as a junior.
"Kaelynn was one of the first prospects I met this year when I arrived at Iowa, and I knew right away that both she and her family represented what I knew would be great for the University and the rowing program," Carter said. "Kaelynn brings a terrific training ethic and a wonderfully friendly nature that clearly is fostered by a great family. Kaelynn has already shown a knack for speed in her young rowing career with success both on and off the water. Her competitive nature is going to add to our team and her presence is going to add to our family."
Kareis is a one-year rowing letterwinner and a three-year swimming letterwinner at Northern Guilford High School who placed fifth in the Junior 8+ rowing event at the Clemson Sprints. She is a three-time academic all-conference honoree, and participates in the speech team, debate team, and string orchestra (violin and viola).
"I was very impressed with Anna from before I even met her in person," Carter said. "Our recruiting coordinator, Jeff Garbutt, has been high on her as a prospect from very early on and championed Anna's potential in all of our meetings. She has been someone we've been watching for a while. After Anna stepped foot on campus, I knew we were right about her. She brings an excellent training background, an impressively advancing level of speed, and an incredibly competitive nature. All that is wrapped in an outgoing, friendly, and fun personality. Anna is someone who is going to be a great collegiate rower, and I'm excited she's a Hawkeye."
Hawks joins the Hawkeyes after spending two seasons rowing for the University of Miami Hurricanes. During her time at Miami, Hawks was named ACC Freshman of the Year in 2011-12, a CRCA National Scholar-Athlete in 2012-13, and helped the Hurricanes to a fourth overall finish in the 2013 ACC Championships.
The Mooresville, N.C., native attended Lake Norman High School prior to attending Miami. She rowed club and was a volleyball letterwinner, MVP, and coaches award recipient.
"Hannah and I have a strong history, so I have the highest level of confidence in her as a student, rower, and member of a team," Carter said. "Putting two years in the 1V at the University of Miami as that program leaped forward in its competitive stature speaks volumes about Hannah's ability to make an impact. Being named ACC Freshman of the Year while doing so punctuates that fact perfectly. While Hannah leaves a team we both love and respect, I'm excited for her to join the group here at Iowa and take another step in her rowing career. I know she's gotten to know many of our students here, and they've made clear that they share my enthusiasm about Hannah's arrival."
Clayton earned a silver medal at the Victorian Head of School Girls Regatta and the NSW State Championships and a bronze medal at the Australian National School Rowing Championship in 2013. A native of Melbourne, Australia, she helped Ruyton Girls' School crew place at the Australian National Rowing Championship for the first time in school history in 2013, and took first at the Loretto Regatta in the Single Scull Open Division 2 in 2012.
Clayton participated in Senior School Girl Soccer (football) and Senior School Girl Basketball for five years, Senior School Girl Australian Rules Football (AFL) and Senior School Girl Athletics (javelin, high jump, and 100 meter specialist) for three years, and Senior School Girl Cross-Country for two years.
"Bec is coming in with a solid foundation in sculling, which positions her very well for rowing here at Iowa," Carter said. "Not only does she bring that skill set from time in the 1x, but she's had a terrific competitive record in the 4x at home in Australia. This combination of technical training, crew-boat teamwork, and competitive success make her a great addition to the Hawkeye family."
UI rowing begins it 2014 competition season on March 22 against Clemson, Duke, Kansas, and Purdue. The all-day event will be hosted by Clemson and held in Clemson, S.C.