MEDFORD - For the first time in Tufts University women's rowing history, two team members were named to the Pocock / Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) All-America teams as seniors Sera Busse and Emma Conroy were recently recognized.
Each year the coaches of the CRCA recognize the outstanding student athletes in each Division. Among the criteria required for the award are boat performance, nomination rank, coach's comments, individual achievements and 2k erg score. Both Busse and Conroy were in the Jumbo first varsity eight this spring that was fifth in the country in the CRCA Division III final rankings. Busse was a first team selection for the second straight year, while Conroy was named to the second team.
They were chosen from among 45 NCAA Division III women's rowing programs with more than 1,000 rowers and coxswains. A total of 17 student-athletes were honored, nine on the first team and eight on the second team. Tufts is one of five teams with two All-America recipients.
Busse learned how to win, and more importantly how to train to win, on the national level as a climber for 12 years before she arrived at Tufts. With no previous rowing experience she walked on to the program as a sophomore. After she found some initial success on the water she focused all of that knowledge, perseverance, and self-confidence on the new task of being the best rower and sculler she could be. Injured for most of the fall, Busse worked tirelessly to bring herself back better than before and was able to finish fourth in the collegiate single at Head of the Fish. She was the power in the middle of a first varsity eight that began peaking by the NESCAC championship, rowing past NCAA automatic qualifier Wellesley College in the morning to make the final, where the boat overcame an atypically slow first quarter to run down the field, passing NCAA selected Williams for fifth.
"It's in her nature to want to become better in all things," Tufts head coach Brian Dawe said. "Sera's training commitment inspired the entire squad to better efforts and was a key factor in her pick as only one of two Division III rowers/scullers at USRowing's U23 Selection Camp for 2018."
With Conroy at stroke all four years the women's first varsity eight has set new standards and new goals for Tufts women. No one else in that entire span of seasons could have done as much. While her 2K is acceptable, her pieces over shorter times put her in the top 3 to 5 all-time in the Tufts power rankings. After stroking the Charles eight in the fall Conroy placed fifth in the single and fourth in the quad, and stroked the mixed quad to first at the Head of the Fish. Confidence and trust pass back from stroke seat throughout the boat and in each year she has taken her crew past Wesleyan and Williams, both of whom went on to compete at the NCAA championships.
"She is the best racer I have had in my nine years at Tufts," Dawe said. "That we can row past already qualified NCAA crews (RIT in 2017 and Wellesley in 2018) to get to the Grand Finals in the afternoon is solely due to her leadership. Emma will be very, very hard to replace."