MORAGA, Calif. -- Saint Mary's rowing coach Nicole Younts announced Tuesday that the Gaels signed four athletes to a National Letter of Intent during the recently completed early signing period.
Taylor Boss, Kyla Dodsworth, Shannon Elford and Kiara Grey will all join the team for the 2013-14 season, and all four will bring an impressive resume when they step onto campus.
"This is a strong group that has the athleticism, work ethic and competitive drive to succeed with Saint Mary's Rowing," Younts said. "In addition, they are top students and great people. I welcome this group into the Gael family and look forward to coaching them."
Here are the four newest Gaels:
Taylor Boss (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.)
Started rowing for Everett Rowing Association in Washington with sister Stacey (SMC class of 2015). Moved to California this summer and joined the Long Beach Junior Crew as a coxswain this fall. Has a 3.81 GPA at Palos Verdes High School, and ran two half marathons in under two hours before turning 15.
Coach Younts on Taylor: "Taylor brings her competitive nature to every boat she coxes. She is a racer, and also smart and personable, all qualities that make her a great coxswain and perfect fit for our team. She makes the people around her better. We are thrilled to have Taylor join our class of 2017."
Kyla Dodsworth (Davis, Calif.)
Member of River City Rowing Club and senior at Davis Senior High School. At 6-foot tall, has only been rowing for about two years and has shown tremendous growth already. Was part of River City's 2V8 that qualified for the grand finals at Southwest Regionals last year and most recently won the V4+ at Head of the Lagoon.
Kyla on SMC: "I really liked the team when I went on my official visit. Everyone is really relaxed and seems very comfortable with each other and the coaches, but everyone also works really hard and looks out for each other. I also love the campus, the location is fantastic, it's beautiful and there is a fantastic biology department that can give me an amazing undergraduate education."
Coach Younts on Kyla: "Kyla has made huge progress in rowing in a relatively short period of time. She's enthusiastic, athletic and has the willpower to succeed. She's a killer on the water, and friends with everybody when she gets out of the boat. We expect Kyla to be an immediate contributor to our team speed."
Shannon Elford (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Member of Xavier Prep Crew at Xavier College Preparatory School in Phoenix. Enters with a great resume already, including Grand Final LtWt 4+ at the 2012 Southwest Regionals, LtWt 4+ third at the 2012 Long Beach Junior Invitational, first place in the Arizona Rower's Triathlon and first place in novice singles at Desert Sprints 2012. Owns a 3.5 GPA and has been a member of the Honor Roll all four years at Xavier. Her brother, Wesley Elford, placed third in the mile at the NCAA Championships as a swimmer for Stevens Institute of Technology.
Shannon on SMC: "I decided to come to Saint Mary's because the team, the coaches and the school were everything I wanted in a college. I knew it was a perfect fit for me once I got home from my official (visit)."
Coach Younts on Shannon: "Shannon fit right in with our team when she visited. Her maturity and work ethic are something we look for in all of our recruits. She's a total team player."
Kiara Grey (Oakland, Calif.)
Member of Berkeley High Crew at Berkeley High School. Recently stroked V4+ at 2012 Southwest Regionals. Recently won in the V8+ and in the V4+ at the BIAC fall regatta. Stands 5-foot-11 and competes for one of the fastest rising programs in the area.
Coach Younts on Kiara: "Kiara has been part of a group (including Meagan Scott, SMC class of '16) that has turned Berkeley High Crew into a contender against some regional powerhouses. She's tenacious and we expect her determination and athleticism to have a huge impact during her time at Saint Mary's."