Multiple Teams · NDA Rowing- Class of 2020 Recognition

The Notre Dame Academy Athletic Department wishes to recognize our 2020 Rowing seniors.  We would like to thank our seniors for their dedication to NDA Rowing.  We wish them all the best with their futures!

NDA Rowing WTOL 11 Sports Senior Spotlight from Coach Sprague-Manrow.



NDA Rowing Senior:  Lily Bunker

Parents:  Lisa and George Bertz

Seasons of NDA Rowing:  8

Honors:  Spirit of NDA Award, Athlete of the Week, Head of the Charles 2x, and Three Seat in JV8 that placed 3rd at Nationals.

Other Activities:  Anatomy Club and working two jobs.

Most Memorable NDA Rowing Moment:  Placing 3rd at Nationals spring of junior year after an amazing season.

Plans After Graduation:  Attend the University of Cincinnati and major in Nursing.


From Lily’s Parents:  “We can always depend on Lillian to help out whenever needed.  She is always there for her family, friends and teammates.  Lillian is always willing to step in and take action whenever necessary.



NDA Rowing Senior:  Abby Firsdon

Parents:  Laura and Mike Firsdon

Seasons of NDA Rowing:  8

Other Activities:  Caddie at the Inverness Club and Anatomy Club member.

Most Memorable NDA Rowing Moment:  When we placed third at nationals after having an extremely rough week of practice. 

Plans After Graduation:  Attend the University of Michigan and study Biochemistry and Environmental Science.


From Abby’s Parents:  Abby has been committed to NDA Rowing, her team, and her studies for the past four years, never letting up.  During this time she and her team have had much success, laughter, and tears on their journey together.  She has been a quiet and humble leader, always being there for her team no matter what.  She has led by example pushing herself to be an amazing athlete, teammate, friend, scholar, and employee where she works.  This commitment to everything she does has awarded her a full tuition scholarship to the University of Michigan this fall and we are so very proud of her!



NDA Rowing Senior:  Katelyn Garza

Parents:  Candice Fullenlove and Michael Garza

Seasons of NDA Rowing:  8

Other Activities:  ASL Club, Anatomy Club, and Honor Guard.

Most Memorable NDA Rowing Moment:  Placing 3rd at Nationals.

Plans After Graduation:  Attend The Ohio State University and major in Biology.


From Katelyn’s Parents:  “Katelyn has always been very confident in herself and that has shown through during her time as a coxswain on the NDA rowing team.  She also exudes confidence in her personal life which shines through in her motivation to become a successful young lady.



NDA Rowing Senior:  Mara Macy

Parents:  Anne & Steve Macy

Seasons of NDA Rowing:  8

Other Activities:  Art Club and National Art Honors Society. 

Most Memorable NDA Rowing Moment:  During the 2019 fall season when my best friend and I were a pair and there was this one practice where we just couldn’t stop laughing.  We were having fun and joking around.  It was just a really good practice. 

Plans After Graduation:  Attend Bowling Green State University and major in Fine Arts.


From Mara’s Parents:  “Tenacious covers so much of what Mara is as a person.  When Mara wants to do something you cannot stop her.  It can be getting good grades or joining rowing, a sport she never had experienced before.  She takes on assignments with determination to succeed.  Her artwork has been published and she was recognized in the Congressional Art Competition.  Mara does not give up, she works hard and with determination to meet her commitments.  Mara is a trusted friend and consistently treats people with respect and a caring nature.



NDA Rowing Senior:  Valeria Ponce

Parents:  Ana Rodriguez and Oscar Ponce

Seasons of NDA Rowing:  8

Other Activities:  Anatomy Club.

Most Memorable NDA Rowing Moment:  Finishing third at SRAA nationals in the JV8 boat.

Plans After Graduation:  Attend The Ohio State University and major in International Relations.


“Valeria has always been authentic about who she is and responds to internal expectations and insights. Because of this she has grown an honest confidence and values integrity, which will help her shape her own life path towards her passions with persistence.”



NDA Rowing Senior:  Sophia Ruse

Parents:  Bretta and Robert Ruse 

Seasons of NDA Rowing:  8

Other Activities:  Enviro Club, International Club, Disney Club, Link Crew, and SEAL Team. 

Most Memorable NDA Rowing Moment:  Winning the SNUDA Cup the last three years, but this year in particular because the seniors were all honored and recognized because it was the last home event. 

Plans After Graduation:  Attend John Carroll University, major TBD. 


From Sophia’s Parents:  “Sophia is definitely tough – at least on the outside, yet caring and compassionate on the inside.  Her toughness shows in never complaining over the pain of hard work whether in rowing or in the classroom.  Her toughness shows in never backing down from a challenge.  Her toughness shows in her willingness to take on challenges independently and stepping up to do what’s right, even if it’s not popular.  Yet, aside from the tough outside, she has a very giving, caring, and compassionate heart on the inside.



NDA Rowing Senior:  Mazey Smaciarz

Parents:  Gwen and Frank Smaciarz 

Seasons of NDA Rowing:  8

Honors:  Many gold, silver, and bronze medals for events throughout all the seasons.

Other Activities:  Yearbook Editor and Environmental Club member.

Most Memorable NDA Rowing Moment:  Happy moments with the team when we were all just in genuinely good moods together on great water and in great weather.

Plans After Graduation:  Attend Cleveland State University and major in Environmental Science.  I also plan on joining Cleveland State’s rowing club in the fall.


From Mazey’s Parents:  “Since Mazey was young, she has always been concerned about how others are treated and how people get along.  She focuses on loving everyone, even praying for those who have treated her poorly.  She has the understanding that we all come from different walks of life, different situations and upbringings.  She has a respect for all humans, no matter what religion, race, or choices one makes.  She appreciates differences in those she meets and wants to be a part of helping all people rise up.


Go Eagles!