The Trovato sisters, graduates of Quaker Valley, finding success on the water
Quaker Valley graduates Sarah and Katie Trovato never have competed against each other as members of the women's rowing teams at the universities of Michigan and Texas.
The sisters hope to change that at the NCAA Division I championship from May 31 to June 2 in Indianapolis.
Sarah, a 5-foot-9 junior, competes in the port position for Michigan, the NCAA runner-up to Virginia last year.
A 5-8 sophomore, Katie also rows at port for Texas, which is optimistic about qualifying for the NCAA meet as Conference USA champion.
With the NCAA championship being expanded from 16 to 22 teams, the Conference USA champion will be among some receiving automatic bids.
Texas also belongs to the Big 12 Conference, where it is four-time defending champion.
Texas finished second to Tennessee at last year's Conference USA championship.
In previous years, a committee selected all teams for the NCAA championship.
Michigan, the defending Big Ten champion, expects to be selected for the fifth straight year.
“Texas has a very good program,” Michigan coach Mark Rothstein said. “I think we could see them in the spring at NCAAs.”
Katie Trovato said the Longhorns will be disappointed if they do not reach the NCAA championship.
“That's our main goal, but first we have to focus on Oklahoma and Tennessee at Conference USA,” she said.
Oklahoma finished third at the Conference USA championship, two points behind Texas.
At the Big 12 Conference championship, Trovato was on the winning second varsity eight boat that helped the Longhorns beat Oklahoma by one point.
A sophomore class captain, Trovato, 19, has excellent leadership skills, Texas coach Carie Graves said.
“She has been a great asset to our program,” Graves said.
“Katie's hungry to win,” Texas assistant coach Melissa Perrone said.
Also a captain, Sarah Trovato, 20, will move up to Michigan's second varsity eight after competing on second varsity four last season, Rothstein said.
“Sarah has been instrumental in our success,” Rothstein said.
To prepare for the regular season, which begins next month, Sarah and her teammates have traveled to Florida to train outdoors.
“We're waiting for the lake to thaw (in Michigan),” she said.
Weather hasn't been a problem at Texas, where rowers practice on Lady Bird Lake, named in memory of the former First Lady.
“It feels good being on the water,” Katie Trovato said.
Jim Trovato, an assistant girls basketball coach at Quaker Valley, was impressed with the rings his daughters earned as conference champion members.
“They're pretty fancy,” he said. “They were showing them off when they were home.”
The sisters began their rowing careers as part of a junior program sponsored by the Three Rivers Rowing Association, where they still compete in the summer.
“Sarah and Katie have really bonded through rowing,” said Rick Brown, the association's junior coach. “They have a strong sibling rivalry; it's been fun watching them push each other (to improve).”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.