Women’s Rowing, Men’s Water Polo Claim Top Prizes in Buff & Blue Fund Challenge

Feb. 21, 2018

With the annual Buff & Blue Fund Challenge complete, it proved to be one for the record books. Nearly 24% of GW Athletics alumni supported the current generation of student-athletes, and GW women’s rowing and men’s water polo took top prizes after a record-breaking Challenge.

The Challenge, made possible by the support of GW Athletics Advisory Council Chair Michelle Rubin, ESIA ‘91, provided $25,000 in winnings to the teams with the highest percentage of their alumni who made a gift to the program.

“I’m so proud to support the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge,” said Rubin. “The Challenge is a total team effort, engaging our alumni, coaches and student-athletes in an effort to help our 27 varsity teams win championships and thrive in the classroom and community.”

In the Buff Division, GW women’s rowing earned both the $7,000 first prize and the $2,500 most improved award, increasing their giving rate from last year by 11.9% with nearly 31% of alumnae giving back. GW women’s soccer claimed the $3,000 second prize.

Women’s rowing was spurred on by a $5,000 match by an anonymous alumna, and the support of the Varsity 8 “Crew of ‘98,” the only boat ever to compete at the NCAA Championships in honor of their 20th anniversary.

“I’m extremely proud of our alumnae for stepping up to the challenge. With their help, and the encouragement of our anonymous alumna, we’re going to be able to purchase a new, top-of-the-line boat for our fleet,” said GW Women’s Rowing Coach Eric Carcich. “Our student-athletes are so encouraged by knowing how many people are investing in the rowers that follow them on the water.”

In the Blue Division, men’s water polo won their second consecutive Challenge first prize of $7,000, besting last year’s 84% giving rate with 88% of alumni giving back. Gymnastics again earned the second prize, upping their giving rate by 5% from the 2017 Challenge to claim $3,000. GW sailing earned the prize for most improved in the division and $2,500.



“When I arrived on campus last summer, I almost couldn’t believe the men’s water polo alumni giving rate,” said GW Water Polo Coach Barry King. “Seeing our remarkable alums step up and actually better last year’s giving rate inspires us in our effort to defend our MAWPC title and return to the NCAA Championship.”

Full standings are available at the Buff & Blue Fund Challenge page.

Men’s rowing also earned a prize of their own, as alumnus Mark Cenit, GWSB ‘89 challenged fellow men’s rowing alumni to give, committing to give $100 for every alumni donor, with a goal of 100 alumni. After breaking the goal, Cenit made an additional $5,000 gift to the program.

Donors to GW Athletics can give directly to support a specific team, enhancing travel and recruiting budgets, training and facilities, or give to the Buff & Blue Fund, which supports all 500+ student-athletes in strength and conditioning, nutrition, academic support, sports medicine, GW’s Leadership Academy, and career mentoring.

"What I love the most about this challenge is that former student-athletes, who understand the commitment and discipline it takes to be a Division I student-athlete, continue to step up and provide the resources we need in order to ‘Raise High,’” said Acting Athletics Director Tanya Vogel. “It means so much to our current student-athletes, coaches and staff to feel the support from those who proudly wore the Buff and Blue!"

Alumni, families and friends can continue to invest in student-athlete success by giving now. To learn more about GW Athletics Development, call 202.994.8412.

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