USC Varsity Eight Boat Earns NCAA Bid

May 16, 2006

The third-ranked USC women's Varsity Eight boat received an at-large berth in the NCAA Rowing Championships that will be held May 26-28 at Finn Caspersen Rowing Center in West Windsor, N.J. This is the ninth consecutive year the Trojans have competed in the championships. Last year was the first year USC received a team bid, allowing all three boats to compete for a team title.

The Varsity Eight have finished as high as fourth in 2001 and last year the Women of Troy finished 11th as a team. USC (ranked 3rd in the latest national poll) will face five other Pac-10 foes in the race including defending NCAA Champion and second-ranked California, No. 8 Washington State, No. 11 Washington, No.12 UCLA and No. 16 Stanford. Of the 16 teams competing for the championship only one is not ranked in the top 20. USC has previously faced eight of the teams selected to compete and defeated seven of them this spring.

'It would have been nice to be able to go to NCAAs as a team,' said head coach Zenon Babraj. 'In order for us to be selected we have to have a clear outright dominant performance that proves without a doubt that we deserve to be there.'

The selection of teams and individual boats was based on eligibility and availability of student-athletes, regional championship results, regional rankings, late-season performance, head-to-to-head results, results against teams/boats already selected, results against common opponents, and results against regionally ranked teams/boats. One team from eachregion was selected and the remaining seven teams were selected at-large.

'I feel comfortable going in with only our Varsity Eight,' added Babraj. 'It will be good for us to prepare for next year since all eight are returning. Progressively we are getting much faster and more confident. They need to believe that not only they can compete with the best but they can beat them.'

In the 2005 NCAA Championships the Varsity Eight placed 10th overall with a time of 6:31.71, the fastest time USC has ever posted in the NCAA Championships. The Varsity Four finished 6th overall and the JV Eight came in 10th.

For rowing championship results, go to the NCAA Web site at www.ncaasports.com.

Teams competing: BrownCaliforniaMichigan StateNotre DameOhio StatePrincetonStanfordTennesseeWashingtonWashington StateWisconsinYaleAT-LARGE EIGHTS Boston U.MinnesotaSouthern CaliforniaUCLA
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