No. 2 Women's Rowing Rises To The Challenge

April 15, 2007

The No. 2 USC women's rowing team added to their impressive string of victories over the weekend at the 2007 Charles River Challenge hosted by Boston University in Boston, Mass. The Women of Troy would face several varsity eight boats ranked in the top 25 of the latest CRCA/US Rowing poll including No. 6 Harvard-Radcliffe, No. 22 Dartmouth and No. 25 Northeastern. Although rowing on unfamiliar waters and in adverse weather conditions, the Trojans would emerge victorious in all of their races.

Avoiding the possible letdown after much early success, redshirt junior coxswain Lauren Cowan and freshman stroke Gabriela Varekova led the Varsity Eight into battle in inclement weather conditions. In the Saturday morning session, facing 20 mph winds with gusts up to 30 mph and a moderate chop, USC was able to focus its energy on the task at hand and outpaced the competition by a solid 20 seconds coming in with a time of 7:19.40. Climbing over numerous whitecaps in extremely cold temperatures, Dartmouth arrived at the finish line at the 7:40.10 mark followed closely by the Radcliffe women at 7:42.10. Syracuse would complete the race at 7:52.60.

Racing in somewhat better conditions (10-15 mph headwind and a mild chop), the Women of Troy continued their dominance in the Saturday afternoon session by dispatching of three more crews by well over 20 seconds yet again. Crossing the finish line at 6:46.10, USC would cruise to the victory, leaving Boston and Columbia to battle it out for second with Boston coming in at 7:09.20 and Columbia finishing at 7:10.70. Not too far behind, but in fourth place was the University of Massachusetts, completing the 2000-meter course at 7:17.50.

Competing against No. 25 Northeastern in a dual match on Sunday morning, the Trojans got some help in the wind department with a 15 mph tailwind and only a light chop but had to deal with the added element of rain in 40 degree weather. Nonetheless, the Trojans would jump out to their usual good start and coast to a victory against Northeastern with a time of 6:37.10 to 6:46.80.

Varsity 8
Sat. 4/14 - 8:24 a.m. Sat. 4/14 - 6:12 p.m. Sun. 4/15 - 8:48 a.m.
1. USC 7:19.40 1. USC 6:46.10 1. USC 6:37.10
2. Dartmouth 7:40.10 2. Boston Univ. 7:09.20 2. Northeastern 6:46.80
3. Radcliffe (Harvard) 7:42.10 3. Columbia 7:10.70    
4. Syracuse 7:52.60 4. U. Mass 7:17.50    

The JV Eight also experienced the same success as the Varsity Eight with but slightly closer times in two of their races. On Saturday morning, USC's second varsity eight would take out the Radcliffe women by a solid five seconds on the way to their first of three victories. More than ten seconds behind Radcliffe, Dartmouth would finish followed by Syracuse. The second varsity boat would experience much better rowing conditions in the afternoon and was able to pull away from the pack, finishing the race in 7:17.20, well ahead of second place Boston's 7:29.30 mark. U. Mass and Columbia would later cross the finish line in that order. The JV Eight would finish off the weekend, posting their best time on the Charles River with a 6:51.30 to 6:55.30 victory over the Northeastern crew on Sunday morning.

JV 8
Sat. 4/14 - 8 a.m. Sat. 4/14 - 5:36 p.m. Sun. 4/15 - 8:12 a.m.
1. USC 7:50.20 1. USC 7:17.20 1. USC 6:51.30
2. Radcliffe (Harvard) 7:55.60 2. Boston Univ. 7:29.30 2. Northeastern 6:55.30
3. Dartmouth 8:08.70 3. U. Mass 7:46.90    
4. Syracuse 8:14.80 4. Columbia 7:59.80    

Perhaps the most untested portion of this Trojan rowing team, the Varsity Four would put all doubts to rest with an incredibly efficient showing in their first true competitive races. Coxed by sophomore coxswain Lisa Sabalvaro, the fours boat was stroked by junior transfer Anna Specjalska with Shelley Koskovich, Phebe Greenwood and Cassie Richardson in tow. Getting started on the right foot, the four would take a five-second victory over the Radcliffe women on Saturday morning and run with it the rest of the way. Beating Radcliffe by a time of 8:39.90 to 8:46.00, the Varsity Four had arrived. Dartmouth and Syracuse would finish up the race at 9:07.30 and 9:30.00 respectively in rough weather conditions.

In the afternoon session, the Varsity Four took advantage of the calming weather and crossed the finish line at 7:45.80, beating the next closest crew, Boston, who came in with a time of 8:04.20. U. Mass and Columbia would complete the 2000-meter course at 8:42.70 and 8:48.40 respectively. In a dual race against Northeastern's four, the Trojans would get out of the gates strong and finished at 7:38.90 ahead of Northeastern's 7:59.00.

Varsity 4
Sat. 4/14 - 7:36 a.m. Sat. 4/14 - 6:48 p.m. Sun. 4/15 - 7:36 a.m.
1. USC 8:39.90 1. USC 7:45.80 1. USC 7:38.90
2. Radcliffe (Harvard) 8:46.00 2. Boston Univ. 8:04.20 2. Northeastern 7:59.00
3. Dartmouth 9:07.30 3. U. Mass 8:42.70    
4. Syracuse 9:30.00 4. Columbia 8:48.40    

The Trojans will have a weekend off from racing when they return to Southern California and will next face the No. 8 UCLA Bruins in the annual dual race on Ballona Creek in Marina Del Rey, Calif. on Apr. 28.

For complete Charles River Challenge results, please visit

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