No. 14 UCLA Rowing Held Off by No. 1 USC

April 28, 2007

Los Angeles, Calif. - In front of their biggest audience of the year, No. 14 UCLA Rowing dropped a close decision to the top-ranked USC Trojans at Ballona Creek, Marina del Rey, Calif. While losing to UCLA crews in the 2V8 and N8 races, the Trojans claimed V8, V4, and 2V4 victories to capture the dual-meet win and five Lexus Gauntlet points.

The top-ranked Trojans captured the crucial victory in the varsity 8 show down with the Bruins to push them towards a dual-meet win. After losing the first two races, the Bruins mounted a valiant comeback charge by winning the second varsity eight and finishing 1st and 2nd in the novice eight race, but it was ultimately not enough as the Trojans captured both varsity four race wins. With the five Lexus Gauntlet points, the season-long challenge now sits at a lopsided 67.5 to 27.5 margin in favor of the Bruins.

The dual-meet action began at 7:45 am with the meeting of the varsity 4+ boats. Both Bruin and Trojan boats got off the line well, keeping the race tight through the first 500 meters. A consistent USC effort gave them a slight lead halfway through the race. A final Bruin push was not enough as the maintained their strong effort and pulled away for a winning margin of 3.21 seconds.

The marquee match-up of varsity 8 boats got off the line at 8:00 am, with the No. 14-ranked Bruins keeping pace with the top-seeded Trojans strong start. After giving up a large early lead to USC at the San Diego Crew Classic, the Bruins put forth a much more concerted effort this time around, matching the Trojans stroke for stroke through 500 meters. The vaunted Trojan attack was good enough to give USC a single boat length lead by the halfway point. Intensifying their effort through the stretch of supportive spectators, the Bruin varsity was able to close the gap and stay within striking distance. However, USC's charge proved to be too much in the final stretch, as they continued to gradually pull away for the hard-fought victory. The top-ranked Trojans registered a time of 6 minutes and 27 seconds, 5.61 seconds ahead of the Bruin squad.

After finishing just behind the Trojans in the first two races, the Bruins looked to their second varsity eight squad for a much needed win. UCLA's 2V8 crew did not disappoint as they took a slight lead out of the starting gates on the conference leading Trojan 2V8 boat. A composed Bruin crew met a strong USC push 500 meters into the race. Expanding their lead behind the cheers of their home crowd, the Bruins sprinted to the finish and held off USC, finishing nearly six seconds ahead of the Trojans.

The varsity four boat began very much like the other races, with an even match-up as the boats settled into their cadences. The Bruins' aggressive rowing gave them a 3 seat lead throughout the first half of the race, but the V4 crew was unable to maintain their fast-paced rhythm and eventually fell behind the Trojans as the boats neared the home-stretch. The final quarter of the race was hard-fought, but the Trojan boat outlasted UCLA and earned a three second victory.

The final race of the regatta pitted two UCLA novice 8 boats against a lone Trojan squad. The UCLA 'A' boat took a strong start and extended it into a open water lead as the UCLA 'B' boat and the Trojan N8 crew battled for second place. Both Bruin boats benefited from the partisan crowd and powered through the stands and past the finish line for a 1-2 finish ahead of the USC boat. The Bruin 'B' boat finished ahead of the SC squad by more than 6 seconds while the UCLA 'A' boat enjoyed its own 5.6 second victory over the second place Bruin 'B' squad.

At the conclusion of the last race, the UCLA family honored the graduating fourth-year seniors at their last home meet. Seniors Jessica Fritz, Alexis Kalionzes, Elizabeth Lee, Megan McQuown, Brittany Merchant, Kirsten Potenza, Erin Rice, and Leah Wachtel stood before family, friends, and supporters at the UCLA boathouse as head coach Amy Fuller Kearney presented them with flower boutiques and thanked them for their contributions to the UCLA rowing program.

The festivities concluded with the christening of the new varsity eight boat named in honor of Coach Amy Fuller Kearney. Through the efforts of the UCLA development department and the generous donation of athletics boosters Arthur and Lauren, the 'Amy Lynn' sailed the open waters for the first time in front of rowing supporters.

The Bruins will have a week off before beginning its post-season racing at the Pac-Coast and Pac-10 Conference championships in Rancho Cordova, Calif. on May 12th and 13th. The Bruins will be racing to secure bids for the NCAA Championships, which take place in Oakridge, Tenn. on May 25-26.

UCLA Race Results

Event 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place
Varsity 4 USC UCLA
7:18.65 7:21.86
Varsity 8 USC UCLA
6:27.00 6:32.61
2nd Varsity 8 UCLA USC
6:36.84 6:42.73
2nd Varsity 4 USC UCLA
7:18.65 7:21.86
Novice 8 UCLA 'A' UCLA 'B' USC
6:45.66 6.51.26 6.57.29
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