No. 1 USC Women's Rowing Competes At NCAA Championships

May 19, 2007

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The Women of Troy secured a team bid to the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships by winning the Pac-10 Conference Championship last week. This is the second time in program history that the crew will compete at the NCAA's as a team, the first coming through an at large team selection in 2005. This is the tenth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships for the USC varsity eight however, having received an at-large eight selection every year since 1998.

Racing will take place at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Friday through Sunday, May 25-27. The University of Tennessee will serve as event host. Preliminary heats and semifinal races will take place on the first two days of competition with finals on the last day.

The NCAA selection committee has named a field of twelve teams to compete in 2007 and have chosen four additional at-large varsity eight boats. The team championship is determined by a point system in which order of finish in three events will count towards an overall point total.

Teams competing this year include: Brown, California, Harvard, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Princeton, USC, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Yale. The four additional at-large varsity eights will come from Dartmouth, Stanford, Central Florida and UCLA. Seedings and lane assignments will be determined by committee and announced through the NCAA website next week.

The Trojans are owners of one NCAA championship as the 1998 varsity four champions but have not won the NCAA championship as a team. In 2006, the varsity eight finished in a dead-heat for third place with Yale in the first preliminary heat. After coming in sixth in the first semifinal, the Trojans competed in the petite final and took home eleventh overall in the varsity eight competition. In 2005, USC would complete the team competition in eleventh place overall.

The USC varsity eight has competed in their grand final twice in program history, finishing fourth in 2001 and sixth in 2003. The JV eight finished fourth in their petite final (tenth overall) in their only appearance in 2005. The varsity four finished sixth overall the last time they raced at the NCAA championships, also in 2005.

In 2006, California won its second consecutive national title as a team at the NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships at the Finn Casperson Rowing Center on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. Also representing the Pac-10 Conference, Washington won the team championship in 1997, 1998 and 2001, also finishing second on two other occasions. With four team championships (1999, 2000, 2002, and 2004) and two runner-up finishes, Brown has experienced the most success at the NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships.

For complete championship information and results, go to the NCAA web site at

A live video feed and webcast can also be accessed at

For driving directions, area hotels, tickets and other location information, please visit NCAA Championships/UT Vols Information

For up to date news and results on rowing events around the country, visit

Probable USC boatings for 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships

  1st Varsity Eight JV Eight Varsity Four
Coxswain Lauren Cowan Lisa Sabalvaro Denise Kobashikawa
No. 8 (Stroke) Gabriela Varekova Anna Specjalska Laura McDaniel
No. 7 Magda Madziewicz Nana Gagatsovi Shelley Koskovich
No. 6 Ligita Kaviere Anna Efremova Ewelina Nowak
No. 5 Dunja Pejcic Bara Varekova Cassie Richardson
No. 4 Tatiana Boldyreva Phebe Greenwood  
No. 3 Liene Bertasjus Kinga Marciszewska  
No. 2 Robin Hextrum Carin Andersson
No. 1 (Bow) Diana Ivanova Jessica Smith  

In The Polls
The Trojans opened the 2007 season ranked No. 10 nationally in the CRCA/USRowing poll. After defeating the Loyola-Marymount Lions in a dual race, the crew quickly jumped two spots to No. 8. A successful weekend at the 2007 San Diego Crew Classic boosted the Trojans to No. 2, a then highest CRCA/USRowing national ranking in program history. Not letting up in a cross-country trip to Boston, Mass. for the Charles River Challenge, victories garnered 19 first place votes from the coaches, giving the Women of Troy enough points to jump Brown for the top spot. Since achieving their No. 1 ranking, the Trojans have not relinquished their hold on it, staying atop the charts for a school-record five straight weeks. This is the highest ranking the Trojans have received since Zenon and Kelly Babraj took over the program in 2002 and the highest ever for the Trojans in the CRCA/USRowing poll.

Maxed Out
The May 15 cMax rankings have the Trojans varsity eight listed at No. 3 with a 3.9 second deficit to leader Yale and a 3.1 deficit to Brown. Up until now, the Trojans had held the No. 1 position in the cMax rankings in 2007. The rankings measure collegiate women's varsity eight boats using a specially developed formula. For more information, visit

Sister, Sister
Two sets of sisters race for the Women of Troy this season: the Varekova's and the Greenwood's. Junior starboard Bara Varekova returns to the Trojans after sitting out 2006. She is joined by her younger sister, freshman Gabriela Varekova. Hailing from the Czech Republic, the Varekova's bring a wealth of experience having won numerous individual championships. Junior Phebe Greenwood is joined by her younger sister on the squad. Lisa Greenwood is a freshman. The Greenwood's came to USC from the Groton School in Groton, Mass. each carrying on the pedigree of a family of athletes.

Sibling Rivalry
Sophomore port Robin Hextrum is known amongst her crewmates as a competitor. However, she has extra incentive when racing against the two-time defending Pac-10 and national champion California Bears. Older sister Kirsten Hextrum is a senior rower for the Cal women's crew. While the Trojans have seen Cal on more than one occasion this season, the Stinson Beach native also got to race against her twin sister Shannon's current school, Dartmouth when the Women of Troy went to Boston, Mass. for the Charles River Challenge.

The United Nations
The 2007 Women of Troy are truly an assortment of international flavors. Not including the United States, crew members hail from eight different countries including Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Serbia, and Sweden.

Chip Off the Old Block
Senior starboard and co-captain Jessica Smith is the eldest daughter of former Los Angeles Ram and six time Pro Bowl (1984-1989) offensive guard, Doug Smith.

All the World is a Stage
Sophomore starboard Julia McIlvaine just completed a run in the USC Independent Student Production (ISP) of The Myth or Waltzing Matilda in the role of Matilda at the Massman Theater.

O Captains, My Captains
Senior Jessica Smith and junior Ligita Kaviere will serve as team co-captains in 2007. Smith has rowed from several positions over her three year career as a Trojan, earning a Pac-10 All-Academic Honorable Mention in 2006. Kaviere earned 2005 CRCA All-West Region Team honors as a freshman rower and returned even stronger for her sophomore season, earning the same honor in 2006, adding an All Pac-10 Team selection and CRCA Pocock All-America First Team honor to her list of growing accolades.

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