No. 1 USC Advances To Grand Final At NCAA Championships

May 26, 2007

OAK RIDGE, TENN.--Racing continued today at the 2007 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships with the Women of Troy competing in three events.

The No. 1 Varsity Eight raced out of lane three, with the benefit of a strong draw coming into the second semifinal. The Varsity Eight would take on No. 3 Virginia, No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 Stanford and No. 10 Tennessee for a chance to race in the first eight grand final.

Having to deal with a one-hour delay due to heavy smoke on the water to begin the day, the Women of Troy were able to start their engines just as effectively, taking a two-seat lead at the 250-meter mark. Both Tennessee and Stanford would push the Trojans early but Virginia would end up being the Trojans' main competition as the 2000-meter course wore on.

Rowing strong, freshman stroke Gabriela Varekova, sophomore Magda Madziewicz and junior Ligita Kaviere provided a consistency that helped the Trojans control the tempo of the race for most of its duration. However, at the 750-meter mark, Virginia would catch the Trojans and keep pace with them for about 500 meters, even taking inch-wide leads at moments. By the midway point, Tennessee and Stanford had fallen off pace, leaving Notre Dame and Ohio State to battle for third and fourth.

With about 500 meters left to go in the race, coxswain Lauren Cowan intensified her calls as the Trojans reclaimed the lead heading into the home stretch. With a time of 6:27.29, junior starboard Diana Ivanova would take the bow across the finish line just as No. 7 seat Robin Hextrum watched Ohio State edge out Virginia for second (6:28.28 to 6:28.64).

Completing the semifinal in first place puts the Trojans into the grand final for the third time in ten appearances and for the first time since 2003. The Grand Final will take place tomorrow at 12 noon and feature the top crews in the nation including USC, No. 2 Yale, No. 3 Virginia, No. 4 Brown, No. 5 Ohio State and No. 9 Princeton

NCAA Division I First Eights - Semifinal 2 (9:15 a.m.)
Finish Entry Time
1 USC 6:27.29
2 Ohio State 6:28.28
3 Virginia 6:28.64
4 Notre Dame 6:29.56
5 Tennessee 6:33.57
6 Stanford 6:40.16

The Varsity Four raced in the first heat of the fours repechage against California, Tennessee, Princeton and Harvard. Right off the finish line, USC found themselves behind Cal and Princeton but were within one second of each of them at the 500-meter mark. However, by 750 meters, the Trojans would be three seats out of second and just three seats out of fourth. For the middle portion of the race, USC held onto a two-second deficit to leaders California and Princeton. At the urging of sophomore coxswain Denise Kobashikawa, the four would give one more solid push with about 500 meters to go and about four seats to make up to get second. However, the Trojans would run out of course and finish in third behind Cal (7:30.52) and Princeton (7:31.71) and turn in their own time of 7:33.62.

The third place finish in the fours repechage gives the Trojans a shot at seventh place overall if they are able to win their petite final event. The Trojan Varsity Four will race at 10:30 a.m. against Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Harvard and Tennessee. The last time the Trojans Varsity Four were in the NCAA Championships, they finished sixth overall in 2005, racing in the grand final. The USC four won the grand final and the championship in their event in 1998.

NCAA Division I Fours - Repechage 1 (9:30 a.m.)
Finish Entry Time
1 California 7:30.52
2 Princeton 7:31.71
3 USC 7:33.62
4 Harvard 7:41.96
5 Tennessee 7:49.61

The JV Eight raced in the second repechage for the second eights out of lane two against Notre Dame, Minnesota, Washington and Tennessee. Right off the line, the Trojans took the early lead, chased by Washington. The Huskies and Trojans would race neck and neck for most of the first 1000 meters but that's when Minnesota caught up to the leaders and made their push. The Golden Gophers would not let go of their lead as the Trojans tried to chase down third place Tennessee with 500 meters to go. USC could only watch as the Huskies and Minnesota ran off with open water between them and third and fourth places. Washington's final push earned them a first place finish by only six tenths of a second over Minnesota. Tennessee would follow six seconds later and USC four after the Lady Vols.

The JV Eight will race in the second eight petite final tomorrow at 11 a.m. to determine seventh through twelfth places against Tennessee, Notre Dame, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. In 2005, the only other time the JV Eight has raced in NCAA competition, they finished fourth in the petite final for tenth place overall.

NCAA Division I Second Eights - Repechage 2 (10:15 a.m.)
Finish Entry Time
1 Washington 6:39.32
2 Minnesota 6:39.94
3 Tennessee 6:48.88
4 USC 6:50.12
5 Notre Dame 6:56.92

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2007 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships Boatings

  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  
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