No. 1 Women Of Troy Enjoy Record Finish At NCAA Championships

May 27, 2007

OAK RIDGE, TENN.--Racing concluded today at the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships held on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The USC Trojans would complete the team competition in fifth place overall, earning 48 points after finishing with a program high third place in the Division I Eights Grand Final. The JV Eight won the Division I Second Eights Petite Final and the Varsity Four won the Division I Fours Petite Final.

Brown won the team competition with 58 points, marking the second year in a row that the NCAA Division I women's rowing champion has failed to win first in any of the three individual competitions. California took second in each of their races in 2006 and was still crowned the national champion. This is Brown's fifth NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championship.

The No. 1 USC Varsity Eight competed in the Division I Eights Grand Final against the top teams in the nation. Save Princeton, ranked at a less-than-shabby No. 9, the Trojans had to row against No. 2 Yale, No. 3 Brown, No. 4 Virginia and No. 5 Ohio State.

With only two seconds separating the top five boats almost throughout the entire race, the Trojans would take third by edging out a Brown crew that was hot on their trail right at the finish line. Although Yale led for almost the entire race, Virginia and USC pestered them from the left and the right all day. However, it was a crescendo of an Ohio State surge that put the Buckeyes in second place as the finish line horn sounded. Ohio State went from sixth place at the 500-meter mark to fourth halfway through the race and eventually seized the Trojans' second place spot in the final 250 meters of the race.

The Trojans time of 6:39.45 put them in third, but only barely edging out Brown's time of 6:39.55. Surprisingly, Virginia, who was second for most of the race, fell all the way to fifth with a time of 6:41.50. Princeton, who fell off after the midway point of the race, didn't factor into the furious finish. The third place finish is the highest in the Division I Eights for a Trojan boat in NCAA competition and earned USC thirty points in the overall team championship standings. The first and only USC NCAA championship still remains with the 1998 when the Varsity Four won in their grand final.


NCAA Division I Eights - Grand Final (11:45 a.m.)
Finish Entry Time
1 Yale 6:37.08
2 Ohio State 6:38.77
3 USC 6:39.45
4 Brown 6:39.55
5 Virginia 6:41.50
6 Princeton 6:45.38

In the team competition, the Trojans got off to a better start than they could have asked for by winning the petite finals in both the fours and second eights competitions. However, the USC Varsity Eight third place finish would not be enough to overcome Brown and Virginia. The Trojans' fifth place overall team finish is the highest in program history. The last time the Trojans competed in the NCAA Championships as a team, they left with an eleventh place finish in 2005.

The JV Eight raced in the Division I Second Eight Petite Final and sat pretty through the first 1000 meters, just barely hanging on to a speedy Yale crew. The Trojans would get within one seat of Yale at the 750-meter mark but Yale's response would leave the Trojans back four seats again as they crossed the halfway point of the 2000-meter course. The Trojans' relaxed stroke rate however, proved to be a strategic move as they would pour it on for the entire second half of the race. Engineered by sophomore cox Lisa Sabalvaro, in a matter of 15 strokes, the USC push helped the Trojans go from one seat down to Yale to four seats up on Yale and would and they never let go of that lead. Crossing the 1500-meter mark, the Trojans would continue to extend their lead as Tennessee would also pass Yale for second overall. The Volunteers made a push for first as well but the Trojans had enough to hold on for a 6:58.34 to 6:59.30 victory over Tennessee as senior bow-seat Jessica Smith crossed the finish line. Yale would come in third with Harvard, Princeton and Notre Dame in tow. The JV Eight victory earned the Trojans twelve points in the overall team championship standings.


NCAA Division I Second Eights - Petite Final (10:45 a.m.)
Finish Entry Time
1 USC 6:58.34
2 Tennessee 6:59.30
3 Yale 7:01.10
4 Harvard 7:06.34
5 Princeton 7:11.15
6 Notre Dame 7:16.16

In the Division I Fours Petite Final, the USC Varsity Four would get off the line in a hurry and never trail. In a race in which they were pushed hard for their lead by Minnesota, the Varsity Four responded to sophomore coxswain Denise Kobashikawa's call by extending their lead little by little throughout the race and eventually would finish with a comfortable five-second cushion, 7:44.06 to Minnesota's 7:49.31. The Varsity Four win earned the Trojans six points in the overall team championship standings.


NCAA Division I Fours - Petite Final (10:15 a.m.)
Finish Entry Time
1 USC 7:44.06
2 Minnesota 7:49.31
3 Tennessee 7:54.18
4 Ohio State 7:56.02
5 Notre Dame 7:56.34
6 Harvard 7:58.91

For complete coverage, times, results and information, please visit www.ncaasports.com

For more information on rowing events and results from around the country, please visit www.row2k.com


Final Team Standings
Place University Points
1 Brown 58
2 Virginia 54
3 Ohio State 52
4 Yale 51
5 USC 48
6 Minnesota 47
7 California 38
8 Princeton 34
9 Tennessee 29
10 Washington 25
11 Harvard 19
12 Notre Dame 13

Quotes

USC Head Coach Zenon Babraj

On team finish
'It was incredibly close and I think we learned that a different placing in one race can affect the team championship outcome greatly.'

On USC's competitive spirit
'The girls fought hard and this is the best finish that we've ever had so it is very nice to see.'

Senior captain Jessica Smith

On the JV Eight and Varsity Four winning the petite finals
'We're very proud. It was a great feeling to finish first even though we were in the petites. We still made history even though we didn't make grand finals.'

On watching the Varsity Eight grand final
'It was the most exciting thing to watch. My throat hurts because we were all screaming so loud. We were nervous for them [Varsity Eight] but we couldn't be more proud of their effort.'

Junior captain Ligita Kaviere

On the teams' improvement
'We set five goals at the beginning of the year and we accomplished almost all of them but we're going to come back with so much more confidence next year. Now, they know who we are. We are SC.'

On the resilience of the JV and Four boats
'Being in a petite final can upset someone very much but you have to understand that getting seventh overall is so much harder than getting sixth place because you have to fight for seventh. We are so proud of all of our boats.'


  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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