Rowing Preps For Pac-10 Championships
May 12, 2004
This Week -- The USC women's rowing team travels to Rancho Cordova, Calif., this week for the 2004 Pacific-10 Conference Rowing Championships, to be held Sunday, May 16, on Lake Natoma. The heats are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. and the grand final races will take place starting at 12:50 p.m. USC will be racing five boats - a Varsity Eight, JV Eight, Varsity Four, Open Four and Novice Eight. Live scoring for the event will be available on rowing page of the Pac-10 website at www.pac-10.org or directly at www.jamcotimes.com.
The 2004 Pac-10 Champion will be determined by the order of finish of the crews in the Varsity Eight, JV Eight, Novice Eight and Varsity Four events. The conference champion receives an automatic team bid to the NCAA Championships.
USC Seedings -- The top-10 seedings for the varsity eight championship races are as follows: California (1st), Washington (2nd), Washington State (3rd), USC (4th), Stanford (5th), UCLA (6th), Oregon State (7th), Loyola Marymount (8th), Sacramento State (9th) and Gonzaga (10th). The Trojans' remaining four boats are seeded as follows: JV Eight (seeded fourth), Varsity Four (seeded fifth), Open Four (not seeded) and Novice Eight (seeded sixth).
Last Year At the Pac-10 Championships -- The USC women's rowing team got off to a great start at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships. The Women of Troy advanced to the Grand Finals in all three main events - Varsity Eight, JV Eight, Varsity Four - for the first time in program history. Unfortunately, the Trojans were unable to complete the day in the same manner. USC finished fifth in the Varsity Eight final and sixth in the JV Eight and Varsity Four races. The Varsity Eights finished only three seconds behind defending conference champion Washington in its first heat. Despite high expectations, the Trojans fell behind in a tight race for the championship. Stanford beat the field, crossing the finish line in 6:30.3, nearly a boat-lengths in front of Washington (6:34.7), WSU (6:36.3), Cal (6:36.7) and USC (6:38.4) followed within a four-second span. The JV Eights and Varsity Fours followed the same pattern. Both boats finished third in their morning heats to advance to the Grand Final.
The novice team returned home victorious after entering one boat in the 2003 Pacific Coast Rowing Championships held on May 17, prior to the Pac-10 Championships. The Trojans' Novice Four boat swept its first heat and went on to win the Grand Final for its first-ever event title.
Looking Towards The 2004 NCAAs -- The eighth annual NCAA Women's Rowing Championships will be held at Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The events will take place Friday, May 28, through Sunday, May 30. Washington, last year's runner-up to national champion Brown, is the only team from the Pac-10 to ever win the national title (1997, 1998, 2001). The Trojans' Varsity Eight boat is looking for its sixth-consecutive bid to the championships, while USC has yet to receive a team bid since the NCAA began sponsoring the event in 1998.
Last Year At NCAA Championships -- USC's Varsity Eight boat made its second-ever appearance in the Grand Final for an sixth place overall finish at the 2003 NCAA Championships at Eagle Creek Reservoir in Indianapolis, Ind. In one of the closest races of the day, Harvard won the Varsity Eight individual event which helped clinch the overall team title for the Crimson.
USC History At NCAA Championships -- Since the USC women's rowing program began offering scholarships in 1994, the Trojans have made six consecutive appearances at the NCAA Championships - 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003. Most notably, USC captured the Women's Varsity Four national title in 1998 by defeating eventual 1999 champion Brown.
Babraj's In Their Second Year At USC -- Zenon and Kelly Babraj are now in their second season at the helm of the USC women's rowing program. With a long list of accomplishments at the international and national levels, Zenon Babraj serves as the program director and co-head coach with Kelly. The pair took over in June, 2002, as only the second coaching staff in the history of the women's rowing program. The Babraj's are assisted by Craig Webster, a former head coach at UCLA with over seven years of collegiate coaching experience. Webster is in charge of the novice program.