No. 1 Women Of Troy Take Top Ranking Into Annual Dual Race Against No. 15 UCLA

April 23, 2007

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The No. 1 USC women's rowing team will face off against the No. 15 UCLA lady Bruins on Saturday in the annual dual race at Ballona Creek in Marina Del Rey, Calif. The dual will be the final regular season race for the Women of Troy before preparations begin for the Pac-10 Championships.

The varsity eight will get the morning started, launching around 7:30 for their race, which takes place at 8 a.m. The second varsity eight will race immediately following, at 8:15 a.m. After a short break, the varsity four will hit the water for their race at 9 a.m. followed by the novice eight at 9:15 a.m.

The Trojans own a 5-0 record against the Bruins in the five years that the race has awarded five points towards Lexus Gauntlet standings to the winner. Although the Trojans have not lost in the head-to-head dual race, the past two seasons have been close calls to say the least, winning each year with a score of 4-3 and a varsity eight boat that won by less than two seconds in 2005 and fewer than four seconds in 2006. In fact, the 2006 edition of this dual featured four races that would each be decided by no more than four seconds. In 2004, USC won all six possible points, when there was no novice race but neither school has swept the entire dual by taking all seven points.

The dual race winner is determined by a point system similar to the one used at the Pac-10 Championships. Three (3) points will be awarded to the varsity eight winner, two (2) to the JV eight winner and one (1) point apiece to the winners of the varsity four and novice eight race for a total of seven possible points.

Race History
USC and UCLA began racing annually in 2002, the year that UCLA resurrected its rowing program with the Women of Troy winning all five dual meetings, having defeated the Bruins in 12 of the 19 total races over the past five years.

The Trojan varsity eight have never lost a dual race to UCLA and the JV eight holds a 4-1 record with the only loss coming last season by just less than four seconds. UCLA however, owns the edge in varsity four races with a 3-2 record. The novice eight recorded its first head-to-head victory against the Bruins in 2006, crossing the finish line exactly four seconds ahead of UCLA's boat. Prior to that victory, the Bruins had won the three previous novice boat meetings, with no novice race taking place in 2004.

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 them enough points to jump Brown for the top spot in the most recent poll. 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. The Bruins are currently ranked 15th. USC will face at least twelve opponents this season that have been ranked in the top 20.

Battle for the Lexus Gauntlet
Saturday's race will decide who will capture the five points awarded in women's rowing for the 2006-07 Lexus Gauntlet, a season long competition between USC and UCLA. The Bruins currently lead the competition 57.5 to 22.5 and although UCLA has technically earned enough points to win the Gauntlet, USC could still win back 2.5 points in women's water polo (USC would have to defeat UCLA in MPSF Tournament and NCAA competition) The Lexus Gauntlet championship will be decided this week when the Bruins and the Trojans square off in women's golf, women's rowing and men's and women's track and field. In six years of the competition, UCLA and USC have alternated winning the Lexus Gauntlet trophy. The Bruins captured the rivalry's crown jewel in 2003 and 2005, while the Trojans won the challenge in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

The USC men's club crew will also be participating in races between and after women's races.

Directions to the UCLA boathouse from the USC campus:

- Take the 10 West (Santa Monica Freeway)
- Take the 405 South (San Diego Freeway)
- Take the 90 West (Marina del Rey Freeway)
- Follow the 90 all the way to its end where it turns into a surface street
- Make a LEFT on 'Mindanao'
- Make a LEFT on 'Lincoln Blvd.'
- Make a RIGHT on 'Fiji Way.'

Probable USC boatings for 2007 UCLA dual

  1st Varsity Eight JV Eight Varsity Four Novice Eight
Coxswain Lauren Cowan Denise Kobashikawa Lisa Sabalvaro Catherine Humenuk
No. 8 (Stroke) Gabriela Varekova Laura McDaniel Anna Specjalska Michelle Taft
No. 7 Magda Madziewicz Bara Varekova Shelley Koskovich Alexandra Tapley
No. 6 Ligita Kaviere Anna Efremova Phebe Greenwood Blair Bartlett
No. 5 Dunja Pejcic Nana Gagatsovi Cassie Richardson Annie Smythe
No. 4 Tatiana Boldyreva Ewelina Nowak   Lisa Greenwood
No. 3 Liene Bertasjus Kinga Marciszewska   Gigi Terril
No. 2 Robin Hextrum Carin Andersson Leah Pace
No. 1 (Bow) Diana Ivanova Jessica Smith   Kacey Maher
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