No. 9 USC Hosts No. 12 UCLA

April 29, 2010

The No. 9 USC women's rowing team will host No. 12 UCLA in the annual clash against its crosstown rival at the Port of Los Angeles on Saturday (May 1) beginning at 8:40 a.m. The Trojans are 8-0 against the Bruins in dual meets.

Action begins at 8:40 a.m. with the mixed fours. The Novice Eight begins at 9 a.m., the Varsity Four at 9:20, the Second Varsity Eight at 9:40 a.m. and the Varsity Eight at 10 a.m. Three points will be awarded to the Varsity Eight winner, two to the Second Varsity Eight winner and one point apiece to the winners of the Varsity Four and the Novice Eight races for a total of seven possible points.

In addition to trying to remain perfect against UCLA in the all-time series, USC is also trying to secure valuable points toward winning the Crosstown Gauntlet, the season-long competition between Trojans and Bruins in all sports. Five points are up for grabs for women's rowing. The winning school needs 57.5 points to clinch. USC currently leads, 50-42.5.

USC's Varsity Eight has never lost to UCLA (8-0) while its Second Varsity has gone 5-2-1 (the tie coming in 2005).

USC's First Varsity eight lineup remains the same for the third consecutive event, featuring cox Dionne Licudine, Ivana Filipovic, Liene Bertasjus, Lenka Vrecnikova, Helen Tinkus, Anna Wierzbowska, Maria Wilgotsson, Iskra Angelova and Ewa Tymoszewska.

Troy's Second Varsity Eight is still being fine tuned while its Varsity Four will consist of cox Caroline Trawick, Carin Andersson, Kate McFetridge, Caroline Sederowsky and Andrea Vehovec. The Novice lineup consists of cox Tanya Ouyang, Rachel Moll, Karley Kirk, Barbra Romer, Hannah Bowen, Cailin McLennan, Anne Turner, Andrea Oaxaca and Melanie Grindle.


The No. 8 USC women's rowing team's first varsity eight and first varsity four each posted wins during a four-team regatta against fellow top 15 teams on Griggs Reservoir in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday (April 18). The Trojans' first varsity eight, competing against No. 7 Michigan State, No. 10 Michigan and No. 15 and host Ohio State, finished first in 6:18.0. USC's boat featuring cox Dionne Licudine, Ivana Filipovic, Liene Bertasjus, Lenka Vrecnikova, Helen Tinkus, Anna Wierzbowska, Maria Wilgotsson, Iskra Angelova and Ewa Tymoszewska edged the No. 7 Spartans, who were second in 6:19.79. The Wolverines were third (6:28.47) while the Buckeyes were fourth (6:30.38).USC's second varsity eight fourth in 6:34.16. Michigan (6:27.10) was first, Ohio State second (6:29.10) and Michigan State third (6:31.48). The Trojans' varsity four won with a 7:21.40, comfortably ahead of the second-place Spartans (7:26.40). The Buckeyes (7:31.00) were third and the Wolverines fourth (7:31.78).

At the SoCal Challenge on April 10, USC competed against No. 12 Clemson and No. 19 Notre Dame in morning and afternoon races in Marina Del Rey, Calif.. USC's first varsity won both of its races, defeating Notre Dame, 6:40.64 to 6:52.07, in a morning race and taking down Clemson, 7:17.38 to 7:27.19, in a late afternoon race against an incoming tide. Also against the Irish, USC's second varsity won, 6:59.30 to 7:11.83. Troy's first varsity four edged Notre Dame, 7:52.37 to 7:56.90, while the Trojans' novice eight won, 7:14.64 to 7:20.36. Against Clemson in the late afternoon, USC's novice boat fell to Clemson, 8:06.80 to 8:12.92, USC's varsity four lost, 8:36.95 to 8:52.48, and its second varsity eight was edged, 8:35.43 to 8:39.99.

USC won three silvers in a strong conclusion to the 37th annual San Diego Crew Classic on March 28 in Mission Bay, Calif. USC's first varsity of cox Dionne Licudine, Ivana Filipovic, Liene Bertasjus, Lenka Vrecnikova, Helen Tinkus, Anna Weirzbowska, Maria Wilgotsson, Iskra Angelova and Ewa Tymoszewska finished second in 6:37.48, only three seconds behind No. 3 Virginia (6:34.20). The Trojans' second varsity also took second, edged by Virginia A in the final meters of the race. The USC boat led for most of the race, but was caught at the end by the Cavaliers' boat, which won in 6:50.00 to USC's 6:50.25. In the Open/Club eight, the Trojans took their third second of the day. USC held a slight lead over UCLA in the first 500 meters but could not hold them off Bruins over the final 500 meters of the 2K course. UCLA won in 7:13.20 to USC's 7:19.98.


If rowing teams kept head-to-head win-loss records, USC's first varsity eight would be 11-1 so far this year. It finished second out of eight crews at the San Diego Crew Classic (6-1), defeated Clemson and Notre Dame in head-to-head competition (2-0) and won a race against Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State (3-0).

RANKED FOESUSC, under eighth-year head coach Zenon Babraj, has faced some of the top competition in the country this season, including No. 3 Virginia, No. 7 Michigan State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 11 UCLA, No. 12 Clemson, No. 15 Ohio State and No. 19 Notre Dame. USC's Varsity Eight has defeated all but Virginia.

The Women of Troy's first varsity eight is ranked third in's cMax Rankings as of April 28. These computer ratings use race results from around the country to project how teams would do if pitted against one another.

Senior starboard Liene Bertasjus is a two-time Pocock All-American. Bertasjus, a 2010 co-captain, was also a CRCA West Region and All-Pac-10 first team selection. Bertasjus, who holds most of the Trojans' records on the ergometer, has been instrumental in USC's Varsity Eight success the past two seasons.

USC has not lost to crosstown rival UCLA since the teams began dual race competition, with Crosstown Gauntlet points on the line, in 2002. The schools pit first varsity eights (3 points), second varsity eights (2 points), varsity fours (1 point) and novice eights (1 point) against each other. The winner of the dual race and the Gauntlet points is the team that earns 4 or more out of the 7 available points.

Senior starboard Alexandra Tapley and senior port Carin Anderson were Honorable Mention selections for the 2009 Pac-10 All-Academic Team. USC also placed four outgoing seniors on last year's All-Academic Team, including three first team selections.

USC brought home three silver medals at this year's San Diego Crew Classic, including one in the Jessop-Whittier Cup, the premier collegiate women's event at the regatta. Since USC began regularly attending this season-opening race in 1995, it has qualified for the grand finals of the Jessop-Whittier Cup 10 times and has won the trophy twice, in 2001 and 2007.

Zenon Babraj is USC's eighth-year director of rowing and head coach. He has been instrumental in establishing the Women of Troy as a premier program on the national level. Under Babraj, USC finished fifth as a team at the 2007 NCAA Championships and 11th in 2009. A native of Warsaw, Poland, Babraj was named the 2007 Pac-10 Women's Rowing Coach of the Year.

Marketa DeQuine and Ligita Kaviere, a pair of accomplished former Trojan rowers, currently serve as Babraj's assistant coaches. Kaviere, in her second season as an assistant coach, was a two-time All-American in 2006 and 2007, and led USC to its first Pac-10 Championship in 2007. DeQuine, now in her third year on the staff, was a four-year letterwinner at Troy, where she held down the No. 4 seat in the first varsity eight from 1999-2003.

USC has raced at the Pac-10 Championships 13 times since women's rowing returned as a scholarship sport in 1996. USC won gold in the varsity four in 2005 and in the first varsity eight in 2007. In 2007, USC also won its first team Pac-10 championship and received an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship regatta. USC has placed all three of its varsity boats in the Pac-10 grand finals six times, in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

USC has sent one or more boats to the NCAA Championships for 12 consecutive years, dating back to 1998. However, an NCAA rule change that took effect in 2009 means that for USC to compete in future championships, it must qualify as a team (first varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four) and not as individual boats. USC has qualified and competed as a team three times, in 2005, 2007 and 2009, with its best finish (fifth) coming in 2007.

The women's rowing team is USC's most international team, as the varsity roster includes athletes from nine nations. The countries represented include Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, England, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Serbia, Sweden and the United States.

USC lost only one rower from both its first and second eight boats that competed at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

The Women of Troy train out of USC Boathouse at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, Calif. Located a short, 20-minute drive from the USC campus, the Port of Los Angeles offers 12 miles of calm water, free from most boat traffic. Best of all, the warm Los Angeles climate means the Women of Troy can train on the water 12 months a year.

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