No. 10 USC Set For NCAA Championships

May 26, 2010

The No. 10 USC women's rowing team, featuring one of the top Varsity Eights in the country, will make its fourth appearance as a team at the 2010 NCAA Rowing Championships Friday through Sunday (May 28-30) at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif.

The Trojans, coming off a fourth-place finish at the recently completed Pac-10 Championships, were one of six Pac-10 teams selected to the 16-team field. Joining USC from the Pac-10, scheduled for May 28-30 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif., will be host team No. 14 Washington State, No. 3 California, No. 4 Stanford, No. 7 Washington and No. 13 UCLA.

The other 10 teams making the field include No. 6 Brown, No. 12 Clemson, No. 11 Michigan, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 15 Ohio State, No. 2 Princeton, No. 16 Tennessee, No. 1 Virginia, No. 8 Wisconsin and No. 5 Yale. The team championships require each squad to field two boats of eight rowers and one boat of four rowers.

USC has now reached the NCAAs as a team in back-to back seasons (2009-10), a first in program history. The Trojans first qualified as a team in 2005 and did it again in 2007. Its berth in 2009 came first year the NCAA made selections exclusively as teams instead of boats.

USC's First Varsity Eight will race in the first heat Friday against California, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Washington State at 8:45 a.m. Troy's Second Varsity Eight will compete in the third heat against Washington, Brown, Ohio State, Michigan and UCLA at 10 a.m. The Trojans' Varsity Four will race in the second heat against Washington, Yale, UCLA and Washington State at 10:30 a.m. All times are PDT.

Below is the schedule of races for May 28. Semifinals are scheduled for May 29 and finals for May 30. For more information, click the rowing site here.

First Varsity Eight
Heat one: California, USC, Michigan State, Washington, Washington State
Heat two: Yale, Stanford, Brown, Michigan, Wisconsin
Heat three: Virginia, Princeton, UCLA, Clemson, Tennessee, Ohio State

Second Varsity Eight
Heat one: Princeton, Virginia, Yale, Clemson, Tennessee
Heat two: Stanford, California, Wisconsin, Washington State, Michigan State
Heat three: Washington, Brown, Ohio State, Michigan, USC, UCLA

Varsity Four
Heat one: Virginia, California, Michigan State, Michigan, Clemson
Heat two: Washington, Yale, UCLA, USC, Washington State
Heat three: Brown, Wisconsin, Princeton, Stanford, Ohio State, Tennessee

Highlights of the Divisions I, II and III Women's Rowing Championships will appear on the 2010 CBS Sports Presents Championships of the NCAA (spring seasonal show), set to air at 4 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, June 19 on CBS.

USC's First Varsity eight lineup remains the same for the fifth 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 will include cox Jennah Blau, Marlena Adamska, Andrea Vehovec, Ewelina Nowak, Jelena Zelenovic, Gabriela Zarate-DeMacedo, Magda Janicka, Jana Vyhnankova and Anna Janicka.

Its Varsity Four will consist of cox Caroline Trawick, Carin Andersson, Caroline Sederowsky, Kate McFetridge and Kinga Mikolajczyk.

USC's spare rowers this weekend will be Hannah Bowen and Melanie Grindle and the spare coxswain is Tanya Ouyang.

USC has now sent one or more boats to the NCAA Championships for 13 consecutive years, dating back to 1998. However, the NCAA rule change that took effect in 2009 means in future championships, all teams 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 before this year, in 2005, 2007 and 2009, with its best finish (fifth) coming in 2007.


The No. 8 USC women's rowing team finished third in the Varsity Eight and fourth overall at the 2010 Pac-10 Championships on May 16 at Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. Top-ranked California won the team title with 39.5 points, edging No. 5 Stanford (39). No. 7 Washington was third with 31.5 points while USC was fourth with 24.5. No. 12 UCLA was fifth (22) while Washington was sixth (17.5) and Oregon State was seventh (eight). USC's First Varsity eight lineup of cox Dionne Licudine, Ivana Filipovic, Liene Bertasjus, Lenka Vrecnikova, Helen Tinkus, Anna Wierzbowska, Maria Wilgotsson, Iskra Angelova and Ewa Tymoszewska finished third in 6:36.6. Top-ranked California was first in 6:29.9, Stanford was third (6:30.8). UCLA was fourth (6:43.6).Troy's Second Varsity Eight finished sixth in 6:59.0 and USC's Varsity Four finished fifth in 7:40.3. The Novice lineup was seventh.

USC remained unbeaten against its crosstown rival, defeating No. 12 UCLA, 4-3, in the annual dual between the two schools on May 1 at the Port of Los Angeles. USC's first varsity eight defeated UCLA's boat for the ninth time without a loss and Troy's varsity four boat also won as the Trojans improved to 9-0 in the all-time series with the Bruins. The Trojans' first varsity eight lineup of cox Dionne Licudine, Ivana Filipovic, Liene Bertasjus, Lenka Vrecnikova, Helen Tinkus, Anna Wierzbowska, Maria Wilgotsson, Iskra Angelova and Ewa Tymoszewska posted a dominant win over UCLA, winning 6:37.37 to 6:47.47, snaring the final three points of the dual and clinching the win. The varsity four was a tight affair, but USC's cox Caroline Trawick, Carin Andersson, Kate McFetridge, Caroline Sederowsky and Andrea Vehovec were able to hold off the Bruins, 7:37.92 to 7:39.01.

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 18-3 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), won a race against Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State (3-0) and easily handled UCLA (1-0). At the Pac-10s (6-2), it finished third, behind only California and Stanford.

RANKED FOESUSC, under eighth-year head coach Zenon Babraj, has faced some of the top competition in the country this season, including No. 1 Virginia, No. 3 Cal, No. 4 Stanford, No. 7 Washington, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 11 Michigan, No. 13 UCLA (three times), No. 12 Clemson, No. 14 Washington State and No. 15 Ohio State.

The Women of Troy's first varsity eight is ranked sixth in's cMax Rankings as of May 26. 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, going 9-0. 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 14 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.

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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