USC Women's Rowing Welcomes New Class of Oarswomen
Six women have signed with the USC women's rowing team head coach Josh Adam announced today (Nov. 19). Cecilie Brünnich Sørensen, Annabel Aron, Iva Lazić, Isabella Lysaker, Bella DeBenedetti and Jane Cox will join the Women of Troy in the fall of 2021.
"This class represents a tremendous team recruiting effort to get these student-athletes here to Troy. It is one of the most talented group of young women that we have seen join USC in a single year. We expect that by inserting these young women into our training program and providing them with the best student-athlete-centered resources, that we have future Olympians in our midst. But we most certainly know that we have a gritty, humble group of women who will give their best to represent USC and the Trojan Family with distinction."
Cecilie Brünnich Sørensen joins the Women of Troy from Dragør, Denmark, where she has an impressive amount of international experience as she has been competing for the Danish National Rowing Team since 2017 and rowing for Danske Studenters Rowing Club since 2012. Her biggest accomplishments as a national team member include a 14th place finish in the pair at the 2017 European Rowing Junior Championships in Krefeld, Germany, and a third place four in the four at the 2019 European Rowing Junior Championships in Essen, Germany. In 2019, she also competed at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo, Japan, where she earned an eighth place with the four (4-). Brünnich Sørensen recently placed 10th at the 2020 European Rowing U23 Championship in the pair. She has won many races including the four at the 2017 and 2019 International Baltic Cup Regatta, as well as claiming titles at both the pair and the eight at the 2017 and 2019 Nordic Championships, respectively. Brünnich Sørensen has been the Danish national indoor champion in her respective age groups from 2012 through 2019 and was the European Indoor Champion in 2014.
"With her focused academics, great athleticism, and grit-driven personality, Cecilie is a perfect fit for our program, said Adam. "She brings a wealth of international rowing experience to USC. Indeed, Cecilie could be the next Danish Olympian to emerge from our program. We are excited to have her join a tradition of talented Danish women who have developed here. In the recruiting process Cecilie's stalwart character and rowing skill stood out; she will make an immediate impact in the Trojan Rowing Family."
Annabel Aron also crosses the Atlantic to join the Women of Troy, hailing from Parnu, Estonia. She has been rowing for the Parnu Soudeklubi Rowing Club since 2014. Aron has been on the Estonian National Rowing Team and competing at international regattas since 2018, including representing her team at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships in Racice, Czech Republic where she placed 10th in the double scull (2x). Before the world championship, she placed fifth in the 2x at the 2018 European Junior Rowing Championships in France. The following year in 2019, she placed 17th in the 2x at the European Junior Rowing Championships in Essen, Germany. In addition to these results, she is a multi-time Estonian National Rowing Champion. She won the junior category in the single (1x), double (2x), and the eight (8+) in 2015. In 2016, Annabel won the junior 2x and 8+ and placed second in the junior quad (4x). In 2017, she placed second in junior 2x, 4x, and 8+. In 2018, she won the junior 2x and 4x. She also competed at the senior level where she won the 4x and the 8+. In 2019, she won the junior 2x, placed second in the senior 2x and senior 4x and placed third in the 8+. As a Estonian national team member, she has also competed at the International Baltic Cup Regatta and her best results include second places in the double scull in 2017 and 2018, and a third place in 2019.
"Anabel is a dedicated student and phenomenal oarswoman," said Adam. "Her quiet hard working character was a joy to encounter in the recruiting process. Anabel brings experience as a U23 and Senior National Rowing Team athleticism to our team. We have had several great Estonian national team caliber rowers develop their skills here at Troy. We expect that she will join that group and make an immediate impact to our team while continuing to push toward becoming an Olympian."
Wrapping up the European newcomers to Troy is Iva Lazić from Belgrade, Serbia. Lazić has been rowing for Red Star Rowing Club since 2016 and has been a member of the Serbian National Rowing Team since 2018. Her most notable performances as a member of the Serbian National Team were claiming 14th place in the pair at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championship in Račice, Czech Republic, and 14th place in the double at the 2019 European Rowing Junior Championships in Essen, Germany. Since 2016, Lazić has competed and medaled at the Serbian National Championships in various disciplines. At the 2016 Nationals, she placed second in U15 4x, and won the U17 2x at the 2017 Nationals. She placed first in the U17 2x, U19 2x, U17 4x, U19 4x, and U19 2- at the 2018 Nationals. Additionally, Lazić claimed first place in U19 2x and 4x, and took second place in Senior 4x at the 2019 Nationals.
"Iva is an amazing Serbian oarswoman," said Adam. "Throughout the recruiting process, Iva's dedication both to her academics and rowing became clear. Having rowed on the Serbian Junior National Rowing Team at a World Championship, she brings lots of international racing experience to the team. Even more, Iva will bring a focused and dedicated character with a sweet demeanor to our Trojan Family. Iva will most certainly make an immediate impact in our top boats."
Isabella Lysaker will join the Women of Troy from Seattle. She has rowed for Holy Names Rowing Club since 2016. During her novice year, she won the North West Regionals in the quad (4x) and double (2x), and also won the North West Ergomania (an indoor rowing race over the 2000-meter distance). She moved to the varsity team in 2017 and earned a spot in the 1V8 boat. Every fall since her freshman year, she has raced at the famous Head of the Charles Regatta as part of the 1V8. Notable finishes include placing eighth and sixth (out of 85 boats) during her sophomore and junior years respectively. Her boat won the V8 race at the 2017 Head of the Lake in Seattle, and also placed first in the V8 and V4 races at the same regatta in 2018. Lysaker qualified for Youth Nationals as a freshman and sophomore by finishing second at the regionals in the V4 in 2018 and winning the V8 in 2019. At the 2018 Youth Nationals, she finished seventh in the V8 and third in the V8 in 2019.
"Bella's hard work, dedication, and amazing power are going to be welcome additions to our team," said Adam. "Her stellar academics and dedication to rowing stood out to us in the recruiting process. She will bring a lot of youthful power that will propel our boats forward. We can't wait to welcome her to the Trojan Rowing Family."
Coxswain Bella DeBenedetti will make the move from Northern California to Los Angeles to become a Trojan. Hailing from Sacramento, Calif., DeBenedetti has been coxing for Capital Crew since 2017. In 2018, she participated in the 9th Seat Camp at the University of Washington, led by Olympic coxswain Mary Whipple. In 2019 she participated at University of California High Performance Racing Camp. DeBenedetti has competed at 2018 Head of the American and helped her boat place ninth out of 29 boats in the V4. In 2019, she led her eight to a third place finish at the Faultline Faceoff, placed second at the Head of the Lake and placed fourth at the Head of the American. She was sitting in the V8 for Capital Junior Crew before the 2020 season was cancelled.
"Riding along Bella's eight at a Capital practice I had the chance to evaluate Bella's coxing abilities," said Adam. "I heard a young woman with poise and confidence beyond her years steering boats to success. From our first conversation, it was clear that she had the right character for our team as well. It is so amazing to find such a mature coxswain to join our team."
Jane Cox arrives at USC from San Diego where she has rowed for the San Diego Rowing Club since 2015. A highly talented oarswoman, Cox was invited to participate at the 2018 US Rowing Development Camp. She also competed at the 2019 USRowing Olympic Development Program where she claimed first in the U17 1x and the U17 4x and took third in the U18+ 8 . In 2018, she stroked the 4x and 2V8+ at the Southwest Regionals and earned third places in both categories. In the fall of 2018, she competed at the Head of the American in the V8+ where she placed fourth. During the 2019 season, she raced at the San Diego Crew Classic in the V8+ and finished in 15th place. She also competed at the Head of the Charles Regatta where she placed 18th out of 85 boats in the Youth 8+.
"At one point in the recruiting process Jane was achieving a personal best every week of her training," said Adam. "The grit and drive to train that hard stood out to us as a fit for the Women of Troy. As we came to know her, we saw that this dedication carried into her scholastic endeavors as well. Character counts with us here at USC Women's Rowing; because of that fact, we know that Jane will be an immediate contributor to the Trojan Rowing Family."
These six student-athletes will look to make an immediate impact to the USC women's rowing team upon their arrival in the fall of 2021.