Trojans in Pole Position Heading into NCAA Championship Finals
June 1, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS - The USC women's rowing team came through with strong performances on the second day of the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park on Saturday (June 1) to put all three of its boats into grand finals for just the second time in program history. The Women of Troy fought off choppy course conditions to put themselves in position to contend for their first-ever NCAA rowing championship and are joined by Ohio State as just one of two crews with three boats in Sunday (June 2) grand finals.
The Trojans also had all three boats in grand finals in 2011 and finished in fifth place as a team to match their program-best finish of fifth place from 2007.
USC's varsity eight opened the day in the first heat of the A/B semifinals and was pitted against a strong field of California, Virginia, UCLA, Stanford, and Brown. The Cavaliers never trailed in the race and completed the course with a time of 7:00.61 to claim the first spot in the grand final. USC made its biggest push in the final 500 meters and closed the gap with Virginia, but the Cavaliers held off the Trojan effort to hold first place.
Even as USC challenged Virginia, California was challenging the Trojans for third place, but USC held off the Bears to finish in second place with a final time of 7:06.00. The Bears came in third (7:09.36) to snag a spot in the grand finals and were followed by UCLA (7:16.06), Brown (7:17.02), and Stanford (7:17.75) which each advanced to the petite final.
This is the fourth consecutive year that the USC varsity eight has qualified for the NCAA grand final and the boat's seventh grand final in program history. The Trojans have finished in third place two times: once in 2007 and once in 2012.
USC's varsity eight was coxed by senior Jennah Blau with senior Melanie Grindle in the bow followed by Iskra Angelova, Jelena Zelenovic, Madara Strautmane, Keret Einaste, Ivana Filipovic, Krisztina Gyimes, and Vineta Moca at stroke.
In the II Eights first A/B semifinal, the Trojans put their speed up against Ohio State, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and Washington. The Cardinal came out of the gate churning and led through 500 meters with a split of 1:47.00. In a tight race through the midway point, Ohio State seized the lead and held on for a win with a final time of 7:19.61.
With 500 meters to go, USC and Yale were jockeying for position behind the Buckeye crew. The Trojans held a one-seat lead over the Bulldogs, but Yale's final push in the last 250 meters gave it the edge it needed to claim second place with a time of 7:22.77 over USC's 7:24.28. In the end, Ohio State, Yale, and USC advanced to the grand final, but the Trojans had the pressure put on them by a Harvard crew that finished just two seconds back in fourth place (7:26.05). Stanford finished in fifth (7:31.67) with Washington in sixth (7:34.17) to take spots in the petite final.
It is just the second time in program history that USC's second varsity eight will race in the NCAA grand final. The Trojan 2V8 also appeared in the grand final in 2011 and finished in a program-best sixth place.
Coxed by Kellyn Freire, USC's 2V8 had Elizabeth Turner at bow followed by Madelyn Walters, Vanessa Tyson, Marlena Adamska, Jelena Miladinovic, Lindsay Gibson, Rebecca Shaffer, and Deirdre Fitzpatrick at stroke.
In the fours event, USC's varsity four dropped the hammer and went max revs for the entire length of the course to win its semifinal heat in a time of 7:44.82 and beat Virginia--the next closest four--by more than five seconds (7:50.08). The Trojans never trailed, were seldom challenged, and had the shortest split of the race with a time of 1:48.71 in the first 500 meters to cruise into the grand final.
In the middle of the pack, the real race was on between Washington State and Princeton for third place. The Cougars (7:52.48) edged the Tigers (7:52.69) for the final spot in the grand final while Notre Dame (7:55.39) and Michigan (8:02.69) finished in fifth and sixth respectively to move into the petite final.
The USC varsity four will make its third appearance in the NCAA grand final in the last four years; its fifth in program history. The Trojans' V4 finished in third in 2011 and claimed an NCAA title in 1998. The 2013 USC varsity four is coxed by Paige Fernandes with Katherine Gleadow at stroke, Darian DiCianno, Eglit Võsu, and bow Kajsa Olsson.
Division I grand finals begin with the fours event at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sunday (June 2). USC will race Ohio State, Washington, Brown, Virginia, and Washington State. The II Eights grand final is set for 9:50 a.m. where the Trojans will face Ohio State, Yale, Brown, California, and Princeton. In the main event, the Women of Troy will race at 10:10 a.m. in the I Eights grand final against Virginia, California, Ohio State, Princeton, and Washington.
All race times are subject to change depending on weather and course conditions. Please visit www.NCAA.com for more information on the championships, updated schedules and results, and ticket information. Follow @IndSportsCorp on Twitter for up-to-date weather and course availability information.
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