Trojans Earn Program-Best Fourth-Place NCAA Finish
June 2, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS - The second-ranked Women of Troy completed the 2013 campaign with a program-best fourth-place finish in the NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park on Sunday (June 2). USC's varsity four claimed silver in the fours grand final to take the podium while the Trojans' second varsity eight enjoyed a best-ever finish of fourth place. USC's varsity eight topped off the day with a sixth-place finish in its grand final.
Top-ranked Ohio State claimed crowns in the II Eights and Fours events while California won the varsity eight title. The Buckeyes won their first-ever team championship (also a first for any Big Ten school) with 126 points as they edged the Golden Bears (124). Princeton grabbed third place with 112 points and the Trojans finished with 110. Virginia was fifth with 108 and Washington rounded out the top-six team finishers with 102 points.
"I'm very happy with the performance of the four," said head coach Zenon Babraj. "Even though the 2V8 came in fourth, I think that was a great race. If they would have been on a stroke, they could have been second. The difference between second and fourth was so small. Both of those boats performed up to their potential. They were full speed and were each very close to Ohio State, which had been a dominant team all season. As for the performance of the varsity eight, I'd have to say that it's disappointing. They couldn't handle the pressure, today, and had an unfortunately poor run in the final."
With all three boats in grand finals, USC's varsity four was the first to race in its grand final and completed the course in record time (7:11.03) to grab second place and 21 points for the Trojans. The USC four came out of the gates with a strong first piece and held a solid two-seat lead at the 500-meter mark. Behind them, all five crews were neck-and-neck. Midway through the race, the Trojans maintained their lead, but were met with challenges from Ohio State and Washington, with Virginia in fourth.
With just 500 meters to go, the Buckeyes pulled ahead by just a couple of feet, but it had turned into a two-boat race with Washington and Virginia battling for third and clear separation between the top four and Brown and Washington State. The Trojans fought to stay with Ohio State down the last stretch of the course, but the Buckeyes had too much and claimed first place with a time of 7:08.26. The Huskies (7:12.04) and the Cavaliers (7:12.16) went down to the wire for third place before Washington edged UVA. Brown (7:21.13) and Washington State (7:25.85) finished fifth and sixth.
The varsity four's silver-medal finish is its best since the 1998 crew won the NCAA title. It is also the best finish for a USC four since Babraj took over in 2003. USC's four was coxed by Paige Fernandes with Katherine Gleadow at stroke, Darian DiCianno, Eglit Vosu, and bow Kajsa Olsson. Gleadow only took over stroke duties two weeks prior.
"I think the change in our lineup brought us a different kind of confidence because it was something new and something different," said Fernandes. "Eglit [Võsu] and Kajsa [Olsson] rowed behind Kate [Gleadow] at NCAAs last year in the 2V8 and they had a strong finish. I think they trusted her and they knew that when push comes to shove at the last 1,000 meters of the race, they knew that she was going to be there for them. Also, Darian [DiCianno] being a freshman, that's incredible to go out there and get second at the NCAA championships. It says a lot about how great an asset she is to us."
In the II Eights event, the race started about as even as it ended. The difference between second and fourth place was a mere four tenths of a second. Fifth and sixth place were separated by just six tenths of a second. The crews raced out to a near dead heat through the first 500 meters, but Brown and USC held just a nose of a lead. Ohio State made its move in the second piece of the race and climbed in front at the halfway point to take a couple of seats over Brown, USC, Cal, and Princeton. 1,000 meters in, Yale was in sixth but by just a single seat.
The Buckeyes continued to hold their lead with 500 meters to go, with Cal, Brown, and USC jockeying for a second-place position. Princeton had created a small lead over Yale, but in the end the Buckeye push was too strong as Ohio State crossed the finish line in first (6:27.87). Cal crossed the line on stroke to seize second place (6:29.89) with Brown (6:30.15) and USC (6:30.43) on the recovery in third and fourth. Yale (6:32.82) overtook Princeton (6:33.46) in the final 100-meters to finish in fifth and left the Tigers in sixth.
Coxed by Kellyn Freire, USC's 2V8 recorded the program's best-ever finish in the NCAA II Eights event and earned 38 points for the Trojans who held a firm grip on second place in the running team standings through two events. The second varsity eight had Elizabeth Turner at bow with Madelyn Walters, Vanessa Tyson, Marlena Adamska, Jelena Miladinovic, Lindsay Gibson, Rebecca Shaffer, and Deirdre Fitzpatrick at stroke.
In the day's main event, the I Eights featured much drama. Ohio State had a chance to become the first team in NCAA history to win all three events at the championships, and the defending varsity eight champion Virginia held a favorable lane in the race. Through the first 500, it was Princeton that pulled in front with a 1:31.40 split. The Tigers were unrelenting and held a four-seat lead on Cal and Virginia at the halfway mark of the race. Ohio State and Washington were stuck in a race for fourth with USC in the back of the pack.
With 500 meters to go, California surged ahead out of the sixth lane and went head-to-head with Princeton for the top spot. Virginia was just a spot behind with Washington and USC now battling for fourth place while Ohio State had fallen all the way into sixth place. The Buckeyes mounted a huge surge in the final 500 meters to close with a time of 6:23.19 and take third place. Cal had a little extra in the tank and made a move with 200-meters to go and won the race with a time of 6:21.43 to edge Princeton (6:22.59). Virginia finished in fourth (6:23.65) with Washington in fifth (6:25.69) and USC in sixth (6:28.29).
USC's varsity eight earned 51 points as it made its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA grand final (seventh overall) and 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.
The Trojans complete the 2013 season with a program-best fourth-place finish at the NCAA championships. For complete results from the championships, please visit www.NCAA.com.
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