Women's Rowing
    No. 5 USC Set For NCAA Championships

    Head Coach Zenon Barbaj

    May 25, 2011

    The No. 5 USC women's rowing team, featuring one of the top Varsity Eights in the country, will make its fifth appearance as a team at the 2011 NCAA Rowing Championships Friday through Sunday (May 27-29) at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif.

    The Trojans, coming off a third-place finish at the recently completed Pac-10 Championships, were one of five Pac-10 teams selected to the 16-team field. The other Pac-10 teams in the 2011 NCAA field are Cal, Stanford, Washington, and host Washington State. The rest of the field consists of Brown, Clemson, Dartmouth, Harvard, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Virginia, Wisconsin and Yale.

    USC has now reached the NCAAs as a team in three consecuitive seasons (2009-10-11), 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.

    Highlights of the NCAA Championships will appear on the 2011 CBS Sports Presents Championships of the NCAA (spring seasonal show), set to air on Sunday, June 19, on CBS at 1 p.m. PT.

    Lineups for the NCAA Championships below:

    Varsity Eight: Cox. Dionne Licudine 8.) Ivana Filipovic, 7.) Maria Wilgotsson, 6.) Lenka Vrecnikova, 5.) Magda Janicka, 4.) Anna Wierzbowska, 3.) Jelena Zelenovic, 2.) Iskra Angelova, 1.) Helen Tinkus



    2nd Varsity Eight: Cox. Tanya Ouyang, 8.) Vineta Moca, 7.) Jelena Miladinovic, 6.) Kajsa Olsson, 5.) Liene Stuberovska, 4.) Marlena Adamska, 3.) Anna Janicka, 2.) Kinga Mikolajczyk, 1.) Ewa Tymoszewska

    Varsity Four: Cox. Caroline Trawick, 4.) Gaby Zarate Demacedo, 3.) Caroline Sederowsky, 2.) Rachel Moll, 1.) Melanie Grindle


    PAC-10 Championships
    The No. 4 USC rowing team fished third overall at the Pac-10 Championships Sunday (May 15) at Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. on a day that saw race times adjusted due to inclement weather. Top-ranked Cal won the team title with 43.5 points, beating out No. 3 Stanford (34). USC was third with 30.5 points, No. 7 Washington was fourth (25.5), while No. 14 Washington State (24) was fifth. No. 17 UCLA (14.5) finished sixth, and Oregon State (10) was seventh. USC's Varsity Four, the No. 4 boat in the Pac-10, rowed a strong race fishing third (7:19.2) just behind second place Washington (7:18.7) The 2nd Varsity Eight entered the event ranked as the No. 4 boat in the conference. Posting a time of 6:34.3 the Trojans finished third just behind Cal (6:32.4). The days final race was run under unfavorable conditions that included headwinds, rain, hail and lightning. It was apparent that many crews were affected adversely by the conditions and some wondered if the race should have been run at all. USC's Varsity Eight, the No. 1 boat in the country, finished third in 7:09.3 behind Stanford (7:02.6) and Cal (7:02.1).

    The No. 4 USC rowing team moved to 10-0 all-time against UCLA winning two of three varsity races Saturday at UCLA's home course. USC was able to secure wins in the varsity eight and second varsity races after dropping the varsity four race to start the day. The day didn't start as planned for the Trojans varsity four as they couldn't hold off a late push from the Bruins who finished with a time of 7:16:50. USC crossed the finish with a mark of 7:19:0, 3.5 seconds behind UCLA. The Women of Troy rebounded as the second varsity eight rowed a strong race finishing in 6:33.30, almost five seconds ahead of UCLA. Next up the varsity eight boats squared off as the Trojans looked to extended their impressive unbeaten streak to 11-0 this season. USC dominated from start to finish and eventually opened up a significant lead finishing in 6:22.30, almost 15 seconds in front of UCLA sealing the team win for Troy.

    The Trojans traveled to Lake Monticello, Virginia April 15-17 to face some of the nation's top teams in three dual meets over three days. USC swept No. 12 Clemson in all three races to open the weekend. The Varsity Fours won by 1.5 seconds with a mark of 8:42:0 followed by the Second Varsity Eight who finished with a time of 7:32:0, 10.1 seconds ahead of the Tigers. USC's Varsity Eight dominated finishing almost 12 seconds ahead of Clemson. USC then won two of three events against No. 8 Michigan State as the Varsity Fours finished in 7:45:0 more for more than a 12 second win. The Varsity Eight impressed for the second day in a row with defeating the Spartans by almost 15 seconds. The Women of Troy returned to the water to face No. 2 Virginia the next morning as the Varsity Four scored nearly a nine second win (7:11:2) over Virginia. USC's Varsity Eight capped the winning weekend finishing almost nine seconds ahead (6:18:3) of the Cavaliers.

    The Trojans kicked off their season in winning fashion as the Varsity Eight and Varsity Four boats both won titles at the prestigious San Diego Crew Classic in Mission Bay, Calif. USC's Varsity Eight won the third Jessop-Whittier Cup in school history by taking first in the Women's Collegiate Varsity Invitational Grand Final. The Trojans with a winning time of 6.32.90 finished a boat length ahead of #4 Stanford followed by #3 Cal, #15 Wisconsin, #8 Washington and #13 Washington State. The Trojans also won the inaugural Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup by taking first place in the Collegiate 4+ Grand Final. With a time of 7:30.90 USC finished three seconds ahead of UCLA followed by Oklahoma, Stanford, Oregon State and Iowa. Also in action, USC's Second Varsity Eight managed a third place finish in the Collegiate 2V Grand Final that featured tough competition from Washington, Stanford, Wisconsin, Washington State and UCLA. The 2nd Varsity Four won the petite final of the collegiate fours race, comfortably ahead of Tulsa, USD, Alabama, Tulsa B and Bates.


    USC, under ninth-year head coach Zenon Babraj, has faced some of the top competition in the country this season, including No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 Cal, No. 5 Virginia, No. 7 Washington, No. 8 Michigan State, No. 11 Clemson, No. 12 Washington State, No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 17 UCLA. USC's Varsity Eight has defeated each of them.

    USC (10-0) 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.

    USC senior Kate McFetridge earned Pac-10 Rowing All-Academic first team honors while senior Laura Pomatto and juniors Lauren Smolenski and Lenka Vrecnikova earned second team honors, the conference announced Monday. McFetridge earned first team honors with a 3.78 GPA in health promotion and pre-med studies. Pomatto's second team honors came with a 3.54 GPA in biochemical engineering and human development and aging while Smolenski had a 3.46 in architecture. Additionally, senior Kinga Mikolajczyk and juniors Anna Janicka, Magda Janicka and Maria Wilgotsson earned honorable mention honors.

    USC brought home two first place finishes 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 11 times and has won the trophy three times, in 2001, 2007 and 2011.

    Zenon Babraj is USC's ninth-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 eighth in 2010. A native of Warsaw, Poland, Babraj was named the 2007 Pac-10 Women's Rowing Coach of the Year.

    Marketa DeQuine and Ligita Kaviere, Liene Bertasjus a trio 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 letter winner at Troy, where she held down the No. 4 seat in the first varsity eight from 1999-2003. Bertasjus, a three-time Pocock All-American and 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, was instrumental in USC's Varsity Eight's recent success.

    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 13 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 four times, in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010 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.

    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.