Babraj Honored as CRCA West Region Coach of the Year
May 28, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS - USC women's rowing head coach Zenon Babraj was honored by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) as the 2013 West Region Coach of the Year on Tuesday (May 28). It is the second time in his career that Babraj has received such distinction. He was also the West Region Coach of the Year in 2007 and was chosen as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in the same season.
The CRCA also announced its 2013 Division I All-Region award winners. Five Trojans were honored in the West Region with four on the first team and one on the second team. Junior stroke Vineta Moca received first-team distinction to add to her second-team selection from a year ago. Moca was joined on the first team by three first-time honorees including senior bow Melanie Grindle, sophomore starboard Krisztina Gyimes, and senior Jennah Blau who received the nod as the first team's coxswain.
Senior port Ivana Filipovic received second-team honors for the second time in her career. She was also a second-team selection as a sophomore in 2010, and claimed first-team regional distinction as a junior in 2011. In each of the previous seasons, Filipovic went on to receive CRCA All-America honors.
The five regional awards push USC's all-time totals to 44 certificates: 25 first-team selections, 18 second-team selections, and a single third-team selection.
The regional awards recognize the outstanding performances of rowers and coxswains from each of the five CRCA regions (Central, Mid-Atlantic, New England, South, and West), and are organized into first- and second-team selections. Nominated student-athletes were evaluated on the strength of their team's regional finish, coaches recommendations, and 2,000-meter erg score. Nominees must have competed in their teams' varsity boat in 75-percent of races, this season, and will be eligible for All-America awards selection following the NCAA Rowing Championships.
The CRCA also announced its 2013 National Scholar-Athlete awards. Grindle became the first Trojan to receive the academic award three times in her career while Moca earned her second academic recognition in as many years. Sophomore coxswain Kellyn Freire and sophomore bow Elizabeth Turner were each honored for the first time in their careers. The four honorees give the Women of Troy 21 all-time National Scholar-Athlete awards.
Grindle graduated, this May, with a degree in business administration from USC's famed Marshall School of Business and will be attending law school at Columbia in the fall. She is also a winner of a Pac-12 postgraduate scholarship and received the Tom Hansen Pac-12 Medal. Moca is working towards a degree in policy, planning, and development, and Turner is studying human biology. Freire's major is undeclared.
In order to be considered for the scholar-athlete award, a student-athlete must meet all eligibility rules as defined by her institution and be in her second, third, or fourth year of eligibility. Each honoree must have rowed in her institution's NCAA eligible boat(s) for a minimum of 75-percent of the current season's races and must have a 3.5 cumulative grade-point average, or higher, for her career.
The top-ranked Women of Troy have their sights set on a national title at this weekend's (May 31-June 2) NCAA Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis. The Trojans will make their fifth consecutive team appearance in the championships; the program's seventh overall as a team. USC finished fifth twice (2007 and 2011) and has had one boat win an individual national title--the 1998 varsity four. Preliminary heats are set to begin on Friday, May 31, at 9:10 a.m. ET. For all of the latest news, results and a webcast of all races at the NCAA Championships, visit NCAA.com.