Melanie Grindle Named Pac-12 Athlete of the Year
May 30, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS - USC women's rowing senior captain Melanie Grindle was named Pac-12 Athlete of the Year on Thursday (May 30) among the conference's 2013 postseason awards. Head coach Zenon Babraj received his second nod for the league's Coach of the Year award and the Women of Troy put four rowers on the All-Conference team: All-Americans Vineta Moca and Ivana Filipovic, Grindle, and sophomore Krisztina Gyimes. Washington State's Ieva Adomaviciute received the Newcomer of the Year award.
Grindle becomes the first-ever USC rower to receive Pac-12 Athlete of the Year honors; an award that began in 2008 and that has only been bestowed upon rowers and coxswains from Stanford and California in its previous existence. This year, she received the Pac-12's postgraduate scholarship and is the recipient of the Tom Hansen Pac-12 Medal. Grindle began her career as a walk-on with the Trojans' novice crew and ascended the ranks to become a team captain and has held the bow seat in the varsity eight boat for the last two seasons. Her All-Pac-12 honor is a first in her career, but Grindle has received conference all-academic honors in her two previous seasons, is a three-time CRCA National Scholar-Athlete, and recently received her first CRCA All-West Region selection.
In his 11th season, Babraj becomes just the fifth coach in league history to receive more than one Pac-12 Coach of the Year award. He joins Dave O'Neill (California), Jan Harville (Washington), Aimee Baker (Stanford), and Kelly Salonites (UCLA). Babraj was also the league's coach of the year in 2007 when his Trojans advanced to the NCAA championship as a team for just the second time in program history. He is also this year's CRCA West Region Coach of the Year.
With four selections to the All-Conference Team, USC equaled its most in a single season since 2007 when current assistant coach Ligita Kaviere and teammates Magda Madziewicz, Dunja Pejcic, and Gabriela Varekova were each chosen for all-league honors. The four certificates gives the Women of Troy 37 all-time all-conference selections, 22 of which have come since Babraj's arrival on campus.
A senior, Filipovic receives her second All-Pac-12 nod. She was also chosen as a junior in 2011. She is a three-time CRCA All-West Region selection and has been named a CRCA All-American twice in her career.
Though Moca is a two-time CRCA All-West Region recipient and was named an All-American as a sophomore, this is her first All-Conference honor. It is also Gyimes' first All-Conference honor.
The second-ranked Trojans 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. USC will make its fifth consecutive team appearance in the championships; the program's seventh overall as a team. The Trojans finished fifth twice (2007 and 2011) and have 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.
2013 PAC-12 WOMEN'S ROWING ALL-CONFERENCE TEAM