Southern California one of two teams to advance all three boats to Grand Finals
INDIANAPOLIS -- Southern California 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 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 NCAA rowing championships and are joined by Ohio State as just one of two crews with three boats in Sunday's Grand Finals.
USC's Varsity 8 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.
USC's Varsity 8 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 2V8 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 ahead of 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 against 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.
USC's Varsity 4 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 4 -- 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.