USC’s second-ranked varsity women’s rowing team ended their 2013 season on a high note, finishing a program-best fourth in the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Rowing Championships in Indianapolis on Sunday.
To highlight the final day of races, USC’s varsity four made the podium, claiming silver in the fours grand final, while the Trojans’ second varsity team of eight earned a fourth place finish, their best of the 2013 season. The varsity eight also capped off the day with a sixth-place finish in its grand final.
“I’m very happy with the performance of the four,” said USC 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.”
Babraj expressed confidence that both of those boats met their lofty expectations, but was less pleased with the varsity eight.
“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.”
No. 1 Ohio State lived up to its ranking, as they captured their first-ever team championship — a first for any Big Ten school — by winning the II Eights and Fours Events. With those wins, they racked up 126 points, which barely edged out the Golden Bears of California who finished with 124 points after winning the varsity eight title. Princeton finished third with 112 points and the Trojans followed with 110 points.
USC had all three of their boats in the grand finals and started the day strong with a second place finish by the varsity four, as they raced the course in a record 7:11.03 to claim 21 points for the Women of Troy. In the race, the four came out strong and led midway through the race, but could not hang on, as Ohio State came from behind to win.
Coxed by Paige Fernandes, the four of Katherine Gleadow at stroke, Darian DiCianno, Eglit Vosu and bow Kajsa Olsson gave USC its best finish for a four since coach Babraj joined the program in 2003. Gleadow had taken over stroke duties just two weeks prior to the championships.
“The change in our lineup brought us a different kind of confidence because it was something new and something different,” Fernandes said. “Eglit [Vosu] 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.”
Babraj also highlighted freshman standout DiCianno.
“Darian 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.”
USC’s second varsity eight, coxed by Kellyn Freire, notched the program’s best-ever finish in the NCAA II Eights event and earned 38 points for the Trojans, which gave them a firm hold on second place in the team standings through two events.
In the day’s main event, USC’s varsity eight finished a disappointing sixth place in a time of 6:28.29, as it made its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA grand final.
The Women of Troy cap off the season with a program-best fourth-place finish at the NCAA championships and now enter the offseason.