Rowing exceeds expectations at NCAA finals

USC women’s rowing took 12th place at the NCAA Championships last weekend in Sarasota, Fla. After placing fourth in the Pac-12 Championships, they were an at-large selection for the championship competition, earning a 17th overall seed. Last year the Women of Troy placed 14th overall, and they used that momentum to exceed expectations at the 2018 NCAA Championship.

The 2018 USC women’s rowing team entered the NCAA Championship seeded 17th overall. Daily Trojan file photo.

After the first day of competition on Friday, the Varsity Eight (1V8) advanced to the I Eights A/B Semifinals. The Varsity Four (V4) and second Varsity Eight (2V8) made it to the C/D Semifinals.

The Trojans scored a final tally of 67 points. The Varsity Eight finished second in the Petite Final, the Second Varsity Eight took third in the C final, and the Varsity Four finished fifth in their C final.

The Women of Troy had a slow start to the Petite Final, but they grinded past both Michigan and Yale throughout the course. They competed closely with Virginia for the rest of the race, but Virginia edged out the Trojans by less than a second. USC ended with a time of 6:29.138 to Virginia’s 6:28.633, leaving the Trojans 1V8 eighth in the country.

The Second Varsity Eight competed as a top three team in their C final. They finished behind Wisconsin and Washington State with a time of 6:36.419 to secure the third place amongst six teams. The Varsity Four placed fifth in their respective C final with a time of 7:37.410. They finished behind Princeton, Navy, Wisconsin and Syracuse.

Cal took first overall with 130 points, followed by Washington with 128 points.

“The Trojan Rowing Family had a challenging set of semifinals and finals today that led to a 12th place team finish,” head coach Josh Adam said. “From start horn to finish beep, the women executed one of the grittiest races I’ve seen. It was great to see them beat several crews that had bested them earlier in the regatta.”

USC junior Radka Novotnikova has maintained a vital role in the 1V8 boat, mainly from the bow, for the majority of the season. She led the Trojans in their battle against the UCLA Bruins, their inaugural showing at the Clemson Invitational and their dominant performances at the Pac-12 Challenge and Championship. She was also integral to the success of the 1V8 boat at the NCAA Championships this past weekend, just days before Novotnikova was named to the Pac-12 Women’s Rowing All-Conference Team.

Also sitting in the 1V8 boat, senior Ida Gortz Jacobsen was named Pac-12 Women’s Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year in early May.

Overall, the USC Women’s Rowing team had a strong season with a fierce finish in the NCAA Championship.

“Over the course of four 2000 meter races in two days, the Women of Troy showed great courage and tenacity,” Adam said.