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Clemson’s Varsity 4+ Crew Wins National Championship

Clemson’s Varsity 4+ Crew Wins National Championship

May 31, 2009

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Cherry Hill, NJ – The Varsity 4+ captured Clemson’s first-ever national championship today at the NCAA Rowing Championships in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

The Tigers’ Varsity 4+ captured the Grand Final by 1.76 seconds over Wisconsin to earn 16 team points. Clemson led by more than two seconds at both the halfway mark and the 1,500-meter mark before holding off the Badgers down the stretch. The winning time for the Tigers was 7:26.78, while Wisconsin crossed the finish line in 7:28.54. Yale (7:30.81), California (7:32.01), Stanford (7:32.29) and Virginia (7:34.26) finished in third through sixth place to complete the championship field.

The Tiger’s winning crew consisted of Kelly Murphy, Lydia Hassell, Callen Erdeky, Allison Colberg and coxswain Meredith Razzolini.

“This is a truly deserving crew who needed to race at their very best in order to be crowned National Champions. I am very proud of how they and all their teammates represented Clemson University,” said Head Coach Richard Ruggieri.

The Second Varsity 8+ placed fifth in the Petite Final with a time of 6:51.60. Michigan State was first with a five-second margin over Ohio State. The Spartans completed the course in 6:37.83 and were followed by the Buckeyes (6:42.85), Southern California (6:46.19), Michigan (6:49.18), Clemson and Princeton (6:52.97).

“I am pleased with how this crew finished. It is a young boat with everyone returning next season. The experience gained at the NCAA’s will certainly allow us to reach for greater heights,” said Coach Ruggieri.

The second Varsity 8 was comprised of Melissa Weaver (coxswain), Corey Geer, Leah Kelly, Jenn Agee, Mairi Trimboli, Sarah Daanen, Connie Gorman in Bow.

The petite final race of the first Varsity 8+ was captured by Michigan State, which was a narrow winner over Michigan by just four-hundredths of a second. The Spartans time was 6:19.05, while the Wolverines crossed the line in 6:19.09. There was even less separation between third and fourth places in the Petite Final, with Southern California finishing in 6:23.37 and Ohio State two-hundredths of a second back in 6:23.39. Washington was fifth (6:25.99) and Clemson finished sixth (6:32.25).

“The Varsity 8 had a wonderful season, finishing 12th in the nation, which is our highest postseason ranking in program history. I strongly believe we learned a great deal from this weekend which will be called upon as we prepare for the 2010 NCAA Championships,” said Head Coach Richard Ruggieri.

The Clemson 1st Varsity 8 was comprised of Carla Englund (coxswain), Meg Bendik, Liz Robb, Stefanie Kozuszek, Grace Wolff, Brittany Cummings and Hilary Cumbest.

Overall, Clemson finished with 43 points to finish in 12th place as a team, and just 3 points shy of a top 10 finish. Stanford won the team title, followed by California, Yale and Virginia. Brown ended a two-year run as national champions as the Cardinal won the title for the first time. The only other schools to win the title are California, Harvard and Washington. The NCAA Rowing Championships were held for the first time in 1997. This year’s event was hosted by Villanova University.

“It’s been a wonderful experience to bring our entire team and compete with the best in the nation. It’s amazing to see all three crews make it to the semifinals and ultimately see the four winning a national championship,” said Head Coach Richard Ruggieri. “I believe this is one of the few times when a first-time team has won a national championship. We are excited for all of the work done by each and every rower here at NCAAs and at home.”

Final Team Standings (Points) 1. Stanford (88) 2. California (85) 3. Yale (85) 4. Virginia (78) 5. Brown (71) 6. Michigan State (54) 7. Washington (50) 8. Ohio State (49) 9. Michigan (48) 10. Princeton (46) 11. Southern California (46)12. Clemson (43) 13. Wisconsin (26) 14. Harvard (21) 15. Oregon State (14) 16. Dartmouth (12)