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Miami Rowers Geared Up for Regional Championships

Miami Rowers Geared Up for Regional Championships

May 15, 2009

Coral Gables, Fla. – The University of Miami rowing team heads back to Lake Melton for the second time this year over the weekend on May 16-17, taking part in the annual South/Central Regional Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Saturday’s event will feature preliminary heats and continues through Sunday’s finals.

For the second year in a row, the University of Tennessee will serve as host of the annual event.

Miami crews have gotten faster throughout the year, according to interim head coach Boban Rankovic. And with the Hurricanes finding success at the Windermere Cup in Seattle two weeks ago, the team is eagerly awaiting their chance to get back out on the water.

With four teams advancing to the “C” Finals of last year’s Aramark Sprints, and the Varsity Eight ultimately claiming a title in the “C” Finals of the South/Central Regionals, the experience from that crew will look to capitalize on last year’s success. Last year, it was Miami’s Varsity Eight crew of coxswain Shira Kharrazi, stroke Louise Parry, Laura Cordner, Nicola Saner, Bethany Krawec, Kelly Amsler, Emily Wingrove, Monika Sajincic and bow Karalyn Van Aken who came away with a thrilling win over Indiana, beating out the second-place Hoosiers, 6:51.200-to-6:52.700 to claim the final.

“We hope to improve off of our performance from last year, which requires everyone on the team having their best races,” stated Rankovic, making his coaching debut at the South/Central Regional Championships.

UM comes into the weekend having earned five Top 3 finishes in their last two race events, including a win over the Brazilian National Team at the Windermere Cup. However, the Hurricanes are switching some things up this weekend as the lineups will be a bit different at the bow for both Varsity Eight and JV8.

“We are racing this weekend without a full squad, and that will hurt us,” expressed Rankovic. “However, we do have the possibility of surprising ourselves and triumphing through adversity. When we lost our head coach [Robbie Tenenbaum] in March, we went to ACCs and tied our team’s highest finish ever at the championship. We are a squad that loves to race.”

This weekend’s event will feature Open 4+, Novice 8+, Varsity 4+, Second Varsity 8+ and Varsity 8+ races. Of the 22 teams competing in the V8+, nine are ranked in the latest Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/US Rowing Top 20 poll. The attendees include 2008 South Region Champion Virginia–also 2007 NCAA Runner-up, as well as 2007 NCAA V8+ silver medalist Ohio State and 2007 2V8+ national champion Minnesota.

“We expect to see our toughest competition of the season this weekend,” continued Rankovic. “Many of the teams that we are racing against are ranked nationally. We look forward to some tight racing. It’s all about progressing from one race to the next; heats to semis to finals; and taking it one stroke at a time.”

The 13th Annual South/Central Region Championship field will be one of the best and strongest in recent years. This year’s field includes seven Varsity Eight shells ranked in the top 20 including No. 6 Michigan, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 10 Clemson.

When the NCAA decided to add rowing to its docket of sponsored collegiate sports and institute a national championship event, the governing body also divided up the schools that fielded rowing teams into five different regions: New England, Mid-Atlantic, Central, South and West.

With the establishment of the groupings, regional championships were also developed. In the Central Region, Oak Ridge’s Melton Hill Lake was chosen as the site of the inaugural competition in 1997 and has hosted ever since. It was selected by the coaches because of its geographically-centralized location and its recognition as one of the nation’s best courses.

Unlike the New England, Mid-Atlantic and West Regions, the South/Central Region Championships is the only regatta in the NCAA to combine two regions. Likewise, the event is the only regional championship which is limited to intercollegiate programs.

“Miami is a growing program, both in depth and in strength,” commented Rankovic. “We will compete this weekend with some of the powerhouse programs in the country. We learn something every time we shove off the dock; every time we take a stroke; every time we race down the course. We will succeed this weekend if we can learn from this experience and take it forward with us next year.”

The 13th annual South/Central Region Championships are set to open with the Open 4+ preliminary heats at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Melton Hill Lake. For more information on the South/Central Regional Championships, as well as up-to-date schedules and standings, please visit www.utladyvols.com.

Miami Lineups at South/Central Regional Championships…1st Varsity 8
Bow: Kate Rickers
2: Rachael Sporko
3: Karalyn Van Aken
4: Sarah Medland
5: Monika Sajincic
6: Stephanie Parrish
7: Emily Wingrove
Stroke: Molly Thornton
Coxswain: Christina Crocco

2nd Varsity 8
Bow: Alexa McCanick
2: Ally Hodgkins
3: Christina Mena
4: Lizzy Elner
5: Theresa Recicar
6: Tara Eddings
7: Nic Saner
Stroke: Isabelle Prosser
Coxswain: Shira Kharrazi

Varsity 4
Bow: Amanda Zacharkiewicz
2: Kate Hall
3: Julie Creamer
Stroke: Morgan Visalli
Coxswain: Heather Hollembeak

Open 4
Bow: Nicole Miller
2: Molly Beigelman
3: Stephanie Kane
Stroke: Natalie Snyder
Coxswain: Alexa Romero