USD Women Dominate '04 Berg Cup
March 29, 2004
(Newport Beach, CA) - The USD women's rowing program convincingly took home team championship honors at the 9th annual Berg Cup, held this weekend in Orange County. It marks San Diego's 4th Berg Cup title. USD has won the prestigious race more often than any other school. The Toreros nearly swept the regatta, by winning the Varsity, JV and Novice Event. In the 2nd Novice Event, the crew relinquished the lead near the end to finish 2nd.
"This was one of the most exciting races for USD I've ever seen," said Head Coach Doug Thiemann. "In football terms, these races were won by at most a field goal, and in the Varsity event, it was the last play of the game."
In the Varsity event USD, UCSB and UCI were all fighting for 1st place after they established a lead over UCSD in the first 500 meters of the race. By the 1000 meter mark the Toreros had a 4 -seat advantage over the Gauchos, who had 3 seats over the Anteaters. With 500 meters to go, only UCSB remained a challenger. As the 2 crews approached the finish line, UCSB called for the sprint first. Not only did they advance, they took the lead from USD. Coxswain Carley Otto called for a USD reply and orchestrated the Torero sprint to catapult her boat across the finish line 0.9 seconds ahead of UCI. The confirmed victory came after a 1½ hour wait for the finish line video to come to shore from the boat.
The JV boat, otherwise known as the "Big and Strong" outpaced UCI by 4.1 seconds. OCC, UCSB and UCSD followed in that order. They lead nearly the entire race. After they gained an appropriate lead, stroke, Jana Ekrem settled down the rating by a few stokes per minute (spm) and controlled the race from the lead.
The Novice race was nearly as close as the Varsity race. The young Toreros lead by freshman recruit, Lindsey von Keanel, had to crank the rating up to 36spm to establish their lead over the Anteaters. USD's sprint for the finish was stronger and the USD novices are now 3-0 for the season.
Novice Coach, Bri Leissoo, commented, "We moved Lindsey from the JV squad to the Novice squad in order to maximize our team's strengths. That forced me to make some line-up changes. You are always a little nervous about that on race day, but this was the fastest line-up in practice, so that's how we raced."
After leading almost the entire race, the 2nd Novice boat couldn't hold on to the lead in the last 500 meters and UCI took the lead to finish ahead of the Toreros.
"They were having an amazing race. They looked so good when they passed the boathouse I didn't watch the end of the race, as I needed to go prepare the Varsity boat. Then out of nowhere, I heard UCI ended up winning the race. That was the moment I knew the day was going to be a little tougher than what I had anticipated," commented Thiemann.
This weekend, USD will see most of the same crews at the San Diego Crew Classic. The most heated event will be the Varsity heat on Saturday morning where the Toreros race alongside the crew from UCF, now coached by former USD Head Coach, Leeanne Crain.
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