Toreros win all three races and take home all major WCC awards
Kim Cupini's has been the head coach at the University of San Diego since 2007 and has taken the program new heights under her direction. This past season, Cupini's Toreros made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament with the Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 finishing in 14th place overall. Additionally, USD won their fourth WCC championship in the past five years and Cupini earned her fifth WCC Coach of the Year Honor.
Under Cupini's guidance, the Toreros have had 23 All-WCC honorees, including four WCC Coxswains of the Year and the past two WCC Newcomers of the Year (Michelle Campbell and Nneka Anyanwu). Academically, Cupini has overseen a Torero program that has had 20 rowers earn WCC All-Academic distinction and 17 CRCA Scholar-Athletes. In addition, 28 Toreros were named to the WCC Commissioner's Honor Roll in 2013-14 for having GPAs of at least 3.0.
The 2013-14 season was groundbreaking for the Torero rowing program. USD qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in school history and finished 15th place overall. The Torero V8 and V4 both earned 14th place finishes, coming in ahead of schools such as Washington State, Harvard, and UCLA. The strong performance gave USD a final national ranking of No. 15, putting the Toreros ahead of traditional powerhouse programs such as Wisconsin, Louisville, Yale, Syracuse, and Dartmouth. The 2014 season also saw the Toreros earn a full sweep at the WCC Championships, while also taking home all major awards; Michelle Campbell (Rower of the Year), Erica Mayer (Cox of the Year), Nneka Anyanwu (Newcomer of the Year), and Cupini took home her fifth WCC Coach of the Year award in the past six years. Campbell and Mayer were also named to the CRCA All-Region Team, and Campbell became just the second Torero ever to earn All-American Honors. The team went toe-to-toe with some of the top programs in the nation throughout the spring season to help them earn all three WCC Crew of the Month honors. In April, the V8 took fourth place at the Crew Classic Jessop-Whittier Grand Final and in the following week the USD V4 knocked off No. 1 Cal at the Lake Natoma Invite.
The Toreros completed a grueling schedule in 2012-13 that pitted them against numerous CRCA Top-25 opponents at events like the Longhorn Invitational (Austin, Tex.), Oregon State Classic (Corvallis, Ore.), and San Diego Crew Classic (Mission Bay). The Toreros received top-25 votes and the V8 was honored as the inaugural WCC Crew of the Month for April, 2013. The Toreros finished second at the WCC Championships, breaking their string of three straight championships. USD took first in the V4 race, but took second in the V8 coming in just one second behind Gonzaga.
In 2012, Cupini led the team through a competitive season of racing with duals against the nation's top crews, including four CRCA Top-25 opponents, as well as a top finish in the Cal Cup at San Diego Crew Classic. The season peaked with a third consecutive West Coast Conference championship, while Cupini garnered her fourth straight WCC Coach of the Year honor. Through Cupini's leadership, the Toreros proudly placed three rowers on the All-WCC team as well as a CRCA All-West Region first team recipient (Hannah Patrick).
In 2011, Cupini embarked on her most successful season to date as the season highlighted races in the Jessop-Whittier Cup at San Diego Crew Classic with a petite final finish with wins over Pac-12 and Big Ten programs. USD won the Oklahoma Invitational for the second consecutive year and swept all seven races at the So-Cal Invitational Dual. The team rounded out the season with a second consecutive WCC Championship win. Three athletes were recognized as All-WCC first team honorees along WCC Coxswain of the Year Allyn Delozier. The Toreros followed this success at WIRAs with a first-ever first-place finish in the V8 and All-Points Trophy as well as the Team Efficiency Trophy. The team brought home three first-team All-WIRA recipients as well as two second-team All-WIRA recipients. Under Cupini's guidance, one rower was named CRCA first team All-West Region (Hannah Patrick), while Cupini received WCC Coach of the Year for the third year.
In 2010, Cupini brought her team home from the Oklahoma Invitational undefeated. Cupini continued the team's winning streak with a championship Cal Cup win at San Diego Crew Classic. She made history for the rowing program with their first-ever WCC championship. The team followed their success with a second place finish in the V8 at WIRAs. Cupini was awarded WCC Coach of the Year as well as WIRA Coach of the Year. Her athletes came home with three All-WCC first team recipients and three first team and two second team All-WIRA recipients. The Toreros also claimed a CRCA All-West region second team recipient.
In 2009, Cupini oversaw a team that finished in the top four in all events, with highlights stemming from the West Coast Conference Championships and Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta, as well as successfully defending the Berg Cup with a first-place finish by the Second Varsity 8 squad. At the WCC Championships for the 2009 season, the team finished second place overall, capturing a gold medal in the Varsity 4 division while taking home the silver in both the Varsity 8 and Second Varsity 8 races. Cupini and the Toreros followed up their conference performance by medaling in all Varsity events at the WIRA Championships, with a silver medal finish from the Second Varsity 8 and two bronze medal finishes from the Varsity 4 and Varsity 8. Through Cupini's leadership, five Toreros were honored as All-WIRA performers, including three first-team members. The team finished the 2009 season strong in the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Advancing to the grand finals, the Second Varsity 8 captured the silver medal while the Varsity 8 finished fourth.
In her first season, Cupini led the Toreros to more top finishes in other regattas across the nation. The Toreros captured the gold in the Berg Cup, the San Diego City Championship, and the Row for the Cure. The team went on to place second in the Cal Cup event at the San Diego Crew Classic. They were only 1.1 seconds shy of the gold. Cupini also led the team to a second place finish at the West Coast Conference Championships. At Conference, the Toreros showed their depth racing to a second place finish in each event; the Varsity 4, Second Varsity 8, and the Varsity 8. The Toreros concluded the 2008 season making the grand finals at the Dad Vail Regatta. Following the 2008 season, Cupini was asked to assist with the Junior National Team Development Camp in Connecticut to prepare athletes for the Junior National Team and the Junior World Championships.
Within the Athletic Department at USD, under the guidance of Cupini, the rowing team received the Torero Champs Challenge award. This award was given to the team who showed the highest level of dedication to community service and involvement in San Diego, and an equally high level of support for other USD athletic events.
Before Cupini's arrival to the University of San Diego as Head Coach in 2007, she was the Varsity Assistant Coach at the University of Central Florida. During the 2006-2007 Season, UCF recorded its best results in program history, being one of only sixteen teams to earn a NCAA Championship berth. During the season, the Varsity 8 received its first national ranking at No. 9 and the team went on to finish third in the South Region. The squad also claimed the overall point trophy at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships. Individually, Cupini received a Scholar-Athlete Inspirational Award in the spring of 2007, which was nominated by UCF's first ever National Scholar-Athlete and All-American Krystina Sarff.
During the 2005-2006 Season at Central Florida, Cupini assisted the Varsity 8 in earning its first ever top 20 ranking in the USRowing/CRCA Coaches' Poll. That same year the team claimed its highest team ranking to date finishing fourth in its region at the South/Central Regional Championship. Cupini also coached the Varsity 4 to wins over Michigan, UCLA, Notre Dame, Louisville, Columbia, Syracuse, Miami, and Clemson. Cupini was nominated for South Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2006.
As a former assistant at the University of San Diego in 2004, Cupini assisted the Toreros to a second place finish at the WCC Championship in the 2004-2005 Season and boosted the largest varsity returning roster in program history. In addition to her coaching responsibilities, Cupini served as the assistant in the Student-Athlete Academic Support Program.
As an alumni of USD and a former Torero Rower, Cupini was a three-time MVP (2001-2003), a two-time Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association All-Conference pick (2002 and 2003), and a two-time All-WCC performer (2001 and 2003). In 2003, she was the recipient of the Leadership and Contribution to Student Life Award. During her rowing career at USD, she also served as co-captain, made the WCC All-Academic Team, was voted most inspirational athlete, and received the Best Effort award. Cupini graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies and a minor in Business Administration.
Cupini began her rowing career in her hometown of Rochester, NY as a starting member of Pittsford Rowing Club during its inaugural season. Cupini's Varsity 8 placed second at the New York State Championship and went on to compete at the Junior Nationals in their first year of competition. Today, Cupini has received the highest USRowing Coaching Certification, Level III, and continues to participate in the USRA Advanced Coaching Series.
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