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Fall, 2006: Making Lemonade

Jan. 12, 2007

Fall, 2006: Making Lemonade!Fall, 2006 proved to be a very unusual season for USD Women's Rowing. Have you heard the old adage: "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!" Well, this Fall the Toreros had the opportunity to do just that. Plagued with injury and illness, more than 15 rowers from the Varsity squad were on the disabled list throughout the season, with 12 out simultaneously at one point.

"It was extraordinarily difficult to race this season not knowing from day to day who was cleared to row and who wasn't. In fact, at this year's Fall Classic we only found out the morning of the regatta that some key people would not be able to race, so we really had to scramble to make things work," recalled Head Coach, Joan O'Hara.

With circumstances as they were, the Toreros had a choice to make: throw-up their hands and submit to the bad luck of the Fall, or work together to inspire confidence in the team and make it work. The Toreros chose the latter. "About midway through the season, when we realized that this issue of so many people on the disabled list was going to be a defining aspect of our fall, I sat down and had a talk with the team. It was evident that team morale was suffering, despite the athletes' efforts to keep their chins-up," said Coach O'Hara.

"I was very frank with them about the reality of the situation. I didn't sugar coat anything for them. Then I presented them with a choice: we can either feel sorry for ourselves and make excuses, or we can pull together and put in an effort above and beyond expectations to compensate for our deficiencies this season."

"Without hesitation, the team said they wanted to do whatever it would take to be successful."

And successful they were. In fact this Torero squad not only raced to several wins this season, they also achieved an exciting USD Rowing program best: the Toreros first-ever Newport Autumn Rowing Festival (NARF) Gold. With a blistering time of 18:23 (which would have placed ahead of half a dozen of the Men's boats) the USD Varsity Four earned the Toreros first trophy, defeating boats from top-seeds UCLA and Stanford, city rivals SDSU and UCSD, and defending champions, Sacramento State.

Other season highlights included winning the 2006 Row for the Cure in the Women's Eight, the Women's Four, and the Lightweight Women's Four; and bringing home 4 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze medals from the Long Beach Christmas Regatta, including 1st and 2nd places in the Women's Novice Eights.

The Toreros resume their training on January 17th with an intensive Winter Training Camp.

Torero SpiritUSD revised its visual identity this year with new logos representing the University at large, and its Athletic Programs. The University of San Diego is a growing, dynamic institution, whose strength lies in the diversity of its people and programs. As these programs expand and develop their identities, the university strives to convey their core values and key messages visually, and Athletics is no exception. This year, our Torero has a brand new look!

Academic NewsThe Toreros are fortunate to be able to take advantage of USD's Athletic Academic Support Program, which is designed to promote the academic development of our student-athletes. Tutors in every subject are available to our rowers, as well as Life Coaches, who work one-on-one with the women to help them manage their time, to council them on their concerns, and to help them achieve success in all areas of student-athlete life here at USD. This semester, 19 of the athletes on Women's Rowing achieved a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The 2007 Crew Classic HomecomingMark your calendars! This year's San Diego Crew Classic will be held over two days on March 31st and April 1st 2007. The largest regatta on the West Coast, and one of the largest in the country, the Crew Classic features competitors from all over the world. Last year's collegiate competition included National Champions, Cal Berkeley, and NCAA Top 10 teams USC, Washington State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

The Toreros enjoyed a great turn-out from Alumni last year as we celebrated the 20 Year Anniversary of USD's one and only victory in the Women's and Men's Cal Cup Eights. This year, USD hopes to continue the tradition of

Alumni spirit and support fielding two Alumnae Women's Eights, and hosting the Big Torero Barbeque on Sunday, April 1st at the racecourse. Please come join us for food, entertainment, including a from the USD Torero himself, and a chance to socialize with the current USD rowers as well as Athletic Director, Ky Snyder, and University President, Mary Lyons.

If you are an alumna, and are interested in participating in Alumnae Eight, please contact fellow alumna and USD coach, Angela Chiarenza in the Rowing Office. She will be facilitating the USD Alumnae line-ups. Angela can be reached at 619.260.7637.

Fundraising NewsThe 06-07 Torero fundraising effort is off to a terrific start! Our Fall phonathon in September brought in more than $12,000 in pledges, and to date, we have received more than $16,000 in donations. Our goal for the year is $20,000; so we are very close to success!

The money we are able to raise is used to cover the program needs which are not included in the Athletics' budget. Each year, donations from supporters like you go directly to the team, funding things like travel to national-level races like the Head of the Charles in Boston and the Dad Vail Championship in Philadelphia; and the purchase of much needed equipment. This year, we hope to raise enough money to purchase a new racing Four for our Varsity team. The boat we currently use is 10 years old, and with results like we saw from our Four this Fall (The prestigious NARF win), we want to make sure our rowers have the level of equipment they need to achieve their full potential.

Please consider helping us raise the remaining $4,000 we need to make wishes like this a reality for our athletes. This year, we are pleased to be able to offer Corporate Sponsorship/Gift Giving Opportunities. If you are part of an organization that would like to support Torero Women's Rowing, we will be able to advertise for you both on our website, www.usdtoreros.com, which reaches thousands of people every day, as well as at the San Diego Crew Classic, attended by nearly 20,000 people every year. Please contact the Rowing Office to learn more!

Spring OutlookUSD Women's Rowing looks forward to a very competitive Spring racing season. Following on the heals of unprecedented racing successes in 2006, the Toreros have their sights set on wins including the 2007 Dad Vail Championship, and the WIRA Team Championship.

In 2006, the Toreros were just one finishing place away from capturing the program's first WIRA Team Points trophy, and brought home medals in the Open Pair (1st place), the Open Four (2nd place) and the Lightweight Four (3rd place). Two Toreros were named to the 2006 All-WIRA Team. Also in 2006, the Toreros Varsity Eight raced to a program best-ever finish at the Dad Vail Championship in Philadelphia where they took 4th place against 41 other eights from around the country. The Toreros were just one-tenth of a second away from brining home the bronze.

The Toreros stepped-up the level of their competition in 2006, adding the USC Trojans to their racing schedule.

"As the program grows," commented Head Coach O'Hara, "we will continue to expand our competition schedule to include more and more nationally- ranked teams. This year, we will race UCLA and USC head-to-head. Our standards are continually becoming higher and our strength of schedule will reflect that."

Please visit www.usdtoreros.com for the full 2007 Spring Racing Schedule!