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Lions Record Strong Showing Against Top Teams

April 3, 2006

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The LMU rowing team saw its toughest competition so far this season at the San Diego Crew Classic this weekend, gaining valuable experience for upcoming races. The men's varsity 8 advanced to the Grand Final of the Cal Cup, placing 6th out of 21 teams. The women's varsity 8 finished third in the Petite final, and the novice women advanced to the Petite Final as well.

The highlight for the Lions was the varsity men. Undefeated heading into the Crew Classic, the Lions faced stiff competition right off the bat. LMU finished second in its heat to eventual champion Orange Coast College, advancing to the Grand Final on Sunday. LMU's time of 6:08.99 was just over two seconds behind the winning time of 6:06.50.

In the Grand Final, the Lions finished 6th, their highest finish at the Crew Classic in six years. Competing in the varsity boat for LMU were coxswain Vanessa Garrett, stroke Jim Puccetti, Landon Storaasli, Tim Santy, Warren Anderson, Brannon Wynn, Perkin DiGrazia, Scott Wike and David Cronin.

LMU's varsity women's 8 competed in the invitation-only Jessop Whitter Cup which featured several teams ranked in the top 20. LMU finished 5th in its heat, advancing to the Petite Final on Sunday. The Lions finished just three seconds behind 4th place Stanford, ranked 6th in the latest polls.

The Lions finished 3rd in the Petite Final on Sunday, again staying close with top teams Stanford and Northeastern. The varsity 8 for LMU consisted of coxswain Jennifer Guess, stroke Liz Stewart, Carla Conway, Kristi Adams, Courtney Cox, Alli Mitrovich, Christina Duechle, Erin Ludwig and bow Jill Austin.

"We are racing better with tighter margins against some of the top teams in the country," said head coach Patrick Kelly. "To finish 9th overall is a big improvement from our 12th place finish last season."

The JV women's 8 gained valuable experience against some of the top teams in the country. The Lions finished 5th in their heat, advancing to the 3rd Final. In the 3rd Final, LMU placed 2nd behind Sacramento State, defeating Santa Clara and San Diego (B).

Competing for LMU in the JV 8 were coxswain Mona Sumibcay, stroke Kathryn Maloney, Bettina Messerli, Marni Hietbrink, Janelle Brunette, Jen Glassman, Brooke Thomas, Renee Thompson and bow Larissa Meltz.

"Our team is coming together as we race more together. We'll see Sacramento State in a month and we'll look to make up the difference in time," said Kelly.

The novice women placed third in their heat to win a spot in the Petite Final. The Lions finished 6th in the Petite Final, placing 12th overall in the field of 24.

"It was great that the novice was able to advance to the Petite Final. We will work to get to the next level and look to improve on every race," said Kelly.

Racing for the novice women were coxswain Amy Guion, stroke Jen Topor, Sydney Johnson, Whitney Sholl, Lindsay Vitort, Brooke LeJeune, Andrea Belluz, Jen Woo and box Courtney Bannerman.

Rounding out the competition for LMU were the novice men. LMU placed fourth in its heat, qualifying for the 3rd final. The Lions defeated Colorado, but fell to San Diego, Long Beach State and USC (B). LMU finished 6th in the 3rd Final. In the novice eight boat were coxswain Randy Hellman, Andrew Belden, Hamilton Hiatt, William Lewis, Phillip Massari, Jordan Perez, Hansen Perkins, Brian Slaught and Brandon Sorbom.

The Lions return to action on Sunday, April 9th, hosting UC Santa Barbara at Ballona Creek at 9:00am. Both men and women will compete against the Gauchos. In addition, the women will race against Long Beach State on Sunday as well.