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RELIVE THE CUP: Championship Season for LMU Crew

Aug. 17, 2006

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Briefly
The LMU crew program had its most successful year in 2006, as women's rowing captured its first ever WCC Championships at Lake Natoma on April 29th. The men's varsity 8 finished highest of all WCC schools at the WIRA Championships, and placed fifth at the Pac-10 Championships. LMU rowing had its first All-American this season as senior Liz Stewart earned second team honors.

Liz Stewart Earns LMU Firsts
Lion senior Liz Stewart was LMU's first rowing All-American, earning second team honors at the conclusion of the season. In addition, Stewart earned first team All-Region honors. She is the first Lion to earn a first team regional nod.

Women's Varsity 8 Dominates WCC
LMU's women's varsity 8 had a dominate season over the members of the West Coast Conference. The highlight of the year was LMU's first ever WCC Championship on April 29th. Needing a win by the women's varsity 8 in the final event of the day to capture the team trophy, the Lions earned a boat-length victory over Gonzaga to win the program's first WCC title and break Gonzaga's streak of nine straight conference championships. The women's varsity 8 never lost to a WCC opponent all season, defeating rival Gonzaga in four different races. In addition to winning the conference title, the women's varsity 8 placed 2nd at the WIRA Championships, and finished highest among non-Pac-10 schools at the Pac-10 Championships.

Men's Varsity 8 Captures Unofficial WCC Title
Although men's crew isn't an official West Coast Conference sport, the schools that offer men's crew give out a yearly trophy to the school whose men's varsity 8 finishes highest at the WIRA Championships. This year, LMU won that trophy for the first time ever with a 6th place finish. The Lions were the only WCC representative in the Grand Final of the men's varsity 8 race.

Lions Earn All-Conference Honors
Three women's rowers earned All-Conference honors at the recent WCC and WIRA Championships. Senior Liz Stewart, sophomore Jill Austin and freshman Christina Duechle earned both All-WCC and All-WIRA honors. In addition, sophomore coxswain Jenn Guess earned All-WCC honors. Head Coach Patrick Kelly was named the WCC Coach of the Year for the third time.

It's All Academic
A trio of Lion rowers were honored for their excellence in the water and in the classroom. Jill Austin, Carla Conway and Erin Ludwig earned WCC All-Academic team honors. In addition, all three rowers were also named CRCA West Region National Scholar Athletes. The award recognizes student-athletes with a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher that competed in 75 percent of her team's 2006 spring races. Also, the student-athletes must be upperclassmen (2nd, 3rd, or 4th year) in terms of eligibility and their head coaches must be good standing members of the CRCA.

LMU Finishes Strong at Pac-10 Championships
The Lions had a strong showing at the Pac-10 Championships to finish the season with a bang. The men's varsity 8 advanced to the Grand Final, placing 5th overall. It was the highest finish by a non-Pac-10 school, and the Lions avenged an earlier loss to USC by finishing higher than the Trojans. The women's varsity 8 also had an impressive finish, placing 8th overall as the highest placing non-Pac-10 school. The women finished higher than Sacramento State, who edged the Lions at the WIRA Championships.

Men's Varsity 8 Undefeated in March
LMU's men's varsity 8 had a fantastic start to the season, going undefeated in March. The Lions won the Parker Cup, and followed that up with a win over UCLA. The men wrapped up the month with two wins at the WCC Challenge, defeating San Diego and Santa Clara.

Rowers Honored at End of the Year Ceremonies
When the LMU athletic department handed out its annual awards this year, several members of the crew teams received honors. Warren Anderson was named the Male Scholar Athlete of the Year. Alli Mitrovich earned the department's community service award. The men's crew team was named the Male Strength and Conditioning Team of the Year.

Rowers Earn Monthly Honor
The spring, both the men's and women's varsity 8 boats were honored as the LMU Student-Athlete of the Month. The men's varsity 8 won the March award after going undefeated to start the season. The women's varsity 8 won the April award by winning the WCC Championship and finishing 2nd at the WIRA Championships.