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Toreros Bring Home the Gold from NARF

Nov. 17, 2006

The Toreros went up to Newport this past weekend to take on some of the toughest competition on the West Coast in their final race of the season, the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival. The "NARF" is one of the largest and most hotly contested fall regattas in the country, and features nationally ranked teams including UCLA, USC and Stanford. The highlight event of the day was the Women's Open Fours.

"It was interesting to see that many of the top teams entered their fastest athletes in the fours event, in addition to or instead of the Open Eights," head coach Joan O'Hara said. "That's what I did, so I guess a lot of the coaches all had the same idea this year!"

With 22 entries, the Women's Four was the biggest event of the day. Competing against crews from all over the West Coast, including San Diego State, Sacramento State, Santa Clara, and the nationally-ranked UCLA, the Toreros' Four took 1st Place, beating second place city rivals SDSU by 9 seconds, and brought home USD's first-ever NARF trophy.

"The Fours race Sunday was the kind where our hearts and our bodies were in synch," recalled Junior Team Captain Ashley Yergler. "Our race plan was strong and we were all mentally prepared to fight till the final stroke; but when it came down to it, we finished with a smile because we knew we had given our best. Our performance Sunday was emblematic of how tough our team is: through the highs and the lows we come out on top."

The Toreros fielded five boats this year, two Varsity Fours, a JV Eight, and two Novice Eights. In the first race of the morning, the JV Eight competed in the Open Eights event against the mainly Varsity Eights of teams including Sacramento State, Loyola, UC Davis, and San Diego State. The JV placed 12th out of 21 crews, one place higher than last year's JV, and the best JV finish to date for USD.

In the Novice Eights race, the brand-new Toreros raced against a mixed field of walk-on and recruited novices of other programs.

"The Torero Novices had a great experience at the Newport Autumn Rowing Festival: they navigated the unfamiliar course wonderfully, and finished the race having achieved the goals they had set for themselves and each other," commented second-year Novice Coach Amelia White. "It was surely another step forward in their learning experience as walk-on rowers! I am very proud of their attitude and approach to their first "away" race!"

The Novices raced to 10th and 14th place finishes, besting last year's novice performance by 5 places.

"With all we've been through these past two months with injury and illness, not being able to put out consistent line-ups, or train on the ergs, having 15 people out...I can't believe how well we finished this season," said O'Hara. "Bringing home USD's first NARF trophy under circumstances like this says an awful lot about this team!"

The Torero's next race is the Long Beach Christmas Regatta on December 3rd.