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Knights Win Fifth Straight Conference Title
May 17, 2019
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OKLAHOMA CITY ( – The American Athletic Conference rowing championship once again belongs to UCF as the Knights claimed their fifth consecutive team title on Friday at the U.S. Rowing National High Performance Center.


Capturing a fifth-straight title wasn’t easy. With weather looking to be a factor all weekend, the championship was moved up to Friday morning and the order of racing was reversed.


The Varsity Eight, now the first race of the day, rowed to the start only to be delayed after high winds and debris damaged lane lines at the start. A second delay due to a breakage prompted the event to be moved back yet again.


“It’s been a crazy year,” UCF head coach Becky Cramer told The American. “Our team has really gotten used to expecting the unexpected. They went out and they handled themselves very well and relied on each other as a team.”


Instead, UCF’s Second Varsity Eight opened the racing. Coming in as the favorites, the squad of Elena Esteban, Aly Derksen, Lauryn BenchMaria Yim, Rusne Dziugyte, Shannon Perry, Michaela Gundrum, Rachel Rabinowitz and Abbie Pritchard, delivered to win the event for the fifth straight year. The crew held off SMU to post a winning time of 7:09.336.


“We just wanted to get the momentum going and light a little fire under our teammates so they could go into their races feeling confident and ready to make all of us proud,” Rabinowitz told The American after the race.


The Varsity Four picked up a title of its own, jumping out to an early lead and never looking back in an open water victory. The squad of Ciera Jarrett, Chiara Ciullo, Jessica Matteson, Paula Parks and Amy Van Ryn crossed the line in 8:07.240.


“It’s just in indescribable feeling,” Matteson told The American after the race. “These girls worked so hard. It’s been an incredible season; I’m glad to be a part of it.”


Following a new scoring pattering in 2019, the Varsity Eight race rounded out the scored events. In order to defend its team title, UCF would need to finish in the top two. The crew of Nicole Mayer, Lara Maule, Julie Poulsen, Grace LindbergMia Cleary, Leslie Lajoie, Marija Medelinskaite, Edvina Nesukaityte and Luci Derrick crossed the line second in 7:19.181 to secure the team title.


The Knights picked up a third event title in the Second Varsity Four. The squad of Jillian Jernas, Tatum Cox, Sydney Hays, Grace Trujillo and Amy Licht posted an open-water winning time of 8:28.259.


UCF’s Third Varsity Eight, battling a very strong head wind down the course, finished fourth. The squad, consisting of Taylor Jenko, Lauren Roman, Sophia Lopez, Emily PuiaAlexis Alonso, McKenna Williams, Elizabeth Isom, Nivia Garcia, Carina Rodriguez, crossed the line in 8:18.955.


Closing out the day, UCF’s Third Varsity Four earned a second place finish. The squad, consisting of Ashlie Infante, Jacinta Kendall, Caitlin Ross, Eileen Acken and Jordan Jahosky, crossed the line in 8:38.148.


The Knights placed seven on the all-conference team. Marija Medelinskaite, Nicole Mayer, Grace Lindberg and Julie Poulsen earned first team honors, while Edvina Nesukaityte, Elena Esteban and Luci Derrick were named to the second team.


With the title, UCF Rowing and UConn Women’s Basketball remain the only two women’s sports to win five consecutive titles in The American.


UCF has earned The American’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship for the fifth-straight year. The 2019 NCAA Rowing Championship is set for May 31-June 2 in Indianapolis, Ind.


American Athletic Conference Championship Standings

1. UCF – 180 points

2. SMU – 176 points

3. Tulsa – 140 points

4. Temple – 124 points

5. San Diego State – 100 points

6. UConn – 68 points

7. Old Dominion – 52 points


American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year



All-American Athletic Conference First Team

Maja Barnouw, Sr., UConn

Hannah Broadland, So., San Diego State

Emily Fogg, Sr., SMU

Bailey Greenslit, Sr., Sacramento State

Grace Lindberg, Sr., UCF

Nicole Mayer, Jr., UCF

Marija Medelinskaite, Sr., UCF

Tyalor Phy, Sr., Old Dominion

Julie Poulsen, Jr., UCF

Brittany Rigg, Sr., SMU

Ellie Russell, Gr., Tulsa

Gab Thomas, Sr., Temple


All-American Athletic Conference Second Team

Samantha Barber, Sr., Tulsa

Helen Bauer, Fr., San Diego State

Melissa Chambers, Sr., SMU

Elena Esteban, So., UCF

Luci Derrick, So., UCF

Rachel Kelly, Sr., Temple

Elizabeth McCabe, Sr., Tulsa

Adelaide Moore, Sr., SMU

Edvina Nesukaityte, So., UCF

Micaela Nowacki, Sr., UConn

Ciara O’Sullivan, Sr., Temple


Results (In Order of Races)

Second Varsity Eight

1. UCF 7:09.336

2. SMU 7:11.562

3. Temple 7:20.466

4. Tulsa 7:22.932

5. San Diego State 7:26.922

6. UConn 7:41.680

7. Old Dominion 8:16.737


Varsity Four

1. UCF 8:07.240

2. Tulsa 8:17.024

3. SMU 8:20.816

4. San Diego State 8:24.712

5. Temple 8:38.108

6. Old Dominion 8:41.923

7. UConn 8:59.444


Varsity Eight

1. SMU 7:13.415

2. UCF 7:19.181

3. Tulsa 7:26.445

4. Temple 7:31.777

5. San Diego State 7:32.965

6. UConn 7:41.201

7. Old Dominion 7:47.229


Second Varsity Four

1. UCF 8:28.259

2. Temple 8:36.991

3. SMU 8:40.883

4. San Diego State 8:53.105

5. Tulsa 8:56.927

6. UConn 9:20.423


Third Varsity Eight

1. Temple 7:52.813

2. UConn 8:05.587

3. SMU 8:12.551

4. UCF 8:18.955


Third Varsity Four

1. SMU 8:31.430

2. UCF 8:38.148

3. San Diego State 8:40.344

4. Temple 8:49.570

5. UConn 9:26.738





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