May 13, 2011
By Donnie Conley, Media Relations Student Assistant
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee Lady Vol rowing team will be looking to defend its 2010 Conference USA Championship this weekend as the program is hosting the second annual Conference USA Rowing Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
This is the second C-USA Rowing Championship, but the first as a stand-alone event as last year's was held in conjunction with the Aramark South/Central Region Sprints.
Tennessee captured the conference title last season, something which catapulted the Orange and White to the 2010 NCAA Rowing Championships. The Lady Vols are hoping for a similar result this season.
To do so, the Big Orange will have to outperform some tough competition. Conference USA has three full-time members that sponsor women's rowing: SMU, Tulsa and UCF. Six additional programs serve as affiliate members in the league: Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. However, the Alabama rowing team will not compete at the Conference USA Championships as a result of the devastating tornado that hit Tuscaloosa.
Racing will begin on Saturday morning with preliminary heats at 9 a.m. Each event is divided into two heats of four boats each. The Varsity 8+ heats will start at 9:00 and 9:10 a.m., with both 2V8+ heats beginning at 9:20 and 9:30 a.m.
The varsity four will immediately follow the 2V8+. After that, schools will compete in the Novice 8+ and Open 4+.
Preliminary results will determine seeding for the afternoon finals, which begin at 2:20 p.m. ET and run until 3:50 p.m. ET, with the day's final race, the Varsity 8+ Grand Final.
A predetermined scoring system will decide the league champion. Only the varsity four, second varsity eight and varsity eight boats will factor into the final standings. Teams will be awarded points based on final overall finish in each event.
Texas enters the weekend as the highest-ranked squad in the field, coming in at 15th in the latest CRCA/USRowing Coaches Poll. Tennessee isn't ranked in the top 20, but is receiving the most votes of any unranked team.
Texas ranks third in the South Region, while Tennessee, Oklahoma and UCF are fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
UT hasn't competed since taking part in a set of races against some of the nation's best competition on April 30. Tennessee faced off against No. 1 Princeton and No. 5 Virginia on Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J.
Updates on the day's races will be available at www.twitter.com/ladyvol_rowing.
Fans are reminded to follow the Lady Vol rowing team on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ladyvol_rowing.