COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten championships and advancing one spot in the polls, the No. 14 Ohio State rowing team will travel to Oak Ridge, Tenn., to participate in the Aramark South/Central Region Sprints. The Buckeyes will compete in the two-day event on Melton Hill Lake starting at 9 a.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Once the NCAA added rowing to its list of sponsored intercollegiate sports, schools that fielded a women’s rowing program were divided among five regions – New England, Mid-Atlantic, Central, South and West. When the five regions were established, so were the various regional sprints or championships. In 1997, the inaugural South/Central Region championships were contested. Unlike the three other regions, the South and Central regions are the only two sections to combine their sprints. Therefore, not only is a regional champion crowned, but an overall Aramark Cup winner is decided as well.

Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., is the annual site of the Aramark South/Central Region Sprints, hosted by the University of Tennessee Women’s Athletics Department. During a span of 13 sprints, the Buckeyes have won the Central Region seven times, including capturing the Aramark Cup in 2003 and 2006. Between 2003 and 2007, Ohio State dominated the scene in Oak Ridge, winning five consecutive Central Region titles.

In a perfect world, Ohio State would score the maximum amount of points at the Aramark South/Central Region Sprints. The world may not be perfect, but that does not mean the Buckeyes will not continue to strive for perfection at regionals. In fact, only 29 points kept Ohio State from achieving the unthinkable in 2004 when a maximum of 420 points could be accrued. En route to their fourth Central Regional title, the Buckeyes compiled 391 points. No other program in the Central Region has amassed more points than the Buckeyes’ 391 in 2004. Michigan totaled 371 points for the second most in the 2008 sprints.

Behind Grand Final wins from the First and Second Varsity Fours, Ohio State earned a third-place finish in the Central Region at the 2009 South/Central Region Sprints May 17 at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Michigan won the Central Region, while Virginia won the South Region and was crowned overall Aramark Cup champions. 

The Buckeyes finished the weekend with 328 points behind the Wolverines’ 348 and Michigan State’s 332.
The Second Varsity Four, also known as the Open Four, secured 14 team points with its championship performance. The 2V4 of Mandy Merritt, Sara Reardon, Jill Mohr, Cleonice Renzetti and coxswain MacKenzie Pecor obtained the boat’s first central region title since 2006. In all, the Second Varsity Four has won five Grand Finals. In a tight race, the Buckeye crew (6:59.7) edged the Clemson “B” team (7:01.2) by 1.5 seconds for the title. In third place was Michigan (7:01.6), which was clipped by the Tigers by just four-tenths of a second. 

Up next for Ohio State was the First Novice Eight in the Petite Final. The crew finished ninth overall and third in the race in a time of 6:37.6 for 14 points. Clemson won the heat with a time of 6:33.9, while the Virginia “B” squad was second (6:35.7).
Due up was the First Varsity Four, which added 57 points to the Buckeye team total. The Ohio State boat of Anniken Ellingsen, Ellen Heister, Claudia Schiwy, Farrah Edwards and coxswain Kristin DiJosie needed 1.3 seconds to claim the crew’s second championship in program history (6:58). The 1V4 won its first Central Region crown in 2003. Virginia was second in the heat, crossing the finish line in 6:59.3. Minnesota was third with a time of 7:00.6.

The Second Varsity Eight contributed 108 points with a third-place finish in the Grand Final. The Buckeyes – Lindsey Titus, Katie Flarida, Claudia Wurzel, Tess Prescott, Erin Shropshire, Caroline McPherson, Ingrid Aasaaren, Sara Wallace and coxswain Samantha Getz – clocked in at 6:15.8. Virginia claimed the heat with a time of 6:13 and Michigan State was second, finishing in 6:13.4.

The First Varsity Eight Grand Final race concluded the 2009 edition of the Aramark sprints and the eighth-ranked crew of Claudia Herpertz, Ulrike Denker, Johnna Burns, Zuza Trzcinska, Peta-Leigh Dakyns, Carolin Helmholz, Susi Herbrand, Charlott Goldstein and coxswain Erika Benford finished sixth (6:12.6) for 135 points.  The Buckeyes had their hands full Sunday as they faced three Top 10 boats – No. 3 Michigan State, No. 6 Michigan and No. 10 Clemson – in their championship quest.

The 2006-07 Buckeye crew won its fifth-consecutive Central Region championship on Melton Hill Lake. Five 2010 seniors – Johnna Burns, Farrah Edwards, Katie Flarida, Erin Shropshire, Charlott Goldstein and Sara Wallace – were a part of the championship squad. Junior Cleonice Renzetti was also part of the crew. Since then, Ohio State has placed third overall in two consecutive seasons.

Aside from their five consecutive Central Region titles between 2003 and 2007, the Buckeyes also captured the Aramark Cup in 2003 and 2006. Ohio State has won the Central Region seven times during a span of 13 sprints.

All six of the Buckeye boats are above .500 winning percentage going into the Aramark Sprints and are listed as follows: First Varsity Eight (.699), Second Varsity Eight (.722), First Varsity Four (.649) Second Varsity Four (.707), First Novice Eight (.602) and Second Novice Eight (.552).

Buckeye senior Charlott Goldstein was selected a First Team All-Big Ten honoree. It is the second All-Big Ten award for Goldstein as she was a second-team recipient last season. Senior Sara Wallace and sophomore Claudia Herpertz earned Second Team All-Big Ten laurels following the Big Ten championships May 1 in Laingsburg, Mich. Sunday.

The Big Ten Network will televise the 2010 Big Ten Championships from Laingsburg, Mich., on tape delay at noon May 16.

Ohio State has consistently faced some of the toughest teams in the country this season. The Buckeyes kicked off the year March 27 against No. 8 Princeton and No. 5 Brown, followed by No. 2 Virginia and No. 11 Clemson April 3. Ohio State then raced No. 10 Michigan and No. 7 Michigan State April 10. The Scarlet and Gray wrapped up the regular season hosting No. 11 Michigan, No. 8 Michigan State and No. 7 USC April 18. The Buckeyes raced No. 8 Michigan State and No. 11 Michigan for the third consecutive time in the Big Ten Championships May 1.

Ohio State will officially move into its new boathouse, The Griggs Reservoir Boathouse, around late fall/early winter, just in time for the 2011 rowing season. An updated photo gallery is on

The Buckeyes took a different approach when choosing team leaders this season. Instead of captains, Ohio State chose a contingent for its Leadership Group. Seniors Katie Flarida, Sara Wallace and Mandy Merritt, as well as junior Erika Benford and sophomore Claudia Herpertz make up this group.

Katie Beletskaya, Meghan Birkbeck and Claire-Louise Bode signed National Letters of Intent and will join the Ohio State rowing team for their freshmen season in the fall of 2010 head coach Andy Teitelbaum announced.
Birkbeck hails from Absecon, N.J., where she rows for the Holy Spirit High School crew team. Holy Spirit is the same alma mater of junior coxswain Kristin DiJosie. Birkbeck attended the U.S. junior team selection camp and raced at Club Nationals. She is also a swimmer, competing in the 100m breast.

“Meghan is exactly the type of athlete who does well at Ohio State,” Teitelbaum said. “She’s excited by the competitive nature of our program and possesses the natural attributes to be a great rower here. She’s been a two-sport athlete throughout high school and we are looking forward to seeing how she develops when she trains as a rower year round.”
Beletskaya, of Vineland, N.J., rows for Vineland High School. This past summer, she raced for the Atlantic Coast Rowing Club at the Independence Day Regatta in Philadelphia and Club Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

“Katie was tremendously impressive when we had her on campus this fall,” Teitelbaum said. “Her interest in our program and desire to be a part of the Ohio State environment really left an impression upon the staff and our athletes. We’re excited to have someone with her athleticism included in our incoming class.”
Bode, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, participated in the Junior World Championships where she successfully made the A final and came in fifth.

“Claire is already at a high level for a rower of her age,” Teitelbaum said. “Her finish in the coxless pair event at the Junior World championships is indicative of the caliber of athlete we have traditionally recruited to OSU. As her strength and technique grow, we see her as continuing the long line of successful national team rowers who have improved while at Ohio State.”

In addition to their commitment to rowing practice and competition, the Buckeyes have had an enormous presence in the community during this past fall and winter. To name just a few of Ohio State’s community service initiatives, it participated in the ‘Light The Night’ walk hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, ‘Making Strides against Breast Cancer’ event coordinated by the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and Operation Buckeye.

The 2010 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Rowing selection show will air via webcast on at 5 p.m. May 18. The Buckeyes will hope to be one of 16 teams chosen to complete the field that will compete in Sacramento Calif. May 28-30.