COLUMBUS, Ohio Behind Grand Final wins from the First and Second Varsity Fours, the Ohio State rowing team earned a third-place finish in the Central Region at the 2009 South/Central Region Championships Sunday 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 championships 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.

Ohio State hopes it will be one of 16 teams selected to compete in the 2009 NCAA Championships May 29-31 in Camden, N.J. The NCAA selection show will air at 5 p.m. Tuesday on

The Buckeyes have competed in the NCAA championships as a team for nine consecutive seasons. Only four other programs Brown, California, Princeton and Washington can boast such an achievement.  

2009 Aramark Sprints South/Central Regional
May 16-17 
Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Central Region
Team Total Points 
Michigan  348  
Michigan State 332 
Ohio State  328  
Wisconsin  321  
Iowa  241
Notre Dame  236  
Minnesota  231  
Indiana  121  
Kansas  118 
Kansas State 114  
E. Michigan  18  
Oklahoma  0  

Team Total Points
Virginia 387
Michigan 348
Michigan State 332
Ohio State 328
Wisconsin 321
Clemson 311
Iowa 241
Notre Dame 236
Minnesota 231
UCF 204
Louisville 195
Tennessee 161
Texas 141
Indiana 121
Kansas 118
Kansas State 114
Miami 64
Alabama 62
SMU 48
Eastern Michigan 18
Duke 0
Oklahoma 0