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LA JOLLA, Calif. - The UC San Diego women's crew team will head to Oak Ridge, Tenn. this weekend to face out-of-region teams at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Championships. The Tritons, who are ranked seventh nationally in the latest CRCA/USRowing Coaches Poll, will need a strong performance for the chance at an at-large bid to race in the NCAA Division II National Championships, which will be held May 24-27.

UCSD will face top D-II crews from around the country, including No. 2 Mercyhurst, No. 4 Nova Southeastern, No. 5 Central Oklahoma and No. 6 Barry University. The Tritons will also compete against several D-I programs.

"For us to have a shot at nationals, it would be huge for us to beat some southern crews," said Triton head coach Pattie Pinkerton. "I think we will be competitive this weekend. We have a great chance to impress selectors, as we are on the bubble. We will be racing off to try to prove we deserve an at-large bid."

A total of 28 boats will vie for spots in Saturday afternoon's three semifinal races, which will each be comprised of six shells. The Tritons will have two boats in contention: a varsity eight and a varsity four squad.

UCSD's varsity eight faces adversity this weekend, as it will be rowing without its starting stroke seat in Alexis Jacques. Senior Katie Holstein will fill in as her reserve.

"Having Alexis gone is a loss, and the team knows it has to step up," said Pinkerton.

The Tritons last raced in early April, in a three-day barrage of competition that included the San Diego Crew Classic and dual races with No. 1 Western Washington. At the Crew Classic, the Triton varsity eight squad placed fourth in the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Cup grand final.

"The team has been rowing better and better. We've been improving speed work and believe it will all come together in these next crucial weekends," Pinkerton said.

The Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Championships will commence Saturday at 7:30 a.m. EST in Oak Ridge, Tenn.



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