Quaker Valley’s Christensen signs with Southern Cal

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Friday, May 18, 2018 | 11:00 PM


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Quaker Valley senior Annika Christensen will compete for and against some of the top college rowing programs in the country as a member of the Southern Cal women's rowing team.

Christensen, 17, signed a letter of intent recently to join the Trojans.

“Right now, the Pac-12 is one of the fastest conferences in the sport,” said Christensen, a coxswain with the Three Rivers Junior Rowing team on Washington's Landing. “It's the perfect environment for getting more competitive at a higher level and to sneak up on the some of the best teams in the nation like (California) Berkeley, Washington and Stanford.”

Washington was first, Cal second and Stanford fifth in the May 16 USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA Division I rankings.

Southern Cal ranked 13th, and Christensen hopes to be part of its climb. The Trojans placed fourth of seven squads at the PAC-12 championship May 13.

“The coaches are new to the team as of this past fall, and they're currently working to build speed in the coming classes and develop the girls they have now,” Christensen said.

Southern Cal coach Josh Adam expects Christensen to be a significant contributor.

“Studying for a degree at USC, coxing talented young oarswomen from Greece to California, and steering a 2-foot wide boat in a straight line with a (rudder) that's smaller than a credit card requires an amalgamation of intelligence, bravado and athleticism,” Adam said. “Annika not only possesses this unique mix of attributes, but also executes them in a way that draws these same qualities out of those around her.”

Christensen, who is 5-foot-1, said the weather is a plus because she will be able to be on the water year-round. The USC Boathouse is in the Port of Los Angeles, which the Trojans share with Hollywood and where many films have been shot, including “Face/Off, “The Usual Suspects” and “The Terminator.”

“It's a good change in environment for me and the academics are amazing,” said Christensen, who plans to study archaeology.

Christensen said she made official visits to Michigan and Wisconsin, which also are nationally ranked.

Christensen coxed an eight that placed second in a USRowing youth regional regatta at the World Rowing Championships last September in Florida. Her coach there said a coxswain as talented as Christensen is rare.

Christensen earned a silver medal with a four from Three Rivers Junior Rowing at the USRowing Youth National Championships in June in Florida.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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