ROWERS SET FOR FIRST OF 'TWO' CONFERENCE MEETS
By Mark Janssen
Coming off what coach Patrick Sweeney called "a pleasant weekend," Kansas State heads into the Big 12 Rowing Championships this weekend at Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City.
The Wildcat rowing team reclaimed the Kansas Cup from rival Kansas on Saturday, winning the final two races of the day to post a 13-6 victory after claiming both Varsity 8 races.
"We did well against them in the fall, so I was pretty confident about the weekend, yet you never like to predict anything involving sports and 20-year-olds," Sweeney said. "Our team really is performing at a good level. We still only have two or three seniors in our top boats, so there is still room for growth."
With K-State's recruiting philosophy of having a roster primarily made up of Kansas-based student-athletes who are new to rowing, Sweeney said, "It takes until their junior year to really find out how to be good. You can teach the technique fairly quickly, and then continue to refine technique, but the toughest thing to teach is the mental side of racing hard and the competitive side of it."
With only one senior (Christa Bowman, Plymouth, Minn.) in the No. 1 boat, and only two more (Melissa Steen, Wamego; Whitley Jackson, Lawrence) in the No. 2 boat, Sweeney says, "We've put ourselves in position to have a good year next year. We're getting closer and closer to having the roster like we want it, but just one or two hiccup years in recruiting can really throw you back. But we're at a phase now where when we graduate quality seniors, we have really good ones to replace them."
While most high schools do not have rowing, Sweeney says he looks for "... good athletes in general whether that's in volleyball, basketball, swimming or soccer. We look for good size with individuals with long levers ... long legs and long arms."
BIG 12 AT WYANDOTTE COUNTY LAKE: Saturday's Big 12 competition will include teams from K-State, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma as the only league schools with varsity rowing.
"Realistically, Texas is ranked in the Top 15 and will be difficult to beat. They have foreign athletes that are very talented," said Sweeney. "Our aim is to be as close to them as we can, and then if we get it right, to be able to defeat Oklahoma. If we don't get it right, then they will nab us."
Beginning at 9:40 a.m., on Saturday, six races will take place. Of those, K-State will be entered in the Novice 8, Varsity 4, Second Varsity 8 and First Varsity 8.
Fans are welcome to watch the Big 12 competition at Wyandotte County Lake on Saturday. To get to the viewing area from Interstate 70, take I-435N to the North 93rd Street exit (Exit 18). Continue south on 93rd to the beach shelter at the lake.
CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Unusual in the sport of rowing, K-State will also take part in the Conference USA Championships at Oak Ridge, Tenn., on May 14.
Competing will be the four Big 12 entries, Tennessee and Alabama from the Southeastern Conference, plus UCF, SMU and Tulsa from Conference USA.
"To get an automatic qualifier to the NCAAs, you need a six-team conference, so this combining of conferences has been done with several leagues around the country," said Sweeney.
K-STATE IV8 BOAT RECEIVES HONOR: Conference USA has awarded K-State's 1st Varsity 8 boat with Boat of the Week honors for their performance at the Kansas Cup last weekend.
With the Kansas Cup on the line, the 1V8 boat posted an 11.1-second victory. In the boat were: Weatherly Butler, Christa Bowman, Hanna Wiltfong, Adria Ley, Amanda Weishaar, Allison Dorau, Anna Young, Traci Smiley and Ali Peters.
K-STATE'S BIG 12 ENTRIES
C: Weatherly Butler, Jr., Lawrence, Kan.
S: Christa Bowman, Sr., Plymouth, Minn.
7: Hanna Wiltfong, Jr., Kansas City, Mo.
6: Adria Ley, Soph., Lenexa, Kan.
5: Amanda Weishaar, Jr., Lawrence, Kan.
4: Allison Dorau, Fr., Lenexa, Kan.
3: Anna Young, Jr., Americus, Kan.
2: Traci Smiley, Jr., Shawnee Mission, Kan.
B: Ali Peters, Jr., Blue Springs, Mo.
C: Whitley Jackson, Sr., Lawrence, Kan.
S: Nicole Burdiek, Soph., Emporia, Kan.
7: Danielle Glynn, Soph., Lansing, Kan.
6: Jayci McKenney, Jr., Fort Scott, Kan.
5: Justine Walsh, Soph., Blue Rapids, Kan.
4: Aly Bronder, Fr., Hazelwood, Mo.
3: Hayley Harvey, Fr., Collyer, Kan.
2: Sierra Cuda, Jr., Napton, Mo.
B: Melissa Steen, Sr., Wamego, Kan.
C: Samantha McCloud, Soph., Prairie Village, Kan.
S: Nicole Stuckey, Soph., Wichita, Kan.
3: Morrisa Rumage, Soph., Olathe, Kan.
2: Tricia Walker, Soph., Brookville, Kan.
B: Brittany Leathers, Soph., Quinter, Kan.
C: Hillary Schartz, Fr., Claflin, Kan.
S: Natalie Greene, Fr., Vermillion, Kan.
7: Emily Elliott, Fr., Schenectady, N.Y.
6: Lea Hauldren, Soph., Shawnee, Kan.
5: Marissa Campbell, Soph., La Junta, Colo.
4: Abby Harbour, Soph., Shawnee, Kan.
3: Kris Smith, Soph., University Park, Ill.
2: Brittany Odle, Fr., Liberal, Kan.
B: Nicole Specht, So., Overland Park, Kan.
SIZZLING WILDCATS OFF TO OKLAHOMA TATE: K-State's baseball team, winners of six in a row and eight of its last 10, will be in Stillwater, Okla., this weekend to take on the No. 19 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
While the Wildcats are hot, the Cowboys are chilly having lost its last four games, which includes a mid-week game at Wichita State after a sweep at the hands of Texas A&M last weekend.
OSU is in fourth place in the Big 12 with a 10-8 league mark and 28-12 record overall. K-State has climbed into the sixth spot with an 8-10 league mark and 26-15 record overall.
The Cowboys are second in the league in hitting with a .299 average, while K-State is in the seventh spot at .268.
In 18 Big 12 games this year, K-State has played in 10 one-run game (3-7), plus lost a two-run game and gone 2-2 in three-run games. Yes, none of the 10 Wildcats Big 12 losses have been by more than three runs.
Games are set for 6:30 p.m. tonight, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
IN THE POLLS: Teams ranked in the Baseball America poll this week are No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 7 Texas, No. 14 Oklahoma and No. 19 Oklahoma State.
BIG 12 STANDINGS: Texas A&M 14-4, Texas 13-5, Oklahoma 9-7, Oklahoma State 10-8, Kansas 9-9, K-State 8-10, Baylor 7-11, Nebraska 5-9, Texas Tech 6-12, Missouri 4-10.
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