Wildcats Snag Three Golds at SIRAs

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. -- K-State Women's Rowing saw its top-three boats pick up three gold medals at the 47th annual Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championship Regatta. Held on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the five boats deployed by K-State -- 1st Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8, 3rd Varsity 8, 1st Varsity 4, 1st Novice 8 -- dominated competition logging fourth- and second-place finishes in addition to the team's three wins.

Head coach Patrick Sweeney was pleased with the overall effort shown over the weekend and said it bodes well for K-State as they head into the final portion of its season.

"All the boats raced extremely well this weekend," Sweeney said. "Based on the races, they handled the technical aspects of what we worked on the past couple weeks well and did what they were asked to do within each of their races.

"We've again tried something out and have seen the team as a whole improve. It should give them confidence going into the KU race that we're in a good place and building towards Big 12s. We're going to have to take things up a notch for that and we've taken the steps in the right direction to get to that point and need to continue to do so."

The Wildcats entered competition with minor tweaks to the 1V8 and 2V8, including swapping Ashley Houser and Ariana Thompson between the two crews to add more speed and balance for both boats. The changes paid dividends as the 1V8 and 2V8 picked up definitive wins on Sunday in their respective Grand Finals.

For the 1V8, the crew of coxswain Kara Omo and rowers Meggie Murray, Noelle Dykmann, Kayla Brock, Houser, Erin Roeser, Brittany Long, Mary Rose Eakes and Madi Haney outlasted both the top Purdue (6:36.794) and Jacksonville (6:38.546) crews in 6:31.544 to earn gold for a second-consecutive year at SIRAs. The medal-winning effort capped off a stellar overall performance by the Wildcats' top boat that included victories of seven-plus seconds over Marietta College and UD in preliminary and semifinal competition, respectively.

The 2V8, meanwhile, cruised to a fourth-consecutive gold medal at SIRAs with ease. In the Grand Final, coxswain Meaghan Kuzmich and rowers Chelsea Goble, Lacey Reifschneider, Courtney Cooke, Beth DeMars, Samantha Bendrick, Thompson, Ally Franken and Kelsey Schultz rolled past Jacksonville 6:39.547-to-6:54.960 for the victory. It was an impressive showing, as the 2V8 got perhaps their most spirited competition from the Dolphins' crew in semifinal action the day prior --in that race, K-State defeated Jacksonville 6:48.005-to-7:06.104.

Said Sweeney on the changes to the top-two boats, "The thing is the rowers in the 2V are competitive with those in the 1V. It's just how combinations work and finding that right one that makes both boats go faster. You don't take something from the 2V and put it in the 1V to slow the 2V down, but rather you're trying to find what combination works better for both. And that's really what the goal is and I think we have found that after seeing both boats excel this weekend."

Also joining the 2V8 in the same race was the 3V8, which finished third in their semifinal and fourth in the Grand Final.

The 1V4 put in their strongest effort of the season to date, rounding out the gold medal performances for the Wildcats. Finishing in a time of 7:20.283, the crew of coxswain Hannah Gwartney and rowers Natasha VanGundy, Jessica Kuhlman, Hannah Frith and Hunter Anne Postier eased past second-place finisher William & Mary (7:28.109). Even more impressive, the near eight-second margin of victory was their smallest on the weekend as the 1V4 took home victories of 19-plus seconds in the semifinal and 25-plus seconds in their heat, both on Saturday.

"[As for] the 1V4, we know it has got a lot of power, but they have to learn how to row together," Sweeney said. "That's where we are at with them currently and they're doing a good job so far. They took a good step forward this weekend."

With the win, a Wildcat 1V4 has now won gold at SIRAs for three-straight years.

Lastly, the 1N8 just missed out on its bid to win gold for a third-consecutive season. Registering wins of well over 30 seconds in both their races Saturday, the 1N8 finished a close second to Purdue in Sunday's Grand Final. The Wildcat crew clocked 6:53.979, while Purdue came out on top at 6:51.636. Despite the narrow defeat, the 1N8's silver medal-winning performance keeps a streak of now seven-straight seasons that a K-State novice crew has at least medaled at SIRAs.

K-State will now shift its focus to in-state and conference rival Kansas, as the Wildcats will square off against the Jayhawks in the 18th edition of the Sunflower Showdown on Saturday, May 2. Hosted on Wyandotte County Lake, K-State will look to make it five-straight over KU. Following the in-state showdown, Big 12s loom for the Wildcats on May 16-17.   

Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship
Melton Hill Lake
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

K-State Results

Women's Varsity 8+
Heat #1
1: K-State, 7:03.928 | 2: Marietta College A, 7:11.496 | 3: Rollins Crew A, 7:30.215 | 4: Emory A, 7:44.740
5: VCU A, 7:46.588 | 6: UTC-Chattanooga A, 8:25.319

Semifinal #1
1: K-State, 6:40.162 | 2: UD Crew A, 6:48.832 | 3: Wichita State A, 6:54.988 | 4: Clemson A, 7:00.18
5: Rollins Crew A, 7:07.772 | 6: Cincinnati A, 7:28.459

Grand Final
1: K-State, 6:31.544 | 2: Purdue A, 6:36.794 | 3: Jacksonville A, 6:38.546 | 4: UD Crew A, 6:39.746
5: Oklahoma City A, 6:49.582 | 6: Wichita State A, 7:02.111

Women's Junior Varsity 8+ and Lightweight Varsity 8
Semifinal #1
1: K-State A (2V8), 6:48.005 | 2: Jacksonville A, 7:06.104 | 3: K-State B (3V8), 7:14.254
4: UD Crew A, 7:16.994 | 5: Rollins Crew A, 7:22.406 | 6: Purdue A, 7:43.652

Grand Final
1: K-State A (2V8), 6:39.547 | 2: Jacksonville A, 6:54.960 | 3: UD Crew A, 7:03.421
4: K-State B (3V8), 7:05.176 | 5: Rollins Crew A, 7:13.687 |6: Purdue A, 7:30.290

Women's Varsity 4+
Heat #2
1: K-State, 7:52.953 | 2: Virginia Tech A, 8:18.290 | 3: James Madison A, 8:24.610 | 4: Georgia Tech A, 8:28.091
5: N.C. State A, 8:45.548 | 6: LSU A, 9:43.790

Semifinal #2
1: K-State, 7:28.932 | 2: High Point A, 7:48.862 | 3: UD Crew A, 7:52.978 | 4: Clemson A, 8:04.172
5: Florida State A, 8:26.337 | 6: Charleston A, 9:11.013

Grand Final
1: K-State, 7:20.283 | 2: William & Mary A, 7:28.109 | 3: Florida A, 7:37.991 | 4: Virginia Tech A, 7:42.119
5: High Point A, 7:43.421 | 6: Purdue B, 7:57.964

Women's Novice 8+
Heat #1
1: K-State, 7:18.428 | 2: Vanderbilt A, 7:56.796 | 3: LSU A, 7:56.931 | Murray State, 8:05.542

Semifinal #1
1: K-State, 7:11.328 | 2: Florida A, 7:35.638 | 3: High Point A, 7:38.115 | 4: Georgia Tech A, 7:41.012
5: Texas A&M A, 7:41.012 | 6: Wake Forest A, 8:16.692

Grand Final
1: Purdue A, 6:51.636 | 2: K-State, 6:53.979 | 3: High Point A, 7:22.187 | 4: Florida A, 7:26.557
5: Miami A, 7:28.727 | 6: Colorado A, 7:29.064

K-State Boatings
C: Kara Omo
8: Meggie Murray
7: Noelle Dykmann
6: Kayla Brock
5: Ashley Houser
4: Erin Roeser
3: Brittany Long
2: Mary Rose Eakes
1: Madi Haney

C: Meaghan Kuzmich
8: Chelsea Goble
7: Lacey Reifschneider
6: Courtney Cooke
5: Beth DeMars
4: Samantha Bendrick
3: Ariana Thompson
2: Ally Franken
1: Kelsey Schultz

C: Rachael Plotas
8: Jennifer Smisek
7: Emily Stec
6: Lindsey Schmeidler
5: Rebekah Raetzel
4: Maddie Petersen
3: Laura Clement
2: Marissa Butrum
1: Kelsey Eagleman

C: Hannah Gwartney
4: Natasha VanGundy
3: Jessica Kuhlman
2: Hannah Frith
1: Hunter Anne Postier

C: Ashleigh Ollendieck
8: Nicole Catloth
7: Kelsey Dighans
6: Jordan Seymore
5: Regan Simpson
4: Alex Deegan
3: Mindy Scharrer
2: Holly Nelson
1: Hannah Culbertson