KU Edges K-State at Sunflower Showdown, 14-9

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The 18th annual edition of the Sunflower Showdown came down to the wire, with Kansas edging out K-State Women's Rowing, 14-9, on Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City, Kansas. Competing in six races on the day -- 1st Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8, 3rd Varsity 8, 1st Varsity 4, 2nd Varsity 4, 3rd Varsity 4 -- the Wildcats and Jayhawks traded punches, eventually leading to Kansas taking the deciding duel between 1V8s by less than a half-second.

Head coach Patrick Sweeney said even with the defeat, the team has plenty to build off of with Big 12s two weeks away.

"We've worked them fairly hard coming into today," Sweeney said. "It's not like we've really peaked because we're still looking at Big 12s. It was obvious KU was sharper than we were. So we need to go and figure out how to get sharper and improve upon where we are at, two weeks from now."

The Jayhawks got off to a fast start taking the first three races of the morning and a five-point advantage heading into the matchup of 1V4s. The Wildcats' 1V4 would respond, as the crew of coxswain Hannah Gwartney and rowers Natasha VanGundy, Jessica Kuhlman, Hannah Frith and Hunter Anne Postier notched K-State's first victory over KU by exactly one second -- 7:39.3-to-7:40.3.

Cutting KU's lead to two thanks to three points by the 1V4, K-State's 2V8 kept the momentum by giving the Wildcats the lead, 9-to-5. The crew consisting of coxswain Meaghan Kuzmich and rowers Chelsea Goble, Lacey Reifschneider, Courtney Cooke, Beth DeMars, Samantha Bendrick, Ariana Thompson, Ally Franken and Kelsey Schultz cruised past the Jayhawks in impressive fashion, winning by nearly 10 seconds -- 6:58.5-to-7:05.8.

Sweeney said there were plenty of positives to take away from the two winning boats.

"The [1V4] was right in there at the start and managed to keep going," Sweeney said. "They had struggled with starts, but today they were better. They pushed through the middle of the race and held on at the end, so I was quite pleased with that. And the [2V8], they got their lead at the start and gradually kept pulling, so they were competing well."

The two-straight victories by the Wildcats set up a winner-take-all scenario for the Sunflower Showdown Cup in the matchup of 1V8s. K-State's top boat got out to a sizable lead early, but were unable to handle a late surge by the Jayhawks, eventually dropping the race, 6:52.1-to-6:52.46, and the lead, 14-to-9.   

Sweeney said a couple key mistakes towards the end of the race, including crabbing, where poor blade placement in the water results in mishandled strokes, led to the tough result.

"The 1V8 started off well and should have cruised, but froze when KU made a push and they still had a length lead," Sweeney said. "A more mature squad would have held. I hope they have learned they have the speed to compete at Big 12s, but need to able to be mature enough to handle these situations as well."

Kansas' victory marked the first by the Jayhawks in the Showdown since April 3, 2010. The Wildcats had won the previous four matchups between the two programs and nine of the last 10 overall.

With the annual meeting between the Wildcats and Jayhawks completed, K-State will now shift its focus to the final race of the 2015 season, the Big 12 Championship in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on May 16-17.

Sunflower Showdown
Wyandotte County Lake
Kansas City, Kansas

K-State Results

Team Scores
1: Kansas, 14 | 2: K-State, 9

1st Varsity 8
1: Kansas, 6:52.1 | 2: K-State, 6:52.46

2nd Varsity 8
1: K-State, 6:58.5 | 2: Kansas, 7:05.8

1st Varsity 4
1: K-State, 7:39.3 | 2: Kansas, 7:40.3

2nd Varsity 4
1: Kansas, 7:44.3 | 2: K-State, 7:59.8

3rd Varsity 8
1: Kansas, 7:01.4 | 2: K-State, 7:11.8

3rd Varsity 4
1: Kansas, 7:49.5 | 2: K-State, 8:20.6

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

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

C: Rachael Plotas
4: Jennifer Smisek
3: Emily Stec
2: Lindsey Schmeidler
1: Rebekah Raetzel

C: Courtney Faucett
4: Marissa Butrum
3: Laura Clement
2: Maddie Petersen
1: Hannah Culbertson