Wildcats Finish Season at Conference USA Championship

Traci Smiley

May 14, 2011

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The Kansas State rowing team closed its season with a sixth-place finish Saturday at the Conference USA Rowing Championship on Melton Hill Lake. The Wildcats scored 16 points on the day to better in-state rival Kansas and the SMU Mustangs at the championship event.

K-State’s best finish came in the Novice 8, coming in fourth in their Grand Final. All the Wildcat boats had their best performances during preliminary heats in the morning Saturday.

The Varsity 8 was just edged out by Oklahoma near the end but still finished third in the heat ahead of KU to qualify for the Grand Final. In the final, the Varsity 8 was again neck-and-neck, this time with Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane nipped them at the line. The 2nd Varsity had a similar story battling closely with OU in the prelims and finally surpassing the Sooners. But like the 1st Varsity, the 2V finished sixth after a tight race down the course behind Tulsa in the final.

For the team standings points were awarded in the three Varsity races based on finish, and Texas came away with the team title after winning all races for a total of 48 points. Tennessee finished second with 42 points. The Wildcats improved their standing from a year ago at the Conference USA Championship after finishing ninth last season.

“It was a long day of racing that tested our endurance,” K-State head coach Patrick Sweeney said. “All of our crews had their best race execution in the morning heats.”

However, Sweeney said in closing his team performed well this season, even if a better finish this year would have been nice. With such a young squad, he believes his Wildcats have the potential to be even better in 2012.

“The majority of our athletes will be back; and if they continue this season’s learning curve into next year, we should be pushing to the front,” Sweeney said.

Traci Smiley was also named to the 2011 Rowing All-Conference USA Team. Smiley rowed for the 1st Varsity 8 all season long and has played a major role in the Wildcats’ success on the water.

Conference USA Rowing Championship Standings
1: Texas, 48
2: Tennessee, 42
3: Oklahoma, 32
4: Central Florida, 31
5: Tulsa, 26
6: Kansas State, 16
7: Kansas, 14
8: SMU, 7

K-State Boatings
1st Varsity 8
C: Weatherly Butler
S: Christa Bowman
7: Hanna Wiltfong
6: Allison Dorau
5: Amanda Weishaar
4: Adria Ley
3: Anna Young
2: Traci Smiley
1: Ali Peters

2nd Varsity 8
C: Whitley Jackson
S: Nicole Burdiek
7: Danielle Glynn
6: Justine Walsh
5: Jayci McKenney
4: Melissa Steen
3: Ally Bronder
2: Hayley Harvey
1: Sierra Cuda

1st Varsity 4
C: Kaitlyn Arrow
4: Nicole Stuckey
3: Morissa Rumage
2: Tricia Walker
1: Brittany Leathers

1st Novice 8
C: Hillary Schartz
S: Natalie Greene
7: Emily Elliott
6: Lea Hauldren
5: Marissa Campbell
4: Kris Smith
3: Lauren Schumaker
2: Nicole Specht
B: Brittany Odle