Wildcats Close Season Strong at Conference USA

May 18, 2013

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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The Kansas State rowing team closed its season on Saturday with a solid showing at the Conference USA Championship, improving on its standing a year ago and medaling for the first time at the event. The Wildcats saw the 1st Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 both qualify for Grand Finals to provide significant scoring opportunities as the team combined to score 37 points and finish in fifth place.

K-State’s 1st Varsity 4 highlighted the day by winning its preliminary heat in the morning racing session to advance to the Grand Final. In the Grand Final, the Wildcats raced in a tight battle on the water to win the bronze medal and earn nine points. Oklahoma held off Tennessee by less than a second, and the Wildcats were able to separate from the rest of the field besting fourth place by more than four seconds.

“It was good to have a competitive Varsity 4 this year. We kept the lineup the same all the way through the season and they came together as a unit nicely,” said head coach Patrick Sweeney. “It shows the team's improvement in depth. They did a job well done."

The 1st Varsity 8 moved to the Grand Final by finishing third in its preliminary heat. K-State followed that performance up with a sixth-place finish in the final just being edged out by West Virginia, scoring 18 points.

It was a successful day for many of the K-State boats with the Open 4 ‘A’ also qualifying for the Grand Final. The Wildcats would finish sixth in that competition. A second crew in the Open 4 could not qualify for the Grand Final but did move on to win the Petite Final and take seventh overall. Although no points were awarded for the Open 4 toward the championship standings, it was a good racing experience for the young crews to take into next year.

Similarly, the 2nd Varsity 8 won its Petite Final in a tight race to the finish with UCF, holding off the Knights by just over a second to take the top spot in the race and finish seventh overall for 10 points.

Sweeney said he was pleased with how well his team closed out the season with a solid performance at the Conference USA Championship. After seeing a number of strong races on Melton Hill Lake earlier this season during the 2013 SIRA Championships, he was happy to see the Wildcats return to form and hopefully build momentum for the 2014 season.
“With all of the athletes in our 1V8 and V4 returning and a relatively young team coming up behind them, the racing today was encouraging,” Sweeney said. “It demonstrates again that we're on the edge of a big step up. If we make this the starting point and move up by working harder over the summer and when we get the indoor practice tank in this fall, we will be in a very good place next season."

2013 Conference USA Championship Standings
1: Oklahoma, 63
2: Tennessee, 57
3: Texas, 56
4: Kansas, 50
5: Kansas State, 37
6: West Virginia, 36
7: Old Dominion, 27
8: UCF, 25
9: Tulsa, 21
10: Alabama, 14
11: SMU, 10

2013 All-Conference USA Team
Nicole Furmanek, Oklahoma
Meghan Farrell, Oklahoma
Rebecca Staff, Oklahoma
Ashley LaFollette, Oklahoma
Erika Johnson, Tennessee
Ashley Fichthorn, Tennessee
Liza Rader, Tennessee
Rachel Donnelly, Texas
Chelsea Burns, Texas
Olivia Kinet, Kansas
Allison Dorau, Kansas State
Courtney Schrand, West Virginia
Maeghan Pardy, Old Dominion
Camille Everett, UCF
Allyson Brooks, Tulsa
Tabitha Coleman, Alabama
Emily Carstens, SMU