Wildcats Bringing Confidence to Big 12 Championship

Weatherly Butler

April 26, 2012

MANHATTAN, Kan. – It has been back-to-back strong showings from the Kansas State rowing team this month, and the Wildcats are taking the confidence gained at the Kansas Cup and Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship with them to this weekend’s Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City. Competition is set to start on the Oklahoma River at 9:40 a.m. Saturday with the 4th Varsity 8 race as the Wildcats look to improve on last year’s third-place finish.

The Texas Longhorns are the three-time defending champions, and last year the Oklahoma Sooners took second while the Kansas Jayhawks finished fourth. Unseating Texas as the champion will be on the minds of every other team with the Longhorns being the favorite and the only team in the Big 12 receiving votes in this week’s CRCA/US Rowing Coaches Poll.

K-State Head Coach Patrick Sweeney said he is optimistic about his team’s prospects after winning three medals at last week’s SIRAs. His team’s dominant win over KU in the Kansas Cup helped sparked confidence into his team heading into the championship.

“The name of the game this weekend will be to continue rowing as well as we have done thus far through the season,” Sweeney said. “The athletes should enjoy this regatta and be proud of the level they’ve reached by taking the next step up.”

This year marks the first year the Big 12 Conference Rowing Championship is fully-supported by the league with the first year in 2009 being sponsored on a limited basis. The championship regatta will have six races this year with four Varsity 8 races and two Varsity 4s. K-State will field boats in five of the six races and will not enter a boat in the 4th Varsity 8 race.

Coming home with solid performances from the Big 12 Championship will require another weekend of strong and consistent racing from the Wildcats. Sweeney said it will be a trying event and he hopes to see his Wildcats answer under pressure.

“This season has been going well. It will be tough to beat Texas and Oklahoma because of their depth and they have beaten us earlier this year,” Sweeney said. “So this regatta is a chance to step up as a team and see if we can upset people.”

Points will be awarded for each place in all six races with the 1st Varsity 8 and 2nd Varsity 8 holding the most weight in the competition. A team champion will be crowned following the 1st Varsity 8 race to the team accumulating the most points over the six races. Fans can follow the hashtag #Big12 on Twitter for updates from the event.

Big 12 Championship Schedule
9:30 a.m. National Anthem
9:40 a.m. 4th Varsity 8
10:00 a.m. 3rd Varsity 8
10:20 a.m. 2nd Varsity 4
10:40 a.m. 1st Varsity 4
11:00 a.m. 2nd Varsity 8
11:20 a.m. 1st Varsity 8
11:50 a.m. Awards/Senior Recognition