Wildcats Close Out Season in Oak Ridge

May 15, 2014

Regatta Central | Live FeedK-State AthleticsMANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State Women’s Rowing finishes the 2014 season with the Conference USA Championship this Saturday, May 17, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Wildcats will send out six boats to compete in the all-day event on Melton Hill Lake.

Fresh off a second-place finish at the Big 12 Championship, K-State will look to improve upon last year’s program-best finish of fifth-place at the C-USAs. The Wildcats will face off against its four Big 12 foes, including Big 12 champion Oklahoma, as well as Alabama, Old Dominion, Sacramento State, San Diego State, Tennessee and Tulsa. Of the 11 schools vying for the C-USA title, K-State has yet to compete against only Alabama and Tennessee this season.

Head coach Patrick Sweeney said he expects a competitive slate of races this weekend.

“It’s a deeper pool this weekend compared to Big 12s, so competition will be tighter,” Sweeney said. “You can’t afford to be flat, otherwise you’re going to lose three spots in the standings.

“Tennessee is up there and schools like Tulsa, Old Dominion and Sac. State, they’re all close in terms of competing with us. And obviously, Texas is going to come out and Kansas is going to come out, so you can’t have an off day. If you have an off day, you won’t make the [Grand Final]. It just makes everything tighter.”

For the Wildcats, having back-to-back conference championships, where normally only one signifies the conclusion of a season, is a unique situation. 

“It can be difficult to get back up after such a big meet, but you just have to go out and do it,” Sweeney said. “It’s like football having back-to-back games on a short week.”

Sweeney added the team getting another opportunity to compete at a high level against conference opponents such as Oklahoma has it benefits too.

“Oklahoma got up to beat us for Big 12s and they did their job,” Sweeney said. “Now we have to do likewise and turn around and go after them. See what happens. We can’t sit back and say, ‘they’re faster,’ we have to get in there and try to beat them.”

Overall though, Sweeney said he believes the team can perform at a much higher level than what they showed at Big 12s and that a top finish is not out of the question.

“It’s really there for the taking,” Sweeney said. “I felt we didn’t row as well as we could have. We raced well, we raced hard, but we can do better. Technically we weren’t as sharp. These last two weeks, you aren’t going to get any fitter or stronger, we just need be technically sharper.

“All it takes is for another school to have a bad day while you get everything right then it’s right there for the taking. So I expect they’ll be pushing hard to get into the top-three.”

Action for the Wildcats gets started Saturday morning with the preliminary heats at 9 a.m. Live results can be found on the C-USA Championship Central page or by visiting K-State’s schedule page and clicking on the regatta’s respective tab.  A live feed will also be provided by University of Tennessee at www.utsports.com. For more information on this weekend’s conference meet, visit www.k-statesports.com.