Wildcats Ready for Conference USA Championship

Aly Bronder

May 16, 2013

Championship Central | Heat Sheets

MANHATTAN, Kan. - The Kansas State rowing team heads back to Tennessee this weekend to take on their rivals at the Conference USA Rowing Championship. Action begins on Melton Hill Lake on Saturday morning with 11 programs fighting for the team title and a spot at the NCAA Championship. This year's championship regatta is sure to be another tight battle on the water as the Wildcats look to improve on last year's finish after seeing success earlier this year at the venue.

"In the 1st Varsity 8, the crew is looking sharp but will have to be willing to push harder to make up ground against their conference foes and boats of comparable speed at Conference USA. The 2nd Varsity 8 returned to a similar lineup to the crew that won at SIRAs and is eager to finish strong with a better matched combination in the boat," said head coach Patrick Sweeney. "The Varsity 4 lineup will remain as it has all season and will be joined by two more K-State fours who will enter the Open 4 event looking to gain experience for some of our younger athletes at the end of the season."

The Conference USA Championship will begin with preliminary heats at 9 a.m., starting with the 1st Varsity 8. K-State will field boats in four of the five races. Grand Finals will start at 2:20 p.m. Points will be awarded for each place in the 1st Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 events to determine a champion, while no points will be given for placement in the Novice 8 or the Open 4 since these events are not fielded at the NCAA Championship.

Tennessee is the defending champion after holding off Texas by just nine points and Oklahoma by 11 last season as the Lady Vols scored 53 points. This year will be another tight contest with Oklahoma recently winning its first Big 12 Conference Championship.

"We are still a somewhat young team and our practice conditions haven't helped out a lot. Still, I feel the team as a whole has learned a lot this season, consistently improving and this race is their last opportunity to learn racing maturity - being willing to tolerate more pain, knowing when to push, and how to respond to other crews down the course," Sweeney said. "If they learn to do that this weekend, they may surprise some of their opponents."

After the championship, Conference USA will recognize its champion and also award an All-Conference Team. Student-athletes who were recently named to the Conference USA All-Academic Team will also be recognized during the awards ceremony.

Fans can follow the action via social media with updates from the event available on multiple Twitter accounts. Updates from the regatta will be posted on @ConferenceUSA1, @LadyVol_Rowing and @kstate_gameday. Check the championship central page at conferenceusa.com as well for updates and more information.

Conference USA Championship Race Schedule
9-10:30 a.m. Prelims
Varsity 8 - 2 heats
2nd Varsity 8 - 2 heats
Varsity 4 - 2 heats
Novice 8 - 2 heats
Open 4 - 2 heats

2:20-3:50 p.m. Finals
Open 4 Petite Final
Open 4 Grand Final
Novice 8 Petite Final
Novice 8 Grand Final
Varsity 4 Petite Final
Varsity 4 Grand Final
2nd Varsity 8 Petite Final
2nd Varsity 8 Grand Final
1st Varsity 8 Petite Final
1st Varsity 8 Grand Final

4:45 p.m. Awards Presentation