Wildcats To Face Kansas in Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State’s women’s rowing team will look to reclaim the Kansas Cup as it heads to Kansas City, Kansas to compete against rival Kansas in the Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown on the Wyandotte County Lake Saturday. 

The Wildcats have dominated the Sunflower Showdown over the last six years, winning five of the last six regattas that they have competed in. 

One of the biggest challenges that both teams will face this weekend is the threat of strong wind, something that has kept the Wildcats off of the water for most of the season. 

“We know the weather this weekend is going to be a continuation of the same-old, same-old,” head coach Patrick Sweeney said. “At least we are prepared for that. The girls are not going to be freaked out by it. One of the problems is when you have bad weather it is hard to make comparisons to see if you have improved. From a coaches’ standpoint that is frustrating.”

Even with the imminent windy conditions, Sweeney is expecting a strong performance from the team against Kansas. 

“I am looking for them to really hit their potential this weekend,” Sweeney said. “I do not want them to back off because of the conditions. I do not want them to second-guess themselves, I just want them to go.”

During last season’s race, Kansas recorded two early wins to take a 5-0 lead. K-State would tack on two victories of its own in the next two races to take a 9-5 lead. The Jayhawks used a comeback effort in the final race of the regatta to win the Kansas Cup. 

K-State carries some momentum into the race after a strong performance at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships (SIRAs) on April 16 in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which will be the site of the Big 12 Championships in just two weeks’ time. 

At the meet, the Wildcats saw its 1V8, 2V8 and 1N8 earn gold medals, while the 2V4 won the silver medal and the 1V4 took the bronze medal. 

“We saw great progress from some of the boats at SIRAs,” Sweeney noted about the team’s last competition. “That was really nice to see. We also saw that the 4s were not right so we have changed those around. Not a lot, but it looks like it has made a difference. Overall, I was pleased with what happened at SIRAs.”

Sweeney has also continued to be impressed with his team’s resilience despite the constant wind and poor weather keeping them off of the water this season. 

“I really think the girls have continued to do a really great job of coping with a lack of water time,” Sweeney added. “They are really rowing well when we have seen them on good water. They are performing way above what they should be doing considering what they have been dealt this year.”

The first race of the 2016 edition of the Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown is the 3V8 race, which is set to launch at 11 a.m. CT. In-race updates can be found by following @kstate_gameday on Twitter. 

For the latest on K-State women’s rowing, follow @kstatesports and @KStateROW on Twitter using the hashtag #KStateROW or on the team’s Facebook page. 

Dillon’s Sunflower Showdown
Wyandotte County Lake
Kansas City, Kan.

Women’s 3V8 – 11:00 a.m. CT
Women’s 1V4 – 11:15 a.m. CT
Women’s 2V4 – 11:30 a.m. CT
Women’s 2V8 – 11:45 a.m. CT
Women’s 1V8 – Noon CT