March 10, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Rowing season started with two victories for the Kansas State Wildcats Novice 8 and three wins in the varsity ranks at the OU Invitational this weekend over two days of racing. The Wildcats took on Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma and Central Oklahoma on the Oklahoma River.
Action on Saturday morning saw K-State open against Minnesota in a battle in five races. It was the youngsters on the team edging out the Golden Gophers by just over one second in the first race of the day. K-State’s Novice 8 crossed the finish line in 7:36.95 to come from behind against Minnesota as the Gophers finished in 7:37.92.
Weather delayed the start of Saturday’s afternoon racing schedule before K-State’s five boats could take on rival Kansas. Again, the Novice 8 came away with a victory besting the Jayhawks’ Novice 8 by nearly 18 seconds and the 2nd Novice 8 more than 20.
“It was good to see the Novice 8 win their first two races. It’s very promising to see them taking the learning experiences on right away and racing well,” said K-State Head Coach Pat Sweeney. “It was a bit of a letdown to lose to Minnesota’s 2nd Novice boat on Sunday after beating the 1st Novice the day before, but hopefully it was an important lesson learned – technique, technique, technique.”
Of Sunday’s four other events, the Wildcats came out ahead of Central Oklahoma in all three varsity level races. The Novice 4 improved on its race execution but did not come away with the win.
“With just the one day we were able to get out on the water in preparation this week, I felt the team performed well as a whole,” Sweeney said. “The margins we suffered were partially expected, being due to technical mistakes that the rest of the season will be spent refining and correcting. It is good to see that the strength and endurance base we spent the winter building is in place.”
K-State will be back in action in two weeks when the Wildcats travel south for the Longhorn Invitational on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. The regatta regularly brings in top teams from the south and Midwest.