May 1, 2014MANHATTAN, Kan. - K-State Women's Rowing heads to Oklahoma City this weekend for the Big 12 Championship held at Chesapeake Boat House. The Wildcats will deploy a full slate of boats in four Varsity 8s and two Varsity 4s, as each of the conference's five rowing squads will participate in the six-race event.
Last season's conference meet saw the Wildcats finish fifth-overall with 66 points, while Oklahoma ended the four-year reign of Texas as Big 12 Champs.
This season, the Wildcats enter competition with both the top-seeded 1st Varsity 8 and 2nd Varsity 8. Couple that with the Wildcats already having victories over then-ranked Oklahoma and Kansas in earlier head-to-head action this season and K-State looks primed to make some noise at this year's conference championship.
"I think with the way our season has gone, being good up to this point, we should be scaring a few people," said head coach Patrick Sweeney. "[Those conference victories] show that we have been moving well this year. The thing is, like in any other sport, you're developing as you go along and we can only develop ourselves. I'm sure they went back and did the same thing.
"One would expect over the past few weeks that they're all changing things up and will be gunning for us."
The biggest development for Sweeney this season, compared to years past, is that they will bring a full arsenal of boats to compete in each of the six races - something the Wildcats have not done since the conference began implementing a six-race format in 2010-11.
"[All the boats] count," Sweeney said. "Last year we didn't have the last two boats and only took four boats. We lost points because we didn't have a boat [in the 3rd and 4th Varsity 8 races]. That's why you want every boat filled and want them to do as well as they can. Even if they don't win they still earn points for the team by finishing second or third."
For Sweeney though, the team overall has worked exceptionally hard to set themselves up well for a strong showing this weekend.
"We have a sign up in our facility that says `No Excuses' and that's part of our philosophy," Sweeney said. "You get what you're dealt and you make something of it. The athletes themselves have done that, they're in [the IRC] every morning if we can't get on the water and working as a boat. They've told themselves they will do whatever we have to."
Such a strong commitment from the team as a whole has Sweeney filled with hopeful, but tempered expectations.
"I never like to predict, but you can't help but look at it," Sweeney said. "You say, `Are we on track, are we not on track,' but on the day is when it counts. If we get everything right and we perform well, we are in with a shot and that's all you can ask for if you prepare everything correctly.
"There's some years you go into a race and you're not going to be contending, but some years you can say you are if you do everything right and everybody is up for it, going for it, then you can do it. And this is one of those years that if we get everything right we are in with a shot."
The Wildcats will look to continue their strong 2014 campaign starting at 9:55 a.m., this Saturday, May 3. There will be no live feed, but live results will be provided by row2k.com and can be found on Oklahoma's Athletics page, as well as by following @OU_Rowing. A link to the live results will also be on K-State Rowing's schedule page under the regatta's respective tab and @kstate_gameday will provide up-to-date results on everything Wildcat rowing under #KStateROW. For more information visit www.k-statesports.com.