May 27, 2012
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State rowing coach Patrick Sweeney has announced the signing of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the spring signing period. This group joins the 10 signees from the early signing period to the team this fall and will provide a strong base for the future of the program in the years to come. Sweeney said the addition of eight signees in the spring for a total of 18 is a sign the recent successes of the team and the hard work of his coaching staff are helping to bring in quality athletes to become rowers at K-State.
“This is the best signing class we have had in my time on staff,” said recruiting coordinator Grace Riekenberg. “It is good to see high school athletes are starting to respond more positively to the idea of learning to row in college as a serious athletic opportunity. Additionally, this year we were able to expand our scope recruiting and we have signed three athletes with previous rowing experience to join us. I will be looking to them to help pass on the rowing mindset to their new teammates as we develop them together.”
The eight spring signees include: Ashley Appelhanz, Haleigh Burkhart, Mackenzie Christian, Courtney Cooke, Meghan Dickinson, Mary Rose Eakes, Katie Mulich, and Sophie Truesdell.
Appelhanz is one of three signees in the spring class with rowing experience under her belt already. She has been rowing on a club team out of Topeka since 2009 and reached the national semifinals in 2010 at the Club Rowing Nationals in the 500 meters sprint. Appelhanz also attended the regatta in 2011. Appelhanz has won a total of six medals the last three years at the Sunflower State Games earned three gold and three silver.
Mackenzie Christian is another rower signing with the Wildcats with previous experience on the water. She will come to K-State from Wisconsin where she competed in basketball, volleyball, rowing and horseback riding in high school. In 2010, she was named Waukesha North High School’s Defensive Player of the Year playing center for the Stars.
Truesdell represents K-State’s third signee already with rowing experience. She has competed with Kansas City Rowing Club since 2010 and finished second in the women’s single at an event in Topeka that year. She also was in a four that finished first. Her mixed double took third at the Wichita Frostbite last year. Truesdell also ran cross country at Blue Valley North. Her sister Tessa is a member of the swimming and diving team at Saint Louis University.
Burkhart is a multi-sport athlete from Culver, Kan., where she lettered in volleyball and track and field. As a middle blocker for Ell-Saline High, she helped the Cardinals to third place in the sub-state championship this season. In track and field, Burkhart lettered four years and finished fifth at sub-state in the shot put last year.
Cooke joins K-State rowing with a background in volleyball from Mill Valley High in Shawnee. She lettered two years at Mill Valley and played for the Southwind Tribe for three, earning the best blocker award in 2008 and helping her team to second place in the Kaw Valley League in 2009.
Dickinson has earned three letters in volleyball and participated all four years at Shawnee Mission East where she helped lead the Lancers to the Sunflower League title this fall. She played middle blocker and right side for the Lancers and also competed two years in track and field in the jumping events.
Eakes helped the St. Mary’s Bears to a runner-up finish in volleyball at the sub-state championship as a junior and earned first team honors for All-Mid-East League. She also lettered in basketball as well as track and field. Eakes was named captain of the track team her junior and senior years and was a member of the 4x400 relay team that qualified for the state championship last season. She is not the first NCAA Division I athlete in her family, as her older brother Luke plays football at Northern Illinois.
Mulich was a member of the Shawnee Mission Northwest track and field team her sophomore year earning a varsity letter. Her high school athletics experience was limited, choosing to explore fitness on her own outside of organized sports before signing on to become a Division I athlete.
“It’s great to have this number of athletes signed and ready to go,” Riekenberg said. “Now it is up to each of them to step up and make the most of their time on our team. With their dedication we can build this team even faster, and I’m excited to watch them do that over the next four years and five years.”