It was all Wildcats on the water, as the Kansas State rowing team dominated their rival Kansas Jayhawks in retaining the Kansas Cup by sweeping every race Saturday.
Competition on Wyandotte County Lake was delayed briefly due to weather, but when racing did start K-State crossed the line first in all five races to keep the cup in Manhattan by the score of 20-0.
“It really was a team win and that’s always satisfying when every boat and athlete performs well,” K-State head coach Patrick Sweeney said. “Our seniors enjoyed their wins over in-state rivals.”
For the seniors, it capped a career that saw them lose only once to KU in the Kansas Cup and was a good note to build on heading into the larger regattas the final month of the season.
“Sweeping the Jayhawks was a nice finish as a senior and it’s an honor to be part of the first team that did that,” KSU senior Traci Smiley said.
K-State opened the day with a strong showing in the Novice 4 race. The Wildcats finished in 8:05.6 to win by nearly 6 seconds. The Novice program continued to hold onto the momentum winning the Novice 8 in a close finish. The Wildcats bested the Jayhawks by just six-hundredths of a second, barely gaining the edge at the finish line.
Senior Anna Young also was pleased with how she and her teammates performed in her final time to take the Jayhawks on head-to-head.
“It was nice to beat the Jayhawks as a senior, of course,” Young said. “But we’re very happy to have done it as a whole team. It’s great to see that we’ve succeeded in leading a team effort, which is the mindset Coach Sweeney has been trying to get us to build.”
The domination kept going in the Varsity races with the 2nd Varsity 8 making a strong push coming into the sprint to secure the win by 3.4 seconds. K-State won by nearly 5 seconds in the 1st Varsity 4 race, crossing the line in 7:55.7. The Wildcats closed the day with the most commanding win of the competition. K-State’s 1st Varsity 8 crew finished the course in 7:13.4 to win by 10.8 seconds.
“We were really happy with the team result,” KSU senior rower Nicole Burdiek said. “And it was particularly nice to have a strong race in the 1st Varsity. We started strong and held Kansas off down the course. It felt good to show what we can do and just go for it.”
The Wildcats will hold onto the Kansas Cup after reclaiming it last season. The Jayhawks snatched it away in 2010, ending K-State’s streak of five straight wins. Now that the spring duel is the only one-on-one meeting between the in-state rivals. The competition is being renamed the Sunflower Showdown.
With the victory on Saturday, the Wildcats will attempt to ride a wave of momentum into the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association regatta in two weeks.