K-State rowers take fifth at Conference USA

By The Mercury

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The Kansas State rowing team closed its season on Saturday with a solid showing at the Conference USA Championship, improving on its standing a year ago and medaling for the first time at the event. The Wildcats saw the 1st Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 both qualify for Grand Finals to provide significant scoring opportunities as the team combined to score 37 points and finish in fifth place.

K-State’s 1st Varsity 4 highlighted the day by winning its preliminary heat in the morning racing session to advance to the Grand Final. In the Grand Final, the Wildcats raced in a tight battle on the water to win the bronze medal and earn nine points. Oklahoma held off Tennessee by less than a second, and the Wildcats were able to separate from the rest of the field besting fourth place by more than four seconds.

“It was good to have a competitive Varsity 4 this year. We kept the lineup the same all the way through the season and they came together as a unit nicely,” said head coach Patrick Sweeney. “It shows the team’s improvement in depth. They did a job well done.”

The 1st Varsity 8 moved to the Grand Final by finishing third in its preliminary heat. K-State followed that performance up with a sixth-place finish in the final just being edged out by West Virginia, scoring 18 points.

It was a successful day for many of the K-State boats with the Open 4 ‘A’ also qualifying for the Grand Final. The Wildcats would finish sixth in that competition. A second crew in the Open 4 could not qualify for the Grand Final but did move on to win the Petite Final and take seventh overall. Although no points were awarded for the Open 4 toward the championship standings, it was a good racing experience for the young crews to take into next year.

Similarly, the 2nd Varsity 8 won its Petite Final in a tight race to the finish with UCF, holding off the Knights by just over a second to take the top spot in the race and finish seventh overall for 10 points.

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