K-State rowing shines at SIRAs

By The Mercury

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The Kansas State women’s rowing team turned in an epic performance at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championship Regatta, racking up five gold medals and one bronz on Saturday.

Competing on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Wildcats completed the women’s collegiate gold medal sweep at the regatta for the first time in program history.

It was an unprecedented performance by K-State at SIRA, as the six Wildcat boats combined to go 13-1 overall during the two-day regatta.

The 1st Varsity 8 earned SIRA gold for the first time since 2003-04. The crew of coxswain Hillary Schartz and rowers Meggie Murray, Noelle Dykmann, Lisa Angell, Brittany Long, Allison Dorau, Ashley Houser, Erin Roeser and Madi Haney held off spirited competition from Nova Southeastern and George Washington in the Grand Final.

The Wildcats’ top boat finished the final in 6:49.60, exactly 4 seconds better than runnerup Nova Southeastern. The golden effort made it a perfect 3-0 for the 1V8 on the weekend.

Also registering a perfect weekend was the 1st Varsity 4 crew, going 3-0 and putting in its best performance to date this season. The crew consisting of coxswain Meaghan Kuzmich and rowers Jennifer Smisek, Hayley Harvey, Ally Franken and Chelsea Holt-Bates dominated competition, eventually earning gold in the Varsity 4 Grand Final.

In the Grand Final, the 1V4 bested Nova Southeastern and George Washington, finishing the race in a time of 7:55.20. It marked the second straight year a K-State 1V4 crew has won gold at SIRA.

Rounding out the slew of gold medal performances for the Wildcats was the 2nd Varsity 4, 2nd Varsity 8 and the 1st Novice 8.

In the 2V4 and 2V8 events, none of the boats were required to compete in heats or semifinals to advance to their respective Grand Finals. The 2V4, facing off against only Purdue, dominated the head-to-head matchup, defeating the Boilermakers by more than 40 seconds and finishing the race in a time of 8:04.80.

The 2V8 cruised to its gold in similar fashion, defeating the field of five by be more than 17 seconds in its final. It was the third-consecutive year for a K-State 2V8 to bring home the gold, while the 2V4 earned SIRA gold for the first time in program history.

In novice competition, the Wildcats deployed two boats consisting of solely novices.

Both the 1st Novice 8 and 2nd Novice 8 cruised to the Novice Grand Final, winning their respective heats by margins of more than 10 seconds.

Finishing its heat in a time of 7:31.1, the 2N8 edged Rollins (7:33.8) by a little over 2 seconds.  Then K-State’s novice 8s faced off against each other among a field of six total boats in the Grand Final. The 1N8 won with the final in a time of 7:18.20, while the 2N8 brought home hardware as well, earning bronze.

It was the second straight year the K-State 1N8 has won gold at the SIRAs, while it was the first time since 2008-09 that both novice crews earned SIRA medals.

With regular season action finished, the Wildcats now shift their attention to the conference championship meets. First up will be the Big 12 Championship on May 3 in Oklahoma City.

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