KANSAS CITY, Kan. — In an exciting battle on the water with their in-state rivals the Kansas State rowing team was able to hold off the Kansas Jayhawks in the final race of the day on Wyandotte County Lake to win a third straight Sunflower Showdown and retain the cup.
With the score tied 6-6 heading into the 1st Varsity 8 race, the Wildcats pulled ahead early and held that lead the whole way. KU tried to narrow the gap over the final 250 meters, but it was too little too late as K-State got the victory by less than a second and secured the Sunflower Showdown win 14-6.
“When you’re standing there as a coach, there is nothing you can do, you’re literally standing there watching it happen, and I was a bit worried. I wouldn’t want to say it’s a nice feeling,” K-State Head Coach Pat Sweeney said. “The thing about it is for the women themselves, the way they raced it, they really pushed themselves to hold that final charge off of Kansas. It was really good they dug as deep as they did to hold them off, so I’m really pleased for them.”
Another boat Sweeney said he was impressed with on the day was the 1st Novice 8. After going 4-0 last week at the Longhorn Invitational and 2-1 at the OU Invitational earlier in the spring season, the novices immediately pulled away from the Jayhawks and put together one of the best performances on the day and the most dominating wins.
K-State’s Novice 8 extended its lead and was up by more than three boat lengths halfway through and won by four with a time margin of nearly 30 seconds. That victory helped spark the Wildcats’ confidence to get the win.
The Wildcats fell behind after the first race with the Novice 4 losing the initial race worth one point. The Novice 8 win gave K-State a 3-1 lead, and that was followed by a win for the Varsity 4 in the first tightly contested race of the day. K-State held off a charge from KU to win by only 2.2 seconds and take a 6-1 lead.
KU’s 2nd Varsity 8 edged out K-State by 4.7 seconds to tie the score 6-6 with the five points awarded for that race. Then, it was K-State winning the most important race of the day to secure the cup again.
While Sweeney was pleased with the win over KU, he knows his team has more work to do on the water to continue progressing and building toward championship season following a couple larger regattas in April.
K-State will be in action again next week when they head to one of the largest regattas in the nation on the West Coast. The Wildcats will take on some top teams again at the San Diego Crew Classic over three days of action.