OKLAHOMA CITY — The Kansas State women’s rowing team put in a spirited effort at the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, finishing second overall with a score of 112 points.
The Wildcats registered one victory from their 2nd Varsity 4, as well as runnerup performances from the 1st and 2nd Varsity 8s.
Oklahoma took first overall, winning its second straight Big 12 title, while Kansas, Texas and West Virginia finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
K-State head coach Patrick Sweeney said despite not getting the title, his team performed well.
“Coming so close and getting second place is a pain, but the athletes did a good job, they’ve done a good job all year,” Sweeney said. “Considering where they were last year and what they’ve done this year with the lack of water time, they’ve done a really good job.
“We’ll go back, take a look at where we are at and come back in two weeks time.”
Opening the day with back-to-back fourth-place finishes from the 3rd and 4th Varsity 8s, the Wildcats got started on the comeback trail with an impressive win from the 2V4.
The crew of coxswain Meaghan Kuzmich and rowers Jennifer Smisek, Chelsea Holt-Bates, Ally Franken and Hayley Harvey took first in a time of 8:24.51, nearly 8 seconds better than second-place Kansas. It was the first time K-State had deployed a 2V4 at the conference regatta, as well as the first winning performance by a Wildcat boat at a Big 12 meet since the 1st Varsity 8 won on Wyandotte County Lake in 2009.
Following a tightly contest 1st Varsity 4 race that saw the Wildcats place third behind Texas and KU, K-State sat in third overall with its top-seeded 1V8 and 2V8 left to compete.
In the 2V8, the Wildcats battled to a second-place finish behind only OU in a time of 7:43.44. The runnerup performance was good enough to set K-State up for a winner-take-all match-up in the final race of the day between the five schools’ 1V8s.
Oklahoma led the pack heading into the final race with a score of 66 points, while K-State, Kansas and Texas were all within striking distance at 62, 61 and 59 points, respectively.
Despite a strong start, the 1V8, consisting of coxswain Hillary Schartz and rowers Meggie Murray, Noelle Dykmann, Lisa Angell, Brittany Long, Allison Dorau, Ashley Houser, Erin Roeser and Madi Haney, could not overcome a dominant Sooners’ squad. The Wildcats’ top boat finished second in a time of 7:24.17, while Oklahoma took first in 7:19.48.
For K-State, though its comeback fell short the overall performance by the Wildcat women was one marked by exceptional improvement from years past. Only a year removed from a last-place finish at Big 12s, the second-place finish was the highest-ever by a K-State team since the Big 12 Championship became officially conference sponsored in 2012.
The day’s festivities finished up with award presentations, as well as the announcement of this year’s All-Big 12 team. The Wildcats had a program record five athletes named to the first and second teams with Dorau and Angell earning first team honors and Murray, Haney and Schartz being named to the second team.
K-State will now look to finish the year strong at the Conference USA Championship in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on May 17. Last season saw the Wildcats finished fifth overall.