AUSTIN, Texas — The Kansas State rowing team kicked off the spring portion of its season with standout performances from multiple boats at the Longhorn Invitational this weekend.
K-State received six first-place finishes, including two against the No. 19 Oklahoma Sooners on Lady Bird Lake.
Wildcat head coach Patrick Sweeney said it was one of the best starts to a season ever for the women, whose wins over the Sooners were the first on record against a ranked opponent.
“All the boats looked good,” he said. “Having this prior week on the water for camp helped. We raced really well and the IRC has provided a clear boost for us as well. It definitely put us in a better position to start the season with conditioning and technique.”
The K-State Varsity 8s opened up the winning performances Saturday morning for the Wildcats, as both the 1st Varsity 8 and 2nd Varsity 8 defeated the Sooners in head-to-head competition. The 2V8 lineup of coxswain Kara Omo and rowers Chelsea Goble, Lindsay Smith, Aly Bronder, Abby Weaver, Ariana Thompson, Hunter Anne Postier, Lacey Reifschneider and Kayla Brock was first in a time of 6:51.8, nearly five seconds better than the Sooners’ 6:56.6 finish.
The 1V8 boat followed up that performance with a win to close out the matchup between the Big 12 foes. Placing first in a time of 6:48.4 was the crew of coxswain Hillary Schartz, Meggie Murray, Noelle Dykmann, Lisa Angell, Ashley Houser, Allison Dorau, Brittany Long, Erin Roeser and Madi Haney.
K-State’s 2nd Varsity 8 lineup — which included three freshmen — excelled in all of its races. Facing San Diego in Saturday afternoon competition, the Wildcats lost by less than a second in the tightest margin of their weekend, 6:58.10 to 6:58.12. Despite narrowly missing out on a perfect weekend, the squad finished strong on Sunday, picking up an impressive eight-second-plus win against Tulsa in the Wildcats’ final race of the invitational.
As a whole, K-State dominated Tulsa, picking up wins in three of the four total races. The 1st Novice 8, along with its victory against San Diego, picked up its second win of the weekend, while the 2nd Varsity 4 followed up that race with a win of its own.
Sweeney said this was a good learning experience for the team in both victory and defeat, as it will need to continue to focus on the basics in training to build off of this weekend’s momentum.
“We learned a lot from the races,” Sweeney said. “Some losses were really close and could have easily gone the other way. Taking out Oklahoma was a good result and San Diego is just a bit more advanced than us.
“With more time on the water, we’ll be able to sharpen up and only get faster as the season progresses. Some of the teams were sharper than us because they’ve had more time than us on the water.”
The Wildcats now shift their focus to in-state rival Kansas for this next Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown at Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City. K-State will look to make it four straight victories over the Jayhawks.