It’s been a positive week for Kansas State women’s rowing. On Tuesday, the team was named the 2018-19 Big 12 Sportspersons of the year by the Big 12. The award was given for overcoming adversity and succeeding in both academics and athletics.
The rowing team overcame significant adversity in the 2018-19 season after senior coxswain Samantha Scott died on Oct. 27, 2018. In her honor, the team dedicated a boat for the first time in Kansas State program history, as well as dedicating the entire season to Scott.
“They really leaned on each other through the tough times and that made them stronger,” head coach Patrick Sweeney said in a release. “They went through the adversity together and they were ready to work. They could have let the situation sink them, but they didn’t, they did the opposite.”
This was the third time a Kansas State team received the women’s Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year award. The first was when Kansas State women’s golfer Whitney Pyle won the award in 2012-13, and the second was when the rowing team shared the award with Baylor’s Lauren Cox and Iowa State’s David Montgomery.
The Wildcats stayed committed to the season and their schoolwork, finishing third at the Big 12 Championship. Two Wildcat boats brought home medals. The Wildcats swept the Kansas Jayhawks in the Sunflower Showdown and won five medals at the SIRA Championships. They also won four medals at the Sunshine State Invitational during the spring racing season.
The rowing team logged 414 hours of community service within Kansas State Athletics service work. The Wildcats also actively led and facilitated work with initiatives like Cats in the Classroom, Cats for Cans, Tip Off for TP and National Girls and Women in Sports day. The team put together a conglomerate effort to work on issues like food insecurity, eliminating waste and volunteering with the elderly.
The Wildcats also continued to excel in the classroom with 25 individuals placing on the Academic All-Big 12 team. Senior Molly Ross was held in high honor by receiving the Big 12 Co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The Wildcats had 42 individuals on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, with 14 of them having a 4.0 and a team average of 3.337.
Molly Ross named NCAA Woman of the Year Nominee
Molly Ross contributed to the high standards of the Kansas State rowing team, and was named a 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year on Wednesday.
There is a record 585 female college athletes that were nominated for the annual award in 2019.
Ross, who is from Westwood, Kan., is working towards her Doctorate Degree in nuclear engineering after she received her Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and a minor in mathematics from the university in 2017. Ross’ success in the classroom has already earned her recognition, as she was named the Big 12 Rowing Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2019.
For four consecutive seasons, Ross was First Team Academic All-Big 12.
She also and earned Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) national Scholar-Athlete recognition last season. Ross did research on neutron imaging, and that led her to presenting at conferences in Orlando, Fla., and Mumbai, India.
While succeeding in the classroom, Ross was also critical to the rowing team, earning bronze medals at the Big 12 Championship in 2017 and 2018. She was a part of the 2v4+ boat team that won silver medals at the Sunshine State Invitational and SIRA Championships before the Wildcats took down the Jayhawks in the Sunflower Showdown on May 4.
The NCAA Woman of the Year award, which was established in 1991, recognized female college athletes who are graduating and have used their eligibility while succeeding in their sports, academics, service and leadership.
The next step for the award is the conferences (for three divisions) selecting up to two nominees from their pool.
The Woman of the Year committee, comprised of representatives from the NCAA membership, will then choose the top 30 candidates (10 from each division).
The selection committee has the next job, determining the top three honorees from the three divisions from the top 30 and then announcing nine finalists come September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will select the Woman of the Year from the nine finalists.
All of the top 30 will be celebrated, and the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award will be announced on Oct. 20 at the annual award ceremony in Indianapolis, Ind.