Rowing Kicks off Spring Season at Oklahoma Invite

March 7, 2012

2012 Oklahoma Invite
Oklahoma River // Oklahoma City, Okla.
Rob Catloth and the Kansas rowing team begin the 2012 season against a pair of Big 12 foes in Oklahoma.
vs. Oklahoma (March 9)
3:40 p.m. Second Novice Eight
3:50 p.m. Novice Eight
4:00 p.m. Second Varsity Four
4:10 p.m. Varsity Four
4:20 p.m. Second Varsity Eight
4:30 p.m. Varsity Eight
vs. Tulsa (March 10)
8:50 a.m. Second Varsity Four
9 a.m. Varsity Four
9:10 a.m. Second Varsity Eight
9:20 a.m. Varsity Eight
vs. K-State (March 10)
4:50 p.m. Novice Eight
5 p.m. Second Varsity Four
5:10 p.m. Varsity Four
5:20 p.m. Second Varsity Eight
5:30 p.m. Varsity Eight
Novice Races (March 10)
9:40 a.m. Novice Eight vs. Creighton
10 a.m. Novice Eight vs. SMU
5:40 p.m. Novice Eight vs. SMU

LAWRENCE, Kan. – It’s been four months since the University of Kansas rowing team participated in a regatta, but the wait is over as the spring season begins in Oklahoma City, Okla. at the Oklahoma Invite, March 9-11.

KU returns to Oklahoma City for the second time during the 2011-12 season as it took part in the Head of the Oklahoma during the fall season in October. Coming into the spring season, head coach Rob Catloth said he would like to see improvement in the eight-boat races.

“I think they’re coming along pretty well,” said Catloth, who is in his 16th year as head coach. “Some of it was getting faster through winter training, which we have, and then our sophomores’ improving through the winter. Now, I feel like we have to go out there and see if we are faster.”

Besides returning to Oklahoma City for the second time this season, this will be the fourth-straight season in which the Jayhawks have participated in the invitational. Last year at the invitational, KU had success as the Jayhawks won multiple races over Oklahoma, Creighton and Tulsa. However, the first day of competition was canceled due to inclement weather conditions.

Senior Melanie Luthi looks to continue where she left off from the fall season, as she was the top finisher at both regattas. At the Head of the Hooch, Luthi finished third with a time of 20:08.5, in the women’s championship single to give the Jayhawks their highest placing.

This year’s squad is paced by senior leaders: Luthi, Angela Mings, Paige Stephens, Molly Boehner, Kathryn Schoonover, Emily Starr and coxswain Lindsey Bricklemyer. Aside from Luthi, Mings and Stephens each recorded strong performances during the fall season. Freshman Angie Flores showed some encouraging signs of being a top rower for the spring, as well as the next couple of years.

The novice boats will also look to build off their performance at the Hooch. They only competed at one of the two regattas during the fall, so the spring season is the prime time for the novice squad to show off how far it has come during the winter break.

“In all our testing we’ve had quite a few PR’s (personal records) as the winter has gone on,” Catloth said. “I think everybody is excited about how they are doing. From January until now, I feel like we’ve made some improvements.”

Joining the Jayhawks at the invite are fellow Big 12 members Oklahoma and Kansas State, as well as SMU, Creighton, Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

“We’re entering three to four races, hopefully if the weather allows,” Catloth said. “We’re mainly just going to take it one race at a time and row our own race. We want to feel like we got a good race under our belt. We’re looking for improvement and being fast.”

Following the Oklahoma Invite, KU heads to Oak Ridge, Tenn., to participate in the Louisville Invite March 17-18.