Kansas Rowing Heads to Conference USA Championship

May 10, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas rowing heads into its final competition of the season as the Jayhawks travel to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the Conference USA Championship on Saturday, May 12.

The Jayhawks are coming off a third-place tie with Kansas State at the Big 12 Championship. Kansas’ First Varsity Four captured its first race crown in league history as the Jayhawks won the Varsity Four race in convincing fashion with a victory of nearly 10 seconds.

The win for the Varsity Four gave the Jayhawks their second-straight competition of bringing home gold in the Varsity Four race.

“With the Varsity Four, I think if they continue to race how they have been, we’re looking at them having a good chance to be successful,” Kansas head rowing coach Rob Catloth said. “I think Tennessee is going to give them a really good challenge with how they have been rowing lately.”

This is the third annual C-USA Rowing Championship, but the second as a stand-alone event as the first year was held in conjunction with the Aramark South/Central Region Sprints.

Preliminary heats, beginning with Varsity Eight races, are scheduled to start at 8 a.m. CST Saturday on the 2,000-meter course. C-USA will determine the team champion based on placement in Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight and Varsity Four races.

KU will be facing off against C-USA foes Alabama, Kansas State, Oklahoma, SMU, Tennessee, Texas, Tulsa and UCF. Texas, the 2012 Big 12 Rowing Champion, won the Conference USA Championship last season.

Conference USA has three full-time members that sponsor women’s rowing: SMU, Tulsa and UCF. Six additional programs serve as affiliate members in the league: Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Catloth is excited to see his team compete against some top competition as Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas are all looked upon as the favorites going into the championship.

“Our goal is to get all our boats in the grand finals, but it’s going to be hard because in the First and Second Varsity Eight races Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas are going to be the top of the heap, but then I think between Central Florida, Tulsa, Alabama, Kansas State and us there should be some pretty tight competition,” Catloth said. “We’re going to have to go out in the heat races and treat them like a final, so we can compete at the highest level.”

Team and individual awards will be presented at a ceremony following the regatta.