2009 Season Recap

June 1, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan.—Kansas rowing completed the 2009 spring season on May 17 at the South/Central Region Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn., placing 15th overall. The finish was 3 spots higher than the team’s 18th place finish the previous spring.

The Jayhawks started the season on February 28 with the opening of the new boathouse at Burcham Park in Lawrence. The boathouse was packed to the walls with parents, former rowers, and fans that enjoyed remarks from Chancellor Robert Hemenway, Director of Athletics Lew Perkins and head coach Rob Catloth among others.

The spring season competition began as the fall season ended with the first regatta of the spring season, a match up with Oklahoma and SMU in Norman, Okla., on Mar. 29, cancelled due to inclement weather.

Due to the cancellation, Kansas opened the spring season at home facing Texas at Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City, Kan., on April 4. In the regatta the Varsity Four boat cruised to a huge victory over the Texas boat.

The Varsity Four would continue its dominance the next weekend as Kansas hosted the Kansas Cup against Kansas State at Wyandotte County Lake on April 11. Kansas entered three boats into the Varsity Four race and all placed ahead of Kansas State.

“We got off to a really good start,” said senior Abbi Huderle, “we took a couple seats right at the beginning. We were able to hold onto it all the way through.”

The Second Varsity Eight boat also had a strong finish giving Kansas an 8-4 lead going into the Varsity Eight race. The Jayhawks were unable to pass Kansas State in the race and the Wildcats earned the eight points for the race and the Kansas Cup.

“The first varsity struggled today and fell behind,” said head coach Rob Catloth at the time. “That was the points for the trophy. We have some more work to do with the first varsity.”

Kansas would only have a week to improve as the Jayhawks traveled to Oak Ridge, Tenn., on Saturday April 18 for the annual Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association regatta. Kansas faced stiff competition in the regatta as the top two Varsity Eight boats in the country were competing in the regatta. All five Kansas boats in the regatta qualified for the grand finals on Sunday, April 19 with the Second Varsity Eight and Varsity Four both placing third in their respective races.

“I think we did really well,” said Catloth. “The 2V and 4V did really well. We’re hitting the middle of our season and working to get better.”

The following weekend the Jayhawks traveled to St. Paul, Minn., for a duel with Minnesota. Ranked 20th at the time, Minnesota powered past Kansas with the exception of the Varsity Four, which the Jayhawks won.

On May 2 Kansas hosted the inaugural Big 12 Rowing Championship at Wyandotte County Lake. Formally the Big 12 Invitational, the annual competition between Kansas, Kansas State and Texas, was not recognized by the Big 12 as an official championship because of not enough Big 12 team participated in rowing. When Oklahoma joined the competition this season, the Big 12 chose to recognize it as an official Big 12 championship.

Finishing third in the inaugural championship, Kansas was in second going into the First Varsity Eight race, but were hurt by a restart in the race and finished third behind first place Texas and second place Kansas State. Texas was the overall championship winner. Despite the outcome Catloth thought the event was a success.

“In any sport to have a Big 12 championship and to be official is a big deal,” said Catloth. “We’ve had a program here for 14 seasons. We’ve been over a decade here on our own and waiting for the fourth team to come in and try to petition to try to be an official Big 12 championship.”

Following the Big 12 Championship Kansas had two weeks off before heading back to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the South/Central Region Championships. On the first day, Saturday May 16, the Jayhawks competed hard with all the boats in the contest making the finals on Sunday, May 17.

In the finals Kansas raced hard and finished the season on a strong note. The Varsity Four placed second in the C Final as did the Novice Eight. Kansas placed ninth in the Central region and 15th overall. Kansas was one spot ahead of Big 12 rival Kansas State in the Central region and overall.

“We end on a really sound note,” said Catloth. “We have a lot of young rowers and I think they learned a lot this weekend. Starting next year in the boathouse, I think we’ll be able to start out where we ended this year.”