Rowing Wraps Up Fall Season at the Hooch

Nov. 6, 2011

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Senior Melanie Luthi paced the Kansas rowing team in its final competition of the fall season on Sunday, 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. The championship single proved to be the Jayhawks strongest event of the weekend as three other Jayhawks finished in the top-10. Senior Angela Mings finished just two spots behind Luthi for fifth with a time of 20:26.4, while another senior, Paige Stephens completed the race in 21:23.4, which was good for seventh. Freshman Angie Flores continued her strong weekend in ninth, finishing in 21:44.1.

“The competition was at another level than it was at the Head of the Oklahoma,” head coach Rob Catloth said. “A couple of the rowers that Melanie (Luthi) finished behind at Oklahoma, she actually beat this weekend so it was a really good finish for her. She and Angie (Flores Rodriguez) finished fourth in the double and they were only four seconds back of the fourth-place boat, so they were kind of mad at themselves for that one.”

The Head of the Hooch event is in its 31st year and is the second-largest regatta in the country. At this year’s event there were more than 9,000 competitors and 2,100 boats.

Kansas competed in only two events on the final day at the Hooch, the championship single and the open eight. However, the Jayhawks were well represented in those two events as Kansas had four boats in each race.

In the women’s open eight, the top Kansas boat finished 12th in a time of 18:04.5. Senior Lindsey Bricklemyer was the coxswain, while the eight rowers included: Bailey Atkinson, Andrea Joyce, Alexa Fowlkes, Brooke Thuston, Molly Boehner, Erin Brogan, Olivia Kinet and Eileen Gallagher.

The Jayhawks rounded out the open eight in 16th, 17th and 19th, respectively.

On day one of competition, the women’s championship double established itself as the Jayhawks best event on Saturday as KU placed two boats in the top eight. Luthi and freshman Angie Flores Rodriguez finished fourth with a time of 19:09.9, while junior Cheyenne Verdoorn and Mings finished two spots behind in sixth, with a finishing time of 20:13.6.

In the women’s championship four, designated as one of four “Row for the Cure” events, Kansas just missed a top-10 finish. Senior Paige Stephens joined Kinet, Gallagher, Brogan and Bricklemyer, as the coxswain, as the team finished 13th in a time of 18:42.4.

The Head of the Hooch was also the first competition for this season’s novice squad. In the women’s college novice eight both KU boats finished in the top-15. The boat comprised of freshmen, Atkinson, Joyce, Thuston, Fowlkes, Allie Griffin, Jenni Hartzler, Hannah Silverthorne, sophomore Kaylee Sextro and freshman coxswain Sarah Lasini, finished fifth with a time of 18:08.5, while the second KU boat came in 15th with a time of 19:17.6.

“We were really pleased with the novice in their first race and getting fifth place,” Catloth said.

KU began the day of competition in the women’s championship eight and the two Jayhawk entries finished 18th and 20th with times of 17:11.7 and 17:33.3, respectively.

Kansas has plenty of room for improvement, but Catloth was very pleased with his team’s overall performance at one of the largest regattas in the country.

“We’re doing well in the small boats, but now we need to improve in the eights,” he said. “That’s going to be our main focus for the spring, improving our strength and being faster in the eights.”

The Jayhawks will return to action, after being inactive through the winter season, on March 9-11, when Kansas travels to Oklahoma City, Okla., for the Oklahoma Invite.