Kansas to compete in Dillons Sunflower Showdown

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas returns home to host in-state rival Kansas State in the 2019 Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Saturday, May 4, at Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City, Kansas. Racing starts at 11 a.m. and after the final race of the day, Kansas will celebrate its 2019 seniors.

Before last year, the Jayhawks had defeated the Wildcats in four-consecutive Dillons Sunflower Showdowns. Kansas State snapped KU’s winning streak after clinching the Showdown with a win from KSU’s Second Varsity Eight to take the 13-9 win. The Jayhawks lone win came from the First Varsity Eight as Wave the Wheat outraced the Wildcats to cross the finish line in 6:21.7.

Kansas State comes into the showdown after all five KSU shells placed in the top-five of its respective events at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships. The Wildcats’ First and Second Varsity Fours swept the semifinals to advance to the Varsity Four finals, where they repeated their semifinals performance with gold and silver medals for the First (7:33.36) and Second Varsity Four (7:47.07), respectively.  The First Varsity Eight added to the medal count after shaving 15 seconds off its semifinal heat time to take home the gold in the grand final, crossing the finish line in 6:56.02.

The Jayhawks claimed victories in three of four races against Creighton on April 26. The four events featured Kansas’ Third Varsity Eight, Fourth Varsity Eight, Third Varsity Four and Fourth Varsity Four. The largest win of the dual came from the Third Varsity Four as Mawson’s Mission hit open water to best Creighton’s First Varsity Four by 30 seconds (7:03.5).

In a closer race, KU’s Third Varsity Eight pulled out a win against the First Varsity Eight, crossing the finish line just two seconds before Creighton (6:07.9). The Jayhawks’ Fourth Varsity Four came out on top as the Amelia finished first with a time of 7:04.3 to overtake Creighton’s Second and Third Varsity Four.

2018 Rowing Poster

Kansas continued with its past success at this season’s Mason Invite as the Jayhawks took home three golds. KU’s First Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight and First Varsity Four all swept their fields by winning the opening heats over West Virginia and Old Dominion to move on to the grand finals.

The First Varsity Eight crossed the finish line for first place in 6:32.50, which was seven seconds faster than Big 12 foe West Virginia. KU didn’t stop there and won gold as the Jayhawks’ First Varsity Eight defeated Eastern Michigan and St. Joe’s with a time of 6:33.30. Ad Astra, KU’s Second Varsity Eight, kept the moment rolling with a first-place finish of their own. The Jayhawks out paced second-place West Virginia by 14 seconds to advance to the grand final where Ad Astra cut four seconds off its qualifying time, recording a time of 6:45.10 and a gold medal. The third gold medal went to Kansas’ First Varsity Four after qualifying for the grand final, clocking in at 7:31.30 in the opening heat. The Oread hit open water to take first place over Villanova and St. Joe’s with a time of 7:53.00.

KU’s Third Varsity Eight advanced to its grand final after a 7:01.40 finish and first place in the opening heat over West Virginia, St. Joe’s and Duquesne. The Quiet Beast narrowly missed first place in the grand final as the Jayhawks crossed the finish line three seconds behind Villanova for the silver medal (7:00.95).

Kansas’ First Varsity Four was named Big 12 Boat of the Week after its standout performance at eh George Mason Invite. The Oread won its qualifying heat after defeating West Virginia and Old Dominion with a final time of 7:31.30. With its first-place finish in open water, the Jayhawks advanced to the grand final to take on Villanova and St. Joe’s.

Coxswained by sophomore Liana Ochoa and powered by sophomore London Acree, sophomore Katie Donnellan, senior Michaela Theis and redshirt-senior Kelly Koenigsman, the Jayhawks continued their success with a victory in the grand final. The Oread won gold after crossing the finish line in 7:35.00.

Each spring Kansas senior student-athletes experience one of the proudest traditions bestowed upon a Jayhawk – receiving their K Ring. After years of competition in the Crimson and Blue, practices and classes, triumphs and defeats, the senior class joins a group of extraordinary individuals that have poured their hearts and souls into their sport and studies.

The K Ring symbolizes a uniquely shared experience between generations of varsity letter winners at Kansas. For senior rower Bailey Blood, it was an opportunity to celebrate the connection of three generations in her family. Read the full story at kuathletics.com.

For the fifth-consecutive year, Kansas will travel to Oak Ridge, Tennessee for the Big 12 Championship May 18-19.