Kansas heads east for 2018 Knecht Cup

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Coming off its first competition of the 2018 season, Kansas rowing looks to carry the momentum on to the road. The Jayhawks hit the road for the Knecht Cup April 14-15 on Lake Mercer in West Windsor Township, New Jersey. The annual two-day regatta hosts over 70 schools from across the country.   

Last Time Out at Knecht Cup
Kansas has seen success in the past at the Knecht Cup after bringing home three medals in its last visit to Windsor, New Jersey, two years ago. The Jayhawks claimed first place in the Second Varsity Four race, crossing the finish line 10 seconds before runner up Bucknell. Kansas also notched two second-place finishes in the Second Varsity Eight and Third Varsity Eight Grand Finals during the 2016 season.   

Scouting the Opponents
Kansas will see in-state rival Wichita State in the first event of the day for the First Varsity Four, along with Duquesne, Boston University LWT, Penn and George Washington. Boston University is coming into the weekend having just beat No. 7 ranked Stanford last weekend. Penn is coming off a succesful weekend at the Ivy Invitational with two wins, leading the Qaukers to receive seven votes in the US Rowing and CRCA Coaches’ Polls. 

Coming off the first win of the season, KU’s Second Varsity Four will try to continue its success against UConn, Harvard-Radcliffe LWT, Temple, Jefferson, UMass and Manhattan. For the third race of the day, the First Varsity Eight will face off against Big 12 foe Old Dominion, Jefferson, Villanova and Miami. Old Dominion’s First Varsity Eight already has a win under its belts after beating George Washington at the ODU Invitational. 

The Jayhawks Second Varsity Eight will compete against Duquense, Villanova, University of Massachusetts, George Washignton and Temple. Kansas will cap off the day with the Third Varsity Eight, racing among UConn, Villanova, George Mason and Wisconsin LWT. The Badgers enter the Knecht Cup ranked No. 12 after sweeping all four races two weeks ago against UCF and Miami.  

Ranking the Competition
Kansas will face tough competition this season with two of its opponents, Oklahoma and Texas, ranked among the top 20 in the CRCA/US Rowing Coaches Poll. Additionally, the Jayhawks traveled to Indiana, another program ranked among the best in the country, for their final tune up before the 2018 spring season opened. In the first poll of the year that was released on March 28, KU was receiving votes along with Tennessee. 

Scholar Athletes
The Big 12 Conference announced earlier this year the recipients of its highest honor, the Dr. Gerald Lage Award. A total of 14 Kansas student-athletes earned this recognition, including rowing’s redshirt-junior Meghan Karoly and senior Kaelyn Thierolf. In order to receive this honor, a student-athlete must have 100 hours of credit with a cumulative GPA of 3.80 or higher. This is the eighth year the award has honored academic excellence after Lage, who served as the Oklahoma State faculty athletics representative with the NCAA and the Big Eight/12 Conference from 1983 until 2007.  

The student in Student-Athlete
With 32 different courses of study among the 64 student-athletes on the University of Kansas rowing team, there’s no denying the value and importance that Kansas rowing places on academic excellence. The rowing team prides itself on diverse majors and academic success in those different areas. Read the full story at RockChalkWeekly.com.

Wave the Wheat and Ad Astra   
Along with a new season and new members of the Jayhawk family, Kansas added two new shells to the boathouse. The first, Ad Astra, was named after the Kansas motto “to the stars through difficulties.” The Jayhawks needed help from fans to name the second boat. The community was able to send in suggestions and vote on the favorite name later on. With over a thousand votes, Wave the Wheat beat out almost 200 suggestions from the fans. 

Waving the wheat has symbolized a winning tradition at Kansas and the Jayhawks are excited to incorporate such a tradition into their winning ways on the water. Going forward with the season, Wave the Wheat and Ad Astra will be the boats of choice for the First and Second Varsity Eights. 
Next Up
The Jayhawks will head back the east coast for the George Mason Invitational on April 22 at the Occoquan Reservoir in Fairfax Station, Virginia.