Kansas heads to Virginia for George Mason Invite

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas heads back to the east coast for the George Mason Invitational on Sunday, April 22 at the Occoquan Reservoir in Fairfax Station, Virginia. The annual regatta hosted by George Mason includes crews from George Washington, St. Joe’s  Villanova, Eastern Michigan, Delaware, Old Dominion and West Virginia. The morning session will consist of competition within the three conferences present and the fastest times from each conference races will move on to the top finals of the afternoon session.     

Last time Out at George Mason Invite
The George Mason Invitational is a familiar event for the Jayhawks  after competing in the Invite a year ago and helping the Big 12 Conference teams bring home the trophy. KU came away with the team trophy after recording five first-place finishes. After crossing the finish line first in all five events, the Jayhawks advanced to compete in each of the top final races. The First Varsity Eight beat George Washington to claim first and add nine points to the Big 12 Conference score. Kansas finished off the day strong with another victory from the Second Varsity Eight, crossing the finish line just a second before George Washington. 

Scouting The Crews
Kansas will open the George Mason Invite with an intra-conference race for all five boats against Old Dominion and West Virginia, starting with the First Varsity Eight. The Mountaineers come into the George Mason Invite after the Big 12 Double against Texas and Oklahoma was cut short due to weather. WVU was swept by the Longhorns and the Sooners before the First Varsity Four and Third Varsity Eight races were canceled.

The First Varsity Eight for Old Dominion finished strong at the Knecht Cup with a second-place finish in the Third Final with a time of 7:03.64. The Monarchs’ Second Varsity Eight is entering the weekend after a fourth-place finish in the Petite Final at the Knecht Cup. Old Dominion saw more success at the Knecht Cup as the First Varsity Four won the Third Final with a time of 8:03.91 and the Third Varsity Eight made it to its top final, finishing sixth with a time of 7:29.26.

Depending on how the Big 12 races finish, Kansas will compete against two crews from the other conferences that matched KU’s finish amongst its conference opponents. George Mason also competed at the Knecht Cup last weekend. The Patriots’ best finish was fourth place in the Third Final of the First Varsity Eights with a time of 7:08.61.

George Washington had a more successful day in its Knecht Cup debut with the First Varsity Eight winning its preliminary heat and advancing to the Grand Final along with the Second Varsity Eight.

St. Joe’s is coming off a solid effort at the Kerr Cup, where the First Varsity Eight advanced to the Second Final and the Hawks’ Third Varsity Eight was named the Atlantic 10 Boat of the Week. Kansas could see Villanova for the second time in two weeks as the Wildcats’ First Varsity Four faced the Jayhawks in the Petite Final at the Knecht Cup.

Villanova came out on top with a time of 7:53.72. Eastern Michigan came away with two third-place finishes and a fourth-place finish at the Cooper Invitational on April 8. Delaware’s top finishes from the Cooper Invitational came from the First Varsity Eight and the First Varsity Four, which finished third (7:15.42) and second (8:25.75), respectively.       

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.  

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. 
The Jayhawks will back home for the annual Dillons Sunflower Showdown against Kansas State on April 28 in Kansas City, Kansas at Wyandotte County Lake. 




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