Rowing Spotlight: Thierolf and Rowing Trek to Knecht Cup

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — The University of Kansas rowing team will travel to New Jersey this weekend for the renowned Knecht Cup at Mercer Lake. The regatta is split into two days of competition on Saturday and Sunday, featuring 32 events in the men’s and women’s collegiate divisions from over 70 institutions will participate.

Kansas will compete in the First Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight, First Varsity Four, Second Varsity Four, Third Varsity Eight and Novice Eight. Saturday is used as a qualifier for the final races on Sunday. Twelve boats in each event advance to Sunday. The Grand Final will match the top six qualifiers from Saturday against each other while the Petite Final includes the next six qualifiers.

Last season at the event in New Jersey, the Jayhawks qualified for three Grand Finals with the Third Varsity Eight and Second Varsity Four winning silver medals.

Live results will be available at caught up with sophomore Kaelyn Thierolf (Marion, Kan.) before the Jayhawks’ largest race of the spring.

Q: After three races in, where do you see the team right now?
KAELYN THIEROLF: Our team has started the season with a stronger foundation than we have in the past. We have been putting in more work and the expectations for our team are much higher. We are stronger and faster than we have been in past years. Everyone is extremely competitive. If we continue to train hard and put in the work, then I have no doubt in my mind we will get where we want to be in the future.

Q: Being one of the largest regattas in United States, what were your thoughts the first time rowing at the Knecht Cup?
THIEROLF: It was an amazing experience the first time I rowed at the Knecht Cup. It shows you the world of rowing. It was great to race against teams we normally wouldn’t race against. Last year, it gave me a positive outlook on our team. We were able to compete with some of the best rowing teams.

I love racing the east coast schools. Usually people don’t expect landlocked Kansas to be a competitive rowing team. Each year we prove them wrong. We expect to go to finals and be the fastest team out there. I think that really separates our team from last year. We have high expectations that we will achieve.

Q: How did you get involved in rowing?
THIEROLF: When I was younger, I had my eye on KU rowing because I thought it would be a good combination of endurance and strength that I loved through distance running and powerlifting. My junior year of high school I went to a rowing camp offered by KU. From there, I became interested in the sport and was recruited.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of being on the team?
THIEROLF: The girls I have met is definitely the most rewarding part of being apart of KU Rowing. These are the hardest working and toughest girls I have ever met. It’s amazing to be pulling every stroke for your teammates because you know every girl is pulling for you.

Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far in your rowing career?
THIEROLF: The rowing season is very long with little competitions. We spend months practicing before we see competition. Yet, we don’t get lost in the sauce and stay motivated. Especially for such a competitive team, I know we want the chance to compete more and see what we can do. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.