Kansas Rowing, Seniors Seek to Finish 2013-14 Season Strong at Conference USA Championships

Conference USA Women’s Championship Central

May 15, 2014

LAWRENCE, Kan. – As the University of Kansas rowing team approaches the Conference USA Championship on May 17 at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the 12 Jayhawk seniors chime in on what they have cherished most about their collegiate rowing career at KU.

The 12 women comprising the senior class include: Meghan Cahill (Ottawa, Kansas), coxswain Catherine Clements (Lamar, Missouri), Caitlyn Decker (Pittsburg, Kansas), Kelsie Fiss (Kansas City, Kansas), Carly Iverson (Lenexa, Kansas), Tearson ‘Jade’ Lambkins (Parsons, Kansas), coxswain Abbey Lozenski (Lansing, Kansas), Jessica Miller (Kingman, Kansas), Elizabeth Scherer (Wamego, Kansas), Kaylee Sextro (Olathe, Kansas), Alexandra Torquemada (Arcata, California) and Emma Umbarger (Shawnee, Kansas).

“This has been a really good class,” head coach Rob Catloth said. “This was the first class of women we recruited since having the Kansas Boathouse. We had high-expectations for each of them, and they have accomplished so much in their time with the program. I am very proud of this class.”
The 2014 senior class has accomplished many goals during their time with the rowing program – both on the water and off. These women have steered the program into the upper-echelon of teams in both the Big 12 and Conference USA (C-USA), including back-to-back third-place finishes at the Big 12 Championship. In the classroom, these ladies have accounted for seven C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medals, 22 C-USA Honor Roll selections, 33 Big 12 All-Academic recognitions and a Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipient.
These achievements will be cherished by KU for many years to come. However, this senior class wanted to let the Jayhawk faithful know what they have cherished most in their time as collegiate rowers in their own words.
Meghan Cahill
“I think what I cherish most from my rowing career is what the sport of rowing has taught me about real life. Rowing is different from any other sport in that there are no breaks or timeouts. From the start of the race until the bow of the boat crosses the finish line, the team is constantly moving and competing for seven-plus minutes. Sure, there were days where we all didn’t want to be there, we didn’t want to practice and we were all tired. But when you go through the warm-up row, and your coxswain is pulling your boat into the starting blocks, there’s only one way to get yourself back into the dock where you can be finished and relax; and that is by racing as hard as you can for seven minutes straight. Because the faster you go and the harder you pull, the faster you get to go home. And I think beyond rowing, that lesson has taught me so much for my everyday life—there are plenty of days that I don’t want to go to class, or work, or work with people I might not particularly like–but if I do my duties for that day to the best of my abilities, then the better off I am at the end of the day when I finally get to go home. Rowing has made me – mentally and physically – the strongest person I have ever been in my 23 years!”
Catherine Clements
“What I will cherish the most from rowing at KU is undoubtedly the friendships that I have gained from being a part of this team. Being a student-athlete, we encounter numerous challenges all the time. Never once did I have to encounter a challenge alone because of the relationships I built within the team. From each challenge, we grow into stronger individuals, friends and teammates. I’ll never forget the feeling of my team counting on me each day and knowing they would be there if I ever needed them.”
Caitlyn Decker
“Being a member of the KU women’s rowing team has been one of, if not the most, rewarding experiences of my life. Having the opportunity to be a Division-I student-athlete alone is rewarding enough, but it gave me so much more than that. Being a part of this team allowed me to create friendships that will last a lifetime. My teammates are my best friends. Going through the grind of early mornings, hard workouts and long winters, you have to be there for each other. You get to experience everything together, the highs and the lows, within your sport and outside of it. Through that you create a bond that is incomparable to anything else, and I can’t imagine I would have ever been able to make it if it wasn’t for my team.
As I get ready to go into potentially the last competition of my collegiate career, the one thing that saddens me most is the thought of not being able to see these girls every day. That this will be the last time I drop that boat down into the water, the last race warm-up and the last six and a half minutes I will get to race down a course with them. Although I plan on making memories with them for a long, long time after graduation, this will be the last time we will all get to experience the heart racing thrill of competition together. After four years of rowing for KU, my teammates are more than just who I practice with every day, they are more than just my friends. They are my family. When looking back at all of the amazing memories I have made, none of them would have been possible without these girls.”  
Kelsie Fiss
“What I cherish most about my rowing career is the success my boat (First Varsity Four) recently had this past weekend, winning at the Big 12 Championship. That win made all the work I’ve put in over the past four years that much sweeter, but I think the part that meant the most to me was having the opportunity to make my family proud. My dad and mom were both able to make it down to Oklahoma City, Okla., for the race. I distinctly remember looking over to the stands after we crossed the finish line and the first person I spotted was my dad waving his arms and cheering. Not only did I make my family proud by continuing the legacy by being an athlete at KU, but I started a legacy of my own!”
Carly Iverson
“My greatest moment at KU would be winning the Big 12 Championship in the First Varsity Four. We crossed the finish line and nobody knew who had won yet because we were that close with Texas. Then we all looked over and saw the KU fans on the shore cheering and yelling. It was one of the best feelings of my life, but was the best moment of my rowing career for sure. My teammates and I have worked so hard and it was really special to see all of our hard work pay off. When we docked our boat, none of us could even stand up straight. We couldn’t even carry our boat back to our team area—that is what I call leaving it all out there!” 
Tearson ‘Jade’ Lambkins
“This may sound crazy but I’ll cherish the blisters, the tan lines, the ergometer machine, choppy water, catching crabs on the shore, back splashing, steering the quad, de-rigging and rigging the boats, loading the trailer, ergometer testing, early mornings and lactic acid build-up in my muscles. The list can go on forever. Rowing is one of the hardest sports I’ve ever done and I will cherish the fact that I can look back and say that I endured all of that pain and hard work. With the help of my teammates and coaches, I survived.”
Abbey Lozenski
“The things I cherish the most about my rowing career are the beautiful morning sunrises and the friendships I made that will last a lifetime.” 
Jessica Miller
“What I cherish most about KU rowing are the memories and the friendships. Some of the girls on this team have become my best friends and when I look back on my rowing career, I will have all the memories.”
Elizabeth Scherer
“I know that looking back on my rowing career, the thing I’ll cherish most is my teammates. They are my Lawrence family and I wouldn’t have made it through the past four years without them. Everything we’ve endured together has only brought us closer, and I know I’ll never have a friendship quite the same as the ones I’ve made with my teammates. These girls hold a special place in my heart and they always will.”
Kaylee Sextro
“What I cherish most about my rowing career is the awesome group of girls and coaches I have met. I know that the friendships I have created over the past three years are friendships that will last a lifetime. As many times as I didn’t want to wake up when my alarm went off at 5 a.m., I appreciate it now because of the strong work ethic and discipline I now have. I believe everything I have learned during my time as a student-athlete here at KU will carry on into my professional career in a positive way. As I complete my career as a Jayhawk, there are many great memories and I will forever look back on this experience as one of the best times of my life.” 
Alexandra Torquemada
“What I will cherish most about KU rowing are the friends that I’ve made since I arrived in Lawrence. Friendships that have only been made stronger by the hardships and struggles we’ve endured together. Through this program, I learned things about myself not only as an athlete, but as a person as well. I can only express my gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of this program with such a wonderfully diverse group of young ladies.” 
Emma Umbarger
“Rowing had taught me the definition of mental toughness. It’s given me friends for a lifetime and coaches who have shown me my limits and pushed me to reach above them. Through the highs and lows of the past four years, I have taught my mind to change from my worst enemy to my biggest inspiration. I’ve learned that no one can pick me up or put me down faster than myself. Through many victories and even more losses, tough practices and days off, rowing has taught me how to perfect the balance between confidence and arrogance. Kansas Athletics has given some of my best friends and brought out qualities in me that I can apply in my future endeavors.” 
These seniors are winners in the classroom and as rowers, but they have one final opportunity to prove it on the water this weekend. The 12 seniors and the rest of the Jayhawks will travel to the C-USA Championship Saturday, May 17, and will look to improve on their fourth-place overall finish in 2013.
The NCAA Division I Rowing Selection Committee will unveil the championship field on NCAA.com on May 20 at 5 p.m. Eleven teams are selected through automatic qualification based on conference results. An additional eleven at-large teams are selected by the NCAA Rowing Committee.

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