Jayhawks Earn Three Medals at the Big 12 Championship
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Of the four Jayhawk boats that competed in Sunday’s Grand Final races, three of them return home with hardware. The Third Varsity Eight, First Varsity Four and Second Varsity Four each earned Big 12 Championship medals to lead Kansas to a fourth-place finish among its league counterparts.
No. 11 Texas claimed its fifth Big 12 Championship, scoring 137 points overall. Oklahoma, who claimed the championship crown in 2013 and 2014, came in second with 107 points and Kansas State took third with 89 points. Kansas finished in fourth scoring 80 points overall, while West Virginia rounded out the field with 52 points. In the automatic qualifier standings – which included rowing-only conference members Tennessee, Old Dominion and Alabama – KU tied for fifth.
The Second Varsity Four captured the silver
medal, coming in right behind No. 11 Texas.”I thought we had some good races,” said Kansas head coach Rob Catloth. “There was strong competition here. We medaled in three events, and I thought our Second Varsity Eight had a great time in the Petite Final.”
Sunday marked the final Big 12 Championship for the Jayhawk seniors, including Claudijah Lever who represented Kansas on the 2015 All-Big 12 Rowing Team, which was announced after racing concluded.
“We had seniors in every boat this weekend,” Catloth said. “They’re very important to our success and the leadership they provide to our young team is outstanding. On the year we made great improvement. We’re a young team and started a little slow, but we grew quickly and really competed in conference races. I’m proud of our senior class. Claudijah performed well and Kristen Byrd (Third Varsity Eight) earned the third Big 12 medal of her career.”
Racing began with the Third Varsity Eight Grand Final event, which the Jayhawks finished in third place for their first medal of the day. KU crossed the finish line with a time of 7:21.90. Pacing the ‘Hawks were seniors Kristen Byrd and Allie Griffin, junior coxswain Briana Pina, sophomores Bailey Brandon, Danielle Gibson Brittney Railsback, Emily Ruble and Margret Winter, freshmen Payton Vedders.
Up next, the Second Varsity Four boat gave KU its strongest finish on the day. The Jayhawks powered after Texas to cross the line in second place and earn the silver medal. Kansas finished with a time of 7:51.18, two seconds quicker than Tennessee. Racing for the Jayhawks were senior coxswain Sarah Lasini, juniors Jackie Adamle and Casey Kelly, sophomore Kylee Dewey and freshman Angie Allen.
The First Varsity Four earned KU its third-straight medal is as many events. The Jayhawks finished in third with a time of 7:52.19, more than five seconds faster than fourth-place Tennessee. Leading KU were senior Erin Brogan and sophomores Kate Cropp, Madison Hovis, Mackenzie Klaver and coxswain Mallory Miller.
Racing in the Petite Final, the Second Varsity Eight showed its speed by finishing in first place with a time of 7:15.45. A commanding victory, KU’s time was more than 10 seconds quicker than Old Dominion. Leading Kansas to the win were senior Alexa Fowlkes, junior Tessa Scott, sophomores Jordan Helms, Olivia Loney, coxswain Kenzie Obrochta and Katherine Young and freshmen BriAnna Dittberner, Ally Fullerton and Kaelyn Thierolf.
The final event of the championship was the First Varsity Eight. Facing a loaded lineup, KU finished fifth with a time of 7:00.24. Rowing for Kansas were seniors Julia Alvey, Jennifer Hartzler, Claudijah Lever and Brooke Thuston, juniors Maggie Duncan and coxswain Mary Slattery and sophomores Maddie Irelan and Lexie Lanphere.
“The First Varsity Eight a tough field,” Catloth said. “We competed hard and we were in a good position but just didn’t pull it out in our sprint.”
With the 48 points and the victory, Texas has earned the Big 12 automatic-qualifying spot in the NCAA Championships. The NCAA Rowing Championship field will be announced Tuesday, May 19.
Big 12 Championship
(determined by finish in all five races)
1. Texas, 137 points
2. Oklahoma, 107 points
3. K-State, 89 points
4. Kansas, 80 points
5. West Virginia, 52 points
Big 12 Rowing Championship Final Results
(determined on finish in 1V8, 2V8 and 1V4 races)
1. Texas, 48 points
2. Oklahoma, 36 points
3. Tennessee, 34 points
4. K-State, 32 points
T5. Alabama, 22 points
Kansas, 22 points
7. West Virginia, 16 points
8. Old Dominion, 6 points
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Complete Kansas Results:
First Varsity Eight – Grand Final 5th place (7:00.24)
Mary Slattery – Coxswain
First Varsity Four – Grand Final 3rd place (7:52.19)
Mallory Miller – Coxswain