2012-13 in Review: Jayhawk Rowing Powers Forward

LAWRENCE, Kan. —The Kansas rowing team capped off a successful 2012-13 campaign as it  continue to annually ascend in both the Big 12 and Conference-USA (C-USA) standings.
After finishing third place at the Big 12 Championships, the Jayhawks stormed into the top half of the conference with a fourth-place finish at the C-USA Championships. The rowers fell shy of bid to the NCAA Championships, but their success in 2012-13 will have them primed for a stellar 2013-14 season.

• The Jayhawk rowers defeated Central Oklahoma and Kansas State to win the Oklahoma Invite (9/30).
• Kansas won 14 out of 20 races at the Louisville Invite as the Jayhawks defeated Alabama and Buffalo, as well Eastern Michigan and Dayton. The women also won four out of seven races versus Duke and Notre Dame (3/17).
• The Jayhawks won the Novice Four and Second Varsity Eight races against Kansas State at the Sunflower Showdown (3/30).
• The team won four of six races, including the Varsity Four and Second Varsity Eight races, versus Indiana and Georgetown (4/6).
• Kansas qualified four boats for the Grand Finals at the Knecht Cup; the Varsity Four and Second Varsity Four teams went on to first-place finishes (4/14).
• KU defeated Sacramento State and Tulsa in Varsity Four and Second Varsity Eight (4/20).
• Kansas finished in third place at the Big 12 Championships (5/4).
• The Jayhawk rowers climbed to a fourth-place finish at the C-USA Championships; every Kansas boat qualified for the Grand Finals (5/18).

  • Oarswoman of the Year: Olivia Kinet
  • Nikia Rosenberger Outstanding Coxswain: Olivia Catloth
  • Most Improved Oarswoman: Claudijah Lever
  • Essence of a Jayhawk:  Laura Benz
  • Outstanding Newcomer: Alexandra Torquemada
  • Outstanding Freshman: Maggie Duncan
  • Most Improved Newcomer: Tess Scott
  • “Class of 2000” Team Academic Award: Elizabeth Scherer, Caty Clements
  • Senior Academic Achievement: Emily Starr


  • Big 12 Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Elizabeth Scherer
  • All-Big 12 First Team: Olivia Kinet
  • All-Big 12 Second Team: Alexandra Torquemada, Elizabeth Scherer
  • All-Conference USA Team: Olivia Kinet
  • Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal: Caty Clements, Jessie Jacob, Lauren Miller, Elizabeth Scherer, Morgan Thomsen, Kirsten Whitaker
  • Academic All-Big 12 First Team: Caty Clements, Kelsie Fiss, Jenni Hartzler, Andrea Joyce, Sarah Lasini, Abbey Lozenski, Jessica Miller, Elizabeth Scherer, Emily Starr, Emma Umbarger
  • Academic All-Big 12 Second Team: Julia Alvey, Caity Decker, Brooke Thuston, Cheyenne Verdoorn

Kansas kicked off the 2012 fall season Sept. 28-30 against a loaded field at the Head of the Oklahoma Invitational. Kansas raced against three top-20 programs in No. 9 Stanford, No. 18 Clemson and No. 19 Oklahoma. The Jayhawks sent three boats to the Varsity Eight Petite Final and enjoyed fourth, fifth and sixth-place finishes, respectively. Kansas’ First Varsity Eight qualified for the Grand Finals and finished in fifth place.

The Kansas rowers concluded their fall season at the Head of the Hooch Invitational in Chattanooga, Tenn. The First Varsity Eight started with a ninth-place finish in the 5,000 meter race (normally 2,000 meters). The best performance of the day came in the Novice Eight when KU placed fourth and 11th in a race that featured over 50 boats. Rowing for KU were junior Emily Scheck and freshmen Jackie Adamle, Morgan Thomsen, Kelsey Dick, Brittany Simek, Clarissa Holt-Bates, Genevieve Humphrey and Lauren Miller. KU placed ninth and 11th, respectively, in the Varsity Four. On the final day, Kansas competed in both the Open Eight and
the Open Quad. The Jayhawks’ top finisher in the Open Eight placed 11th, while two boats finished in the top five in the Open Quad race.

The 2013 spring season began with a trip back to Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Invite. KU recorded six first-place finishes on the first day, exactly half of the total number of races. Kansas defeated Central Oklahoma and Kansas State on day one. The Jayhawks were not as fortunate on day two as the Oklahoma Sooners swept all six races. Oklahoma would go on to win the Big 12 Championship later in the season.

KU was looking to bounce back as it travelled to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the Louisville Invite. The Jayhawks quickly found their groove on the first day as they came away with nine victories out of 13 total races. This was a tremendous victory for the Jayhawks as they knocked off regional and national powers, Duke and Notre Dame. The Jayhawks maintained their aggressive mindset on day two and stole another four victories out of seven possible races. All together, Kansas won 14 races out of the 20 possible.

Coming off an impressive slew of early season victories, the Jayhawks were ready for their annual Sunflower Showdown with Kansas State. The 2013 matchup between the in-state rivals went down as one of the closest in the programs’ history. The day began with a down-to-the-wire finish in the First Varsity Eight as the Wildcats won the race by less than two seconds. Kansas’ Second Varsity Eight achieved its best time of the season, winning in 7:06.0. The Wildcats ultimately won the Sunflower Showdown over the Jayhawks to claim bragging rights until the 2014 season.

Next up for KU was a trip to Bloomington, Ind., to take on the University of Indiana and the Georgetown Hoyas in a single-day event. Kansas wasted no time regaining its form as the Jayhawks surged to four victories in six races. Kansas’ Second Varsity Four dominated as the boat won by more than 17 seconds. The Jayhawks’ Second Varsity Eight posted their fourth-straight victory in dominant-fashion, winning by seven seconds.

Kansas looked to continue to build off all of its early-season successes as the Jayhawks travelled to Cherry Hill, N.J., as one of over 60 schools to compete in the Knecht Cup. The first day of races are used as a qualifier for the finals; the Jayhawks advanced four boats to the Grand Finals, and two more to the Petite Finals. The Jayhawks dominated ‘the fours’ as both the First Varsity Four and the Second Varsity Four brought home gold medals. The Second Varsity Four “B” finished third in the Grand Final, while the Second Varsity Eight’s six-race winning streak was snapped by less than one second.

The Jayhawks had one final chance for improvement at the Lake Natoma Invite in Sacramento, Calif. before competing in the conference championships. Kansas faced an uphill battle going up against four teams ranked in the top 20. During the early session on the first day, KU rowed against top-ranked Southern California as well as No. 12 Notre Dame. The speed of the national powers proved too much as the Jayhawks finished third in every race. The evening session was just as difficult as Kansas was matched up against No. 9 Stanford and No. 17 Washington State. KU bounced back on day two by winning two of the races against Sacramento State and C-USA rival, Tulsa. The Varsity Four race saw the Jayhawks post a time of 7:43.0, their best of the season.

Kansas had a short trip down I-70 as the Jayhawks hosted the Big 12 Rowing Championships in Kansas City, Kan. The Jayhawks were eager to get back on the water and apply what they learned after facing such stiff competition at the Lake Natoma Invite. KU’s Fourth Varsity Eight posted a time of 6:41.72, which secured a first-place finish. Kansas defeated Texas in the Second Varsity Eight race with a 6:41.14 mark. The Jayhawks’ third-place finish at the Big 12 Championships represented an improvement from last season in which they tied for third. KU landed three rowers on the All-Big 12 team: senior Olivia Kinet (First Team) and juniors Alex Torquemada and Elizabeth Scherer (Second Team.)

The Conference USA (C-USA) Rowing Championships in Indianapolis, Ind., was the last guaranteed stop of the season for the Kansas rowers. The Jayhawks knew they needed their best performance of the season in hopes of securing a bid to the NCAA Championships. KU came out sharp as it used the morning session to qualify every single boat for the Grand Finals event later that afternoon. The Jayhawks tallied a multitude of third and fourth-place finishes, which earned them fourth-place overall at the C-USA Championships.

With all of the extraordinary gains the Jayhawks made this season, they still fell short of their goal of earning a bid to the NCAA Championships. Despite not earning a bid, Kansas’ improvements in team depth, skill and maturity will have them primed and ready to achieve that goal in 2013-2014.

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