Kansas Rowing Adds Nine Spring Commitments to 2013-14 Roster

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Head coach Rob Catloth announced the addition of nine rowers to the 2013-14 Kansas rowing roster, including a cross country and track state champion, and a rowing state champion.

The 2013-14 spring class is comprised mostly of Kansans, but also included additions from Colorado, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina. These commitments seek to continue the Jayhawks’ consistently improving ascent in the Conference USA rankings. The entire 2013-14 recruiting class consists of: Brianna Anderson (Lawrence, Kan.), Kimberlee Blusher (Asheville, N.C.), Sienna Durr (Baldwin City, Kan.), Sarah Elstien (Kinnelon, N.J.), Laura Foster (Golden, Colo.), Danielle Gibson (Orlando, Fla.), Mallory Miller (Pleasant Hill, Mo.), Kenzie Obrochta (Buffalo, N.Y.) and  Morgan Pugh (Overland Park, Kan.).

“We feel like our spring commitments are the culmination to a great recruiting class as we now have 19 commitments. We feel like the strength and athleticism of our spring signees will meld well with the signees we had in the fall. We are looking for them to come in and elevate our program. Over the next four years, our hope is that these girls will help transcend our program to the next level as we continue to build off the success we had as a team this season,” said Catloth.

Brianna Anderson | 5-10 | Lawrence, Kan. | Lawrence HS

A multi-sport athlete at Lawrence High School, Brianna Anderson is excited for her opportunity to remain a hometown athlete. As a Chesty Lion, Anderson won the Lawrence High School Coaches Award for volleyball, and was a consistent starter on the women’s basketball team.

Anderson is also gifted in the classroom as she maintained a 3.8 GPA throughout her high school career, and was also a member of the National Honor Society for three years. She enrolled in multiple Advanced Placement (AP) classes prior to college in hopes of one day attending the University of Kansas Medical Center to pursue a career in nursing.

Kimberlee Blusher | 6-0 | Asheville, N.C. | Prairie Village HS

Blusher is joining the Kansas rowing team after playing two years of volleyball at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park. As a multi-sport competitor at Prairie Village High School, Blusher helped lead her volleyball team to one conference and two district championships, as well as an appearance at the state championship in 2007. She was tapped as the team MVP twice, while also garnering first and second team all-district awards in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

Blusher’s talents extend into the classroom as she was an honor award member throughout her high school career. When asked why she chose KU, Blusher replied, “Because I want the best education possible. ROCK CHALK!”

Sienna Durr | 5-2 | Baldwin City, Kan. | Baldwin HS

Durr joins the Jayhawks after a decorated career in both cross country and track and field. She helped Baldwin High School secure four-consecutive Frontier League Championships in cross country, while becoming a regional and state Champion for three of those seasons (2009-2011). In 2009, she was tapped as the cross country All-Area Runner of the Year. As a track athlete, Durr was a state champion in 2009 and 2010.

Sienna Durr’s family is filled with Jayhawks as her father, aunt and uncle, and both grandparents all attended KU. Her family helped guide her to success both on and off the track. In 2011, Durr was named to the Academic All-State Team, an award given to juniors and seniors that place in the top 30 at the state championships, while maintaining a 3.75 GPA or better.

Sarah Elstien | 5-11 | Kinnelon, N.J. | Kinnelon HS

Elstien’s recent commitment to Kansas comes on the heels of her indoor track and field career. She competed in the shot put at the USATF Indoor National Championships where she garnered honorable mention honors. Elstien was also a competitor at the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships in 2012. She was also a member of the North Jersey Rowing team in New Jersey.
Elstien boasts a strong background in academics as well. In 2013, she was an Academic Decathlon Regional Team Finalist. She received the National Financial Capability Challenge Award in 2012, which is awarded to anyone scoring in the top 20 percent of the challenge. Elstien plans to pursue a degree in Architecture.
Laura Foster | 5-10 | Golden, Colo. | Lakewood HS
Foster comes to KU after an accomplished swimming career in Colorado. Foster’s primary events were the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, and she holds the Lakewood High School record in both events. She was named All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2010 and 2011 and hopes to find similar success with her rowing career.
As a student, Foster was an academic letter winner for all four years. She was also a member of the National Honor Society. While at KU, Foster plans to major in community health.
Danielle Gibson | 5-8 | Orlando, Fla. | William R. Boone HS

Gibson was a member of the rowing team at William R. Boone High School in Orlando for four years, while receiving a varsity letter for three of those years. In 2010, she received the Most Improved Novice award, followed in 2011 by the Most Improved Varsity award. Additionally, she was named the varsity captain for both her junior and senior years. Gibson was also a member of the South Orlando Rowing Association.
Gibson has prior ties to KU as both of her parents attended the university. She plans to major in psychology because she likes the program’s academic reputation.
Mallory Miller | 5-1 | Pleasant Hill, Mo. | Pleasant Hill HS

Another multi-sport athlete, Miller was a four-time letter winner in track, while also receiving three letters in volleyball as well as three letters in basketball. As a member of the 2012 4×800 Track Relay Team at Pleasant Hill High School, Miller helped her team break the school’s relay record by 20 seconds. In volleyball and basketball, Miller was instrumental in winning three-consecutive conference championships for each respective team (2011-2013).
Miller was an outstanding student at Pleasant Hill. She received four Academic letters, was a three-time Academic All-Conference selection in both volleyball and basketball. She was also a member of the Superintendent’s Honor Roll all four years. Miller plans on pursuing a degree in speech pathology.
Kenzie Obrochta | 5-1 | Buffalo, N.Y. | Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart

Obrochta comes to Kansas as an established coxswain with good experience. She rowed and coxed for the West Side Rowing Club for all four years of high school. In 2011, Obrochta won the New York State Championship in the lightweight eight group, and qualified for the semifinals at the Junior Nationals Championship.
Morgan Pugh | 5-10 | Overland Park, Kan. | Blue Valley Northwest HS

Pugh comes to Kansas with some experience to offer as she was a member of the Kansas City Rowing Club. She also was a letter winner in volleyball while at Blue Valley Northwest High School. Pugh’s high school career is highlighted by numerous educational accolades, including being named an Eastern Kansas League (EKL) Scholar Athlete, a member of the school honor roll, as well as a member of the National Honor Society. Pugh has taken multiple Advanced Placement (AP) classes prior to enrolling at KU. She is undecided about her major.
These nine additions raise Kansas’ total number of commitments for the 2013-14 season to 19 student-athletes. The previous 10 committed back in December of 2012. Those rowers include: Kylee Dewey (Silver Lake, Kan.), Madi Hovis (St. Peters, Mo.), Maddie Irelan (Dublin, Ohio), Lexie Lanphere (Shorewood, Wis.), Olivia Loney  (Lawrence, Kan.), Emma O’Neill (St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada), Brittney Railsback  (Lenexa, Kan.), Emily Kay Ruble (Leavenworth, Kan.), Kat Young (Chesterfield, Mo.).