Lever, Kansas Rowing to Conclude Fall Season at Head of the Hooch

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas rowing team will travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., to conclude the 2013 fall season at the Head of the Hooch Nov. 2-3. Although the fall season is more relaxed than the spring season, Claudijah Lever knows the importance of performing well, regardless of the stakes.

Lever, a junior from Milwaukee, Wis., is attending the Head of the Hooch for only the second time in her career. In 2012-13, she was a member of the Third Varsity Eight Boat and did not qualify to travel with the team as a freshman. This weekend, her transformation to an elite rower has come full circle as she will be competing as a member of the First Varsity Eight.

“I wanted to be a better rower than I was showing every day in practice,” Lever said. “I knew I had it in me to accomplish that goal.”

Lever’s improvement over the past year cannot, and should not, be understated. It took a lot of hard work and maneuvering through a vigorous schedule that includes 20 weekly hours of rowing practice, 15 credit hours in school and an additional 20 hours of working two jobs per week.

Her motivation to work even harder to achieve greater success in rowing came from a familiar face, a little bit closer to home.

“My dad, Claude, was pushing me to work out every morning when I was back home,” Lever said. “He would wake me up at 8 a.m. to do ergometer work, to go on a timed run, to ride a bike or go to the gym and lift weights. He pushed me to do better in high school sports, and he is definitely a big reason that I came back so strong and prepared for this season.”

That inherited work ethic has paid off so far in 2013 as Lever and the First Varsity Eight earned a first-place finish at the Jayhawk Jamboree in Lawrence, and were runner-ups at the Head of the Oklahoma in early October.

The Kansas coaching staff has recognized the hard work Lever put in to make not only herself better, but the team as well.

“I am pleased with how Claudijah has progressed,” head coach Rob Catloth said. “Her dedication and determination to become a better rower helped put her in a position to compete at a higher level. She has really stepped up and help make us a better team.”

The Head of the Hooch will host numerous schools and club teams from around the country and will feature over 2,500 boats over the course of the weekend. All head races are scored using a time-trial format, similar to the Tour de France. Other schools participating include: Alabama, Central Florida, Eastern Michigan, Miami, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Old Dominion, SMU, Tennessee, Texas and Tulsa. Boats will begin from the starting line and will be released approximately 15 seconds apart from each other.

The festivities will kick off Saturday, Nov. 2 with a full day’s schedule, and will conclude Sunday with a half day of racing.

The Jayhawks will next travel to Tampa, Fla., Jan. 9-19, 2014, for their annual winter training trip, featuring 42 rowers and all coxswains. The Jayhawks will begin their spring season at the Louisville Invite, March 15-16.

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