With a new boathouse and dreams of winning a Big 12 Conference championship, the Kansas University rowing team is more excited than ever.
Last spring marked the first-ever Big 12 tournament for women’s rowing.
The Jayhawks placed third overall, behind Texas and Kansas State.
The championship tournament was inaugurated thanks to Oklahoma joining the league.
Kansas head coach Rob Catloth said due to last year’s first-hand experience, the team will have more motivation during the upcoming season.
“I think we are really going to make a push to get to the top of the Big 12,” Catloth said.
As if the Big 12 competition was not enough, the completion of a brand-new boathouse has been a dream come true for those associated with the program.
“It’s our first full year in the boathouse,” Catloth said. “It’s definitely going to make a big difference in the program. Just having the locker rooms made a big difference last spring.”
According to Catloth, the major benefits are in recruiting, team chemistry and attitude.
“We are really optimistic about the upcoming season,” Catloth said. “We showed a lot of depth last year, and we have really good women coming back.”
Among the top rowers returning are local women Lindsey Lawrence, a 5-foot-10 senior who graduated from Lawrence High, and Katie Beall, a 5-9 senior who graduated from Baldwin High.
Stacy Rachow, a 5-8 senior from Phillipsburg, joins Lawrence and Beall as three of the team’s leaders.
Catloth said it was hard to tell how the incoming class of recruits would influence the program.
“The freshmen are usually coming to us from other sports,” Catloth said. “The first year they are just learning the sport. We just wait and see how they progress.”
With new facilities and new motivation, it is likely to be a progressive season across the board.
“We have high hopes for all these girls,” Catloth said.
The rowing season does not start officially until after Labor Day weekend, with the first regatta on Oct. 3.
A short fall season, including a dual with K-State on Oct. 10 in Manhattan, preludes the spring season, which kicks off in March.