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No. 2 Rowing preview: Big 12 Championships


AUSTIN, Texas – No. 2 Rowing will host the Big 12 Championship on Lake Walter E. Long with racing slated to take place on Sunday morning. Due to the threat of inclement weather over the weekend, the day and start times of the races are subject to change.

Texas is the seven-time defending Big 12 Conference champion and has won 11 of the 13 Big 12 Conference Championships, placing runner-up in 2013 and fourth in 2014. The championship regatta will include Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia and conference affiliates RV Tennessee and RV Alabama.

When: Sunday, May 14 at 9:00 a.m. CT

Where: Lake Walter E. Long, Austin, Texas (Free Admission)

Who: RV Tennessee, RV Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, West Virginia

Watch: Big 12 Now on ESPN+

Results: Available at HereNow.

Texas Rowing Fact Book

Tentative Race Schedule

Sunday, May 14

9:00 a.m. CT – III Four (Exhibition)

9:15 a.m. CT – III Eight

9:30 a.m. CT – II Four

9:45 a.m. CT – I Four
10:00 a.m. CT – II Eight

10:15 a.m. CT – I Eight
11:00 a.m. CT – Award Ceremony

Scoring for Big 12 Championship

Race                1st       2nd      3rd      4th       5th       6th       7th

First Eight        42        36        30        24        18        12        6

Second Eight   28        24        20        16        12        8          4

First Four         14        12        10        8          6          4          2

Second Four    7          6          5          4          3          2          1

Third Eight       7          6          5          4          3          2          1

Big 12 Championship History

Texas has won seven consecutive Big 12 titles and 11 of the 13 Big 12 Championship regattas overall. The Longhorns swept all grand finals races at the last seven Big 12 Championships. In all, Texas has swept the regatta nine times and is the only program to sweep the Big 12 Championship.

The Big 12 Championship began as a three-team regatta in 2009 (Texas, Kansas and Kansas State) before expanding to four teams with the addition of Oklahoma in 2010.  The championship grew to five schools with the league’s addition of West Virginia in 2013.

In January 2014, the Big 12 Conference announced invitations to Alabama and Tennessee to compete at the Big 12 Championships beginning in 2015. While all seven participating schools are eligible to win the NCAA automatic-qualifying bid, only Texas, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia can win the Big 12 team title.

Last Time Out
Texas closed out the regular season with a four-race sweep at No. 10 Virginia at the Rivanna Reservoir in Earlysville, Va. Racing was highlighted by Texas’ II Four that registered a dominating victory following a restart of their race, winning by almost 20 seconds. The Longhorns crossed the line in 7:18.60 followed by UVA in 7:38.40. The win occurred after the boats had to restart; called back when they were at the midway point of their initial race.

East Coast Swing

The Longhorns posted a trio of top-two results on Saturday including a victory by the II Four in a double dual versus No. 3 Yale and No. 4 Princeton on Lake Carnegie in New Jersey. The I Eight and I Four placed second to Princeton, while the II Eight finished third.

Defending Home Water

In the second race weekend of the season, Texas topped No. 11 Michigan in four races, sweeping the Wolverines at home on Lady Bird Lake. It was the first time in seven years that the Longhorns raced on Lady Bird Lake and marked the third-straight year in which the Longhorns and Wolverines squared off head-to-head in a regular-season contest and the second four-race sweep.

Starting Strong
Texas opened the season with a weekend sweep of eight races, including four grand finals, at the prestigious San Diego Crew Classic to retain their title in the Women’s Collegiate Varsity Jessop-Whittier Cup Invitational and collect the Women’s Collegiate 2V Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy, Women’s Collegiate Varsity 4+ Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup and Women’s Open Carley Copley Cup for the second-straight year.

A Look at the Longhorns

The defending two-time national champion and seven-time defending Big 12 Conference champion Longhorns return three student-athletes who earned CRCA All-American recognition following last year’s title run. Rowers Kaitlin Knifton and Anna Jensen and coxswain Rachel Rane lead the way for Texas. All three were integral members of the Texas First Eight that crusied to victory over Stanford in at the NCAA Championships Grand Final to capture the second title in program history.

Additionally, 2022 Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Year Grace Holland, who helped the Longhorns Second Eight to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, will be in the fold for Texas this season.

All told, 16 of the 20 rowers and all three coxswains who competed in the 2022 National Championship regatta are back.

Also returning from last year’s champion First Eight boat are Etta Carpender, Susanna Temming and Sophia Calabrese, while returners from the Second Eight crew will be rowers Hannah Medcalf, Amber Harwood, Lanie Nitsch, Parker Illingworth, Marielle Corbett and Cassandre Korvink-Kucinski and coxswain Olivia Fogarty. Back from the Four is coxswain Carly Legenzowski and rowers Jane McGee, Nadja Yaroschuk and Marlowe Eldridge.

Conference Honors
The Texas I Eight earned Big 12 Conference Boat of the Week honors following the dominant victory Michigan, winning with a time of 6:10.738 to top the Wolverines, who crossed the line in 6:21.922.

The win helped complete a Longhorn sweep of four races over the Wolverines in UT’s first home race on Lady Bird Lake in seven years.

Texas’ I Eight featured senior coxswain Rachel Rane, as well as graduate student Kaitlin Knifton, fifth-year Susanna Temming, junior Anna Jensen, senior Etta Carpender, senior Sophia Calabrese, junior Samantha Schalk, graduate student, Kelsey McGinley and junior Amber Harwood.

The victory extended the Texas I Eight’s unbeaten streak to 22 consecutive races with a head-to-head record of 76-0 within those races since the streak began at the start of the 2021 season. The mark includes a 54-0 record against teams ranked in the CRCA Top 20.

2022 U23 World Rowing Championships
Knifton, Jensen and Rane each competed for USRowing at the 2022 U23 World Rowing Championships last summer. Knifton and Jensen won gold in the Women’s Four, which was comprised entirely of Longhorns, while Rane coxed Team USA’s Women’s Eight (BW8+) that was also crewed by Lanie Nitsch to victory. Additionally, Hannah Medcalf earned silver with Great Britain in the Women’s Eight.

Also competing for Team USA at world’s was Sophia Calabrese, who helped the Women’s Quadruple Sculls to a sixth-place finish, and Sue Holderness, who placed eighth overall in the Women’s Pair.

Marg van der Wal competed in the Women’s Double Skulls for The Netherlands, helping the Dutch to a victory in the B final.

National Recognition
In 2022, Kate Knifton was recognized as the USRowing U23 Co-Female Athlete of the Year. It marked the second time a Longhorn was receive national team accolades, joining Texas Ex Fran Raggi, who was honored as the 2018 USRowing U19 Female Athlete of the Year.

Head coach Dave O’Neill was named the 2022 USRowing Man of the Year, given in recognition of outstanding contributions to men’s rowing and/or to an outstanding man in rowing. Additionally, O’Neill, the record five-time CRCA Coach of the Year honoree, was also tabbed Rowing News’ Coach of the Year.

Texas in the Polls

Texas holds the No. 2 ranking in the 2023 Pocock Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Rowing Polls. The Longhorns have held the top spot in the rankings for 15 consecutive polls.

Stanford, the runner-up at each of the last two national regattas, is ranked second, while Yale, Princeton and Brown round out the top five.

Pocock CRCA Coaches Poll Division Rankings – Week 6 (May 3)

1. Princeton (18)


3. Yale

4. Stanford (1)

5. Brown

6. Washington

7. California

8. Pennsylvania

9. Virginia

10. Syracuse

11. Michigan

12. SMU

13. Ohio State

14. Duke

15. Indiana

16. Rutgers

17. Harvard

18. Iowa

19. Oregon State

20. Columbia

Championship Pedigree

Texas has registered top-eight results in each of the last seven NCAA Championship Regattas with program-best results in six, including each of the last five:

2022 – National Champion
2021 – National Champion

2020 – No regatta

2019 – 2nd

2018 – 3rd

2017 – 4th

2016 – 8th

2015 – 7th

Defending Champions

Texas entered 2022 as the seven-time defending Big 12 Conference Champions. In all, Texas has won 11 of the 13 Big 12 Conference Championships held, placing runner-up in 2013 and fourth in 2014.

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