PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY UTEXAS ATHLETICS
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IRVING, Texas – No. 2 Texas Rowing senior Kate Knifton was named the Big 12 Rower of the Year and head coach Dave O’Neill was selected as Big 12 Coach of the Year, the conference office announced on Wednesday.
The honors were selected by the league’s head coaches, who are not permitted to vote for their own institution.
Knifton is the seventh Longhorn to be honored as the Big 12 Rower of the Year. The Austin native has rowed at stroke-seat on the Texas I Eight in each of the last three seasons, winning two NCAA team championships and a pair of First Eight national crowns. This year, the two-time first-team All-American has guided Texas to victories in five of six races with a head-to-head mark of 19-1 in those races, including victories over eight ranked opponents. Last weekend, she led Texas to an eighth consecutive Big 12 crown, the fourth of her career, helping the Longhorns secure a number two seed for the NCAA Championships.
O’Neill was named Big 12 Coach of the Year for the third-straight year and the seventh time in eight seasons with the Longhorns. He led Texas to an eighth consecutive sweep in the Big 12 Championship. This season, the Longhorns swept their way to four boat trophies at the San Diego Crew Classic, swept head-to-head competitions at No. 10 Virginia and against No. 11 Michigan, and won three of four races versus No. 3 Yale.
The two-time defending national champion Longhorns will compete in the NCAA Championships at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, N.J. beginning Friday, May 26 through Sunday, May 28. Texas is looking to become the second program to win three consecutive national titles and the first since Ohio State accomplished the feat from 2013-15. The Longhorns have finished in the top-3 in each of the last four NCAA Championship regattas.
2023 Big 12 Conference Postseason Awards
Rower of the Year: Kaitlin Knifton, Texas
Newcomer of the Year: Katia Ustiuzhanina, Kansas
Coach of the Year: Dave O’Neill, Texas
Big 12 Rower of the Year (Texas All-Time)
2023 – Kaitlin Knifton
2022 – Francesca Raggi
2021 – Alex Watson
2019 – Milica Slijepcevic
2018 – Emily Froehlich
2017 – Gia Doonan
2015 – Gia Doonan
2012 – Laurel McCaig
Big 12 Coach of the Year (Texas All-Time)
2023 – Dave O’Neill
2022 – Dave O’Neill
2021 – Dave O’Neill
2018 – Dave O’Neill
2017 – Dave O’Neill
2016 – Dave O’Neill
2015 – Dave O’Neill
2012 – Carie Graves