Rowing brings home hardware at SIRA Championships

The 2v8 boat rows during the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas on May 1, 2021, at Wyandotte County Lake. (Archive photo by Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

After a quick turnaround trip to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships, the Kansas State rowing team came back to Manhattan with some hardware.

The Wildcat 2v4+ race on day one — with a crew consisting of coxswain Sarah Schrage, Gracyn McClain, Madelyn Barrett, Jayden Brandt and Annika Senn — finished with the second-fastest time out of 19 other competitors. For finals on day two, the crew came in second, earning a silver medal.

“Today was our boats’ first medal of the season, but more than that, we made a lot of progress as a unit,” McClain said to K-State Athletics. “Winning a medal was great, but being able to feel the progress and power in the boat was even better.”

The 3v8+ freshmen crew — consisting of coxswain Paige Fox, Neva Roenne, Jordan Girkin, Grace Hendrickson, Kendra Hamman, Chloe Daniels, Faith Gates, Emily Stark and Halle Fee — made a push on the second day for a first-place finish, bringing home the Wildcats’ first gold medal.

“We started off the docks slightly behind other crews but quickly walked through them, taking seats one at a time as Paige Fox, our coxswain, was calling them out and giving us goals for the next seat to take,” Hamman said to K-State Athletics. “As we walked through the other boats and gained open water, there was so much excitement through the boat. We knew we wanted to keep fighting to win by as much as possible.”

The 1v4+ race — with coxswain Sydney Smith at the head and sophomores Lindsey DeVreugd and Alyssa Buettner and freshmen Anita Eckhardt and Catie Wood as the rowers — finished second in their semifinal heat. The team pulled it together for the finals, finishing first to bring the Wildcats’ gold medal tally count to two.

“There was some serious competition from Wisconsin coming out of our start. For the first 750 meters, we were down on every boat except for maybe one. But coming into the 1,000, we got sharper and quicker, and just more together, so we were able to make some solid pushes into medaling territory,” DeVreugd said to K-State Athletics. “Coming in the last 500, [Sydney] Smith called for us to get quicker and we started our finish pretty soon after that. I felt like this was one of our most together finishes where we built off the previous strokes. The speed behind the boat for the last 250 was solid and I could tell we pushed together to win.”

The 1v8+ race — with coxswain Lauren Plum and rowers, juniors Elizabeth Mummert, Madison Jensen, Megan Michaelis and Maya Morrow, sophomores Idallis Shaffer and Jadyn Greisen and freshmen Rachel Harman and Madison Koller — smoked the competition finishing first, bringing home the third gold medal.

In the same race, the 2v8+ team — coxswain Kelsey Ladlie and rowers, juniors Ellie Hahn and Kate Odgers, sophomores Lauren Walker, Kaylee Kleinschmit, Patricia Hokanson and Jessica Schenk and freshmen Anna Ryan and Symone Simmons — finished sixth in the finals.

“During the finals race, we went in unsure of how we would compare to the other boats we were up against. Our boat had a strong start and worked our way up each boat, stroke by stroke until we had the lead,” Plum said to K-State Athletics. “Even though we had open water on all other boats around the 1,500-meter mark, the girls in my boat finished the race the same way they started it and responded to my calls together.”

The rowing team turns its attention to the Creighton Dual on Saturday, April 23 in Omaha, Nebraska.