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Kansas Rowing’s First Eight Earns Big 12 Boat of the Week Honors


IRVING, Texas ( – Kansas Rowing’s First Varsity Eight was named the Big 12 Boat of the Week, the conference announced Wednesday. The Jayhawks earned this recognition after dominating Kansas State in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on May 4.

“I’m excited for the growth of this boat in their racing execution,” Kansas coach Carrie Cook-Callen said. “We have been able to identify areas to focus on and, each time out, have been able to make positive strides in that space. They have become less of a group of individuals and more of a unified boat this spring.”

The 1V8 featured junior coxswain Audrey Owens, as well as junior Emma Wistuba, junior Amber Cayci, sophomore Katia Ustiuzhanina, freshman Gracie Shepherd, sophomore Kara Lyons, junior Ava Black, sophomore Aylin Schafer, and junior Karly Larson.

In the 2,000-meter race held at Wyandotte County Lake in Kansas City, Kansas, KU’s first varsity eight dominated its rival race against Kansas State, finishing with a time of 6:49.55 compared to KSU’s 6:54.06. The Jayhawks came off the line with good speed to get an early jump on the field. The team also showed strong initial speed and effectively maintained its base rate, which pulled KU far ahead and allowed the team to finish with open water.

KU’s win in the varsity eight race was the catalyst to the Jayhawks’ regaining the Dillons Sunflower Showdown trophy. Kansas defeated Kansas State 17-5 to claim the trophy for the third time in the past four seasons.

This is the first time this season that Kansas has been selected for the Big 12’s weekly honor and it’s the first for a Jayhawk boat since the First Varsity Eight earned the recognition on April 7, 2021.

Kansas Rowing will next head to Sarasota, Florida, to compete in the Big 12 Championship on Sunday, May 19.