Texas rowing captures Big 12 Championship, advances to NCAA Championship

Noah Brooks

No. 8 Texas rowing claimed its second straight, and sixth overall, Big 12 Championship on Sunday with an all-around dominant performance over the weekend at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The Longhorns’ 11 first-place finishes over the tournament earned them an automatic bid to compete in the NCAA Championship for the second-straight year.

“Winning your conference is a big deal,” head coach Dave O’Neill said. “It means a lot to our kids and to our athletics department. We put a lot into it and we have quite the operation going.”

After winning every heat on Saturday, which ensured them the first lane placement in each Grand Final race, Texas completed the sweep on Sunday easily.

Sunday’s races got started with the Third Varsity Eight and the Second Varsity Four races, in which Texas posted times of 6:54.234 and 7:26.529, respectively. They beat Oklahoma in both races with margins of victory between 15 and 17 seconds.

The next three races, the First Varsity Four, the Second Varsity Eight, and the First Varsity 8 races, began the competition for the NCAA automatic-qualifier regattas.

Texas again handedly held off Oklahoma in the Second and First Varsity 8 races with times of 6:41.906 and 6:27.404 respectively. In the First Varsity 4, The Longhorns topped Alabama by 10 seconds with a 7:32.187 time.

Texas ended the tournament with 137 total points and 48 points in the NCAA automatic-qualifier races, with Oklahoma finishing second with 115 total points and Kansas rounding out third with 82 total points.

Texas will next head to California for the NCAA championships, where they will be up against top teams like Ohio State and Virginia —  teams the Longhorns have struggled with.  However, senior rower April Brown stressed that Texas has no plans to end their strong performance in the face of stiff competition.

“We’ll take all the momentum and carry it forward to California,” Brown said. “We want to make it clear that Texas is here to stay and that our rankings aren’t a mistake.”