Texas Rowing continues strong season at Longhorn Invitational

Riley Glenn

The No. 2-ranked Texas rowing team took care of business at the Longhorn Invitational this weekend as they hosted a plethora of schools, accumulating victories in five races.

The 20th installment of the Invitational saw schools such as SMU, Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Central Oklahoma competing alongside the Longhorns at Walter E. Long Lake in Austin.

Prior to the event, Texas head coach Dave O’Neill said he was excited to see his team on the water due to the improvements made over the past couple of weeks. The Longhorns proved him right from the get-go.

Texas saw six of its boats advance from the morning preliminary session into the second session. The display was even more impressive when considering both SMU and Alabama are currently ranked inside the top 15, according to the Pocock/CRCA Poll.

“I’m really impressed with the way all of the crews handled the racing, especially the first eight,” O’Neill said. “We worked on a few things the last couple days, and they took a big step forward. It was also great to see so many of our boats and team members race very well and come together as a team.”

In the second session, the Texas I Eight, II Eight, III Eight A and I Four all won their races with relative ease, as each of the boats won their race by more than 10 seconds. The II Four saw Texas A finish first with a time of 7:09.16, with Texas B trailing by a second at 7:10.22.

Texas I Eight, led by Olivia Fogarty, Kaitlin Knifton, Francesca Raggi, Alexandra Watson, Aspa Christodoulidis, Daisy Mazzio-Manson, Anna Jensen and Lisa Gutfleisch, won with a time of 6:10.43, outpacing an SMU squad that placed second with a time of 6:21.75.

Texas II Eight, consisting of Grace Goodell, Hannah Medcalf, Amber Harwood, Alexa McAuliffe, Izabela Krakic, Parker Illingworth, Samantha Schalk, Susanna Temming and Maria Valencia, also defeated a second-place SMU crew with a time of 6:18.15 compared to the Mustangs’ 6:30.41.

Texas I Four, ushered by Rachel Rane, Kathia Nitsch, Cassandre Korvink-Kucinski, Marlowe Eldridge and Claudia Destefani, took down Alabama with a time of 6:58.32. Alabama finished in second place a whopping 13 seconds later with a time of 7:11.32.

Texas III Eight A, led by Ava Craycroft, Marissa Murray, Fernanda Ceballos Lara, Rosemarie Marsala, Kaitlin Porter, Maxine Parr, Mari Daly, McKayla Cothern and Mackenzie Jensen, won the race with a time of 6:38.37. SMU finished in second place with a time of 6:54.53.

Overall, O’Neill was pleased with his team’s performance despite some unfavorable weather conditions in Austin on Saturday.

“Hosting an event like this always presents extra work for our staff, and the wind created some additional challenges,” O’Neill said. “Everyone stepped up and made it work, and I am grateful for their efforts.”

The Longhorns will look to continue their strong season on May 2 when they travel to Earlysville, Virginia, to face No. 3-ranked Virginia.