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Spring Season Begins Saturday
March 19, 2014

NORMAN, Okla. -- After months of training since its last fall regatta in November, the Oklahoma rowing team is ready to kick off the spring season at the Longhorn Invitational on Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, beginning Saturday.

Coming off a 2013 season that saw OU claim its first Big 12 and Conference USA titles, an NCAA postseason berth and a program-best No. 17 final national ranking, the Sooners hope to use the Longhorn as a springboard to more success in 2014.

"The team has been pretty focused throughout the winter training, but I know everyone is anxious to get out on the race course and put our training to the test," said OU head coach Leeanne Crain. "We'll face some very good teams this weekend, which should give us some idea of where we stack up in the early season."

Oklahoma is the defending Longhorn Invitational champion after soundly defeating Texas on the final day of competition last year. The Longhorn features two-lane, head-to-head racing on a 2,000-meter course and includes a scoring system used to crown an overall team champion. The regatta also features Canisius, Kansas State, San Diego, Texas, Tulsa, UCF and Yale.

"More than anything we just need to focus on the things we can control and not get too wrapped up in external factors that don't play any significant role in our performance," said Crain, the 2013 Coach of the Year in both the Big and C-USA. "We need to continue to work on finding rhythm in the lineups we've set for the weekend and also make adjustments as we go so we can maximize our collective potential."

The Sooners will first compete against Kansas State in six races starting at 8:50 a.m. CT on Saturday with the fourth varsity eight. The head-to-head matchups will conclude with the first varsity eight race at 9:40 a.m.

Based on the results against the Wildcats, OU will race again Saturday evening starting some time between 4 and 7 p.m. The final day of competition will begin Sunday morning at 8 a.m. with racing based on the progression of results from Saturday matchups and points awarded for first- and second-place finishes in the first varsity eight, second varsity eight, first varsity four and second varsity four races.

Oklahoma returns three All-Big 12 honorees to this year's squad, including senior Kristin Clift, junior Kellie O'Reilly and junior Emmie Preskitt in addition to sophomore Taylor Gillespie, the 2013 C-USA Newcomer of the Year.

"We've got good leadership from our upperclassmen, but we also have a handful of freshmen who have stepped up in key positions for us," Crain continued. "[Freshmen] Maddie Wullschleger and Natalie Grimes will be racing in stroke and seven seat of the first varsity eight. When we made that change last week the boat responded well so we stuck with it."

For results throughout the day, fans can follow @OU_Rowing on Twitter. A recap of day one, along with complete results, will be available Saturday night at SoonerSports.com.

Tentative lineups for Saturday morning are below.

First Varsity 8
Rower  
Position
Jessica Hogan
C
Maddie Wullschleger
S
Natalie Grimes
7
Kristin Clift
6
Emmie Preskitt
5
Marilyn Kozlowski
4
Kellie O'Reilly
3
Kim Moldenhauer
2
Reagan Collins
1
First Varsity 4
Rower  
Position
Nicasia D'Allesandro
C
Megan Quinn
S
Daisy Beals
3
Hannah Kloppenburg
2
Callie Kinsey
1
Third Varsity 8
Rower  
Position
Lindsey McClure
C
Maegan Neihart
S
Belle Stixrood
7
Stephanie Busse
6
Hallie Robertson
5
Anna Trammell
4
Taylor Spencer
3
Cassie Preskitt
2
Markayla Adam
1
Second Varsity 8
Rower  
Position
Ashley Carpenter
C
Heather Morris
S
Marissa Beene
7
Laura Combs
6
Taylor Gillespie
5
Jenny O'Grady
4
Victoria Wallace
3
Abbie Seremek
2
Rachel Cantrell
1
Second Varsity 4
Rower  
Position
Ashley Middaugh
C
Angela Thompson-Butler
S
Megan Szukala
3
Jennifer Franklin
2
Allison Kwiecinski
1
Fourth Varsity 8
Rower  
Position
Jade Nelson
C
Victoria Baker
S
Stephanie Tapke
7
Shelby Sarantakos
6
Megan Rolke
5
Erin Yeo
4
Jalyn Yeakley
3
Christianna Isaacs
2
Elizabeth Vernon
1
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