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Team Awards Handed Out at Annual Banquet
May 07, 2014

NORMAN, Okla. – Fresh off its second consecutive Big 12 title, the Oklahoma rowing team hosted its annual team awards banquet.

As voted by the team, Rachel Cantrell and Laura Combs were both named Most Inspirational among varsity members. Cantrell and Combs have both served as captains this season and were both members of the Big 12 champion second varsity eight, with Cantrell in the seven seat and Combs as stroke seat. Combs was named to the All-Big 12 Second Team while both rowers have earned multiple conference academic awards.

Head Coach Leeanne Crain Quote: “Laura and Rachel have provided great leadership in their roles as team captains this season, so it’s no surprise that the team voted them most inspirational. Both are driven and passionate about the success of the team, while also being very approachable. This unique combination of personality traits has allowed them to lead the team by the example they set every day in practice. “ 

Senior Marilyn Kozlowski was voted by her teammates as the varsity’s Most Valuable. Kozlowski, an All-Big 12 First Team selection also was awarded the Big 12 Gerald Lage Academic Achievement Award for outstanding work in the classroom. The seven seat for the Big 12 champion 1V8, Kozlowski is a native of Norman and attended Norman High.

Coach Crain Quote: “Marilyn is one of the hardest workers on the team.  She possesses an incredible work ethic be it in the classroom, in the erg room, weight room, or on the water. She has been a great inspiration to her teammates over the course of her four years at OU because she pushes her limits every single day.”

The Crimson Hammer Award, given to the athlete with the fastest 2K erg time on the team, went to Big 12 Rower of the Year Kristin Clift. The senior set an all-time OU program best with a time of 7:07.0. In her third year of rowing in OU’s 1V8 boat, Clift started her Sooner career as a walk-on and, as her career comes to a close, she has been a key member of a boat that has won the Big 12’s 1V8 title three consecutive years. At the Big 12 Championship last Saturday, Clift was named All-Big 12 First Team for the second consecutive year. Clift is also a CRCA Scholar-Athlete, Academic All-Big 12 First Team and Conference USA Academic Honor Roll honoree.

Coach Crain Quote:
“Starting as an out-of-sport walk-on, Kristin quickly became an invaluable member of the team and has spent the past three seasons in our top boat.  She has set a new standard for excellence at OU.”

The team’s Scholar-Athlete Award was given to Kim Moldenhauer. The junior from Bremen, Germany, not only is a double major in finance and entrepreneurship venture management, she also holds a 4.0 GPA. Moldenhauer was named an Elite 89 Award winner last season, given to the participant at the NCAA Championship with the highest GPA. She is the first student-athlete at Oklahoma to ever earn the award. Moldenhauer was also a member of the first varsity eight that won the Big 12 Championship last Saturday and was named All-Big 12 Second Team.

Coach Crain Quote: “Kim embodies the term ‘student-athlete.’  She is OU’s only recipient of the NCAA’s Elite 89 Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in academics and athletics. She has been a member of the first varsity eight for two seasons, has won two Big 12 titles, and continues to excel in the classroom and on the water. She has a perfect 4.0 GPA, majoring in finance and entrepreneurship venture management which is indeed impressive.”

The Most Inspirational award as voted on by the novices was given to Shelby Sarantakos. A native of Norman, Okla., Sarantakos was the stroke seat for the 4V8 at the Big 12 Championship that finished third. She also rode with the novice eight that defeated No. 1 Cal and No. 4 USC at the Lake Natoma Invitational and the fourth varsity eight that won races against Kansas State and Texas at the Longhorn Invitational.

Novice Coach Emma Gresson: “Shelby has been such a supportive teammate to the novice rowers this year. Not only does she reach out to everyone on a personal basis but she has overcome injury and set an example for how to push through. ”

Hallie Robertson was named the novice’s Most Valuable by her teammates after most recently helping the OU third varsity eight in the three seat win its race at the Big 12 Championship. A C-USA Academic Medal and Honor Roll awardee, Robertson was a member of the novice eight that defeated No. 1 Cal and No. 4 USC at the Lake Natoma Invitational and of the 3V8 that won races against Kansas State, UCF and Texas at the Longhorn Invitational.

Coach Gresson: “Hallie has really stepped up into the role of novice captain this season. Not only is Hallie one of our top novices on the erg, she brings a positive energy to every lineup she’s in and helps to bring out the best in in her teammates. She believes in her teammates just as much as she believes in herself and has been a huge part of the success of this year’s novice team.”

The Outstanding Freshman Award was given to both Taylor Spencer and Maegan Neihart. Spencer recently was awarded a Jay Myers Award by the OU athletics department as a freshman student-athlete who best combines excellence in scholarship with potential excellence in athletics. She competed in the third varsity eight that won a Big 12 title.

Neihart is a C-USA Academic Medal and Honor Roll awardee who rowed with the first varsity four at the Big 12 Championship. She joined Robertson and Spencer as members of the novice eight that defeated No. 1 Cal and No. 4 USC at the Lake Natoma Invitational as well as the 3V8 crew that won races against Kansas State, UCF and Texas at the Longhorn Invitational.

Coach Gresson: “Taylor and Maegan have played a pivotal role in taking our program to the next level. Their work ethic, desire and discipline are unmatched. As freshmen, they have already placed themselves among our fastest athletes. I am excited to watch their talent develop over the next three years and believe they will continue to help the team achieve even higher goals.”

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