Oklahoma's Nicole Furmanek named Conference USA Athlete of the Year.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The Oklahoma rowing program took third at the Conference USA Women’s Rowing Championships Saturday in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Sooners finished the day with 42 points as Tennessee won the event with 53 points and Texas claimed second with 44 points. Oklahoma senior Nicole Furmanek was named Conference USA Athlete of the Year following the day’s competition.
Furmanek was also named MVP of the 2011-12 Sooner team and has been a member of the First Varsity 8 boat for three seasons, including this year’s team that won two C-USA Boat of the Week honors. She was a two-time selection to the C-USA All-Academic Team, while also earning a spot on the Commissioner’s Honor Roll and winning a C-USA Academic medal.
Furmanek was joined on the all-conference squad by teammate Rebecca Staff, a three-time all-conference selection.
Two of Oklahoma’s three scoring boats recorded top-three finishes led by the first varsity eight boat that took second in the day’s final event to give the Sooners 24 team points. The boat posted its fastest time of the season, 6:49.39, as it finished second behind Tennessee who crossed the line in a time of 6:45.80.
The second varsity eight finished third in its race to pick up 14 team points with a time of 7:02.79 behind Tennessee (6:52.40) and Texas (6:59.54). Oklahoma’s varsity four rounded out the scoring for the Sooners with four points from finishing sixth with a time of of 8:02.52. Kansas won the event with a time of 7:35.50.
Oklahoma’s novice eight won its division on Saturday with a time of 7:04.90, edging Tennessee (7:09.32) and Texas (7:10.38). The day of competition opened with the grand final of the open four in which OU took third with a time of 7:58.43 behind boats from Tennessee (7:46.90) and Texas (7:50.21).
The morning began with all five of Oklahoma’s boats advancing to the grand final for the second year in a row. The varsity eight opened competition coming in first with a time of 6:49.10 ahead of SMU, Tulsa, UCF and Kansas in its heat while the second varsity eight finished second with a time of 7:03.16 ahead of Tulsa and Kansas State.
The varsity four finished its heat against SMU, Oklahoma, Tennessee, UCF and Kansas State with a time of 7:51.18 while the novice eight finished second its heat against UCF, Tennessee and Alabama with a time of 7:13.60.
The varsity open four closed the preliminary heats for the Sooners finishing second against Tulsa and Tennessee its heat with a time of 7:51.57.
The meet was the final meet of the 2012 regular season for the Sooners as selections to the NCAA Rowing Championship will be announced on Tuesday.