Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia have all garnered Big 12 postseason rowing awards, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. OU, winner of this year’s Big 12 Championship, led the way with two awards, taking Rower and Coach of the Year, while West Virginia took home Newcomer of the Year and Kansas nabbed the inaugural Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
Big 12 Rower of the Year
Nicole Furmanek, Oklahoma, Sr., First Varsity Eight, Five Seat
Furmanek was an integral part of Oklahoma’s first Big 12 Championship win. In the First Varsity Eight, OU took first with a time of 6:28.39, beating Texas by nearly three seconds. The senior was also part of the Sooner’s First Varsity Eight boat that won the first Big 12 Boat of the Week honors this season. The Belleville, Ill.-native was both an All-Big 12 First Team selection and on the Academic All-Big 12 Frist Team this year.
Big 12 Newcomer of the Year
Elizabeth Kantak, West Virginia, Fr., First Varsity Eight, Five Seat
Competing in its first Big 12 Championship, Kantak helped West Virginia’s First Varsity Eight crew cross the finish line in 6:34.34 in third place, a spot higher than its seed of fourth, behind Oklahoma and Texas. The Atlanta, Ga.-native was a member of the same crew, which won Boat of the Week accolades for the week of April 10.
Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Liz Scherer, Kansas, Jr., First Varsity Eight, Five Seat
Scherer, a junior both athletically and academically, currently holds a 3.96 cumulative GPA as an Exercise Science Major. She competed with the First Varsity Eight Boat--which logged a time of 6:43.31 at the championship--in all of KU’s competitions this season.
Big 12 Coach of the Year
Leeanne Crain, Oklahoma
Crain is the recipient of this award for the second straight year. In her fifth season as the coach of the Sooners, Crain directed OU to its first Big 12 Championship. For the three previous seasons, OU finished as the runner-up at the event. Oklahoma placed seven athletes on the All-Big 12 Teams, including four first-team honorees and three second-team selections. The Sooners also boasted 24 Academic All-Big 12 First Team honorees, the most of all conference rowing teams this season.
Big 12 rowing teams will wait for the NCAA Championship field to be released on May 14 at 4 p.m. CT. This year’s event will be held May 31 - June 2 at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.