The top two finishers at this year’s Big 12 Rowing Championship, Oklahoma and Texas, have garnered all of the sport’s postseason awards by a vote of the league’s coaches. Both schools had honorees in the Rower and Coach of the Year categories, while the Sooners also garnered the Newcomer of the Year accolade.
Big 12 Rowers of the Year
Rebbeca Staff, Oklahoma, Jr., First Varsity Eight, Six Seat
Staff was an integral part of the first Oklahoma varsity eight boat to win its race at the Big 12 Championship. OU downed Texas by less than a second in the closest race of the day at the event. The junior was also part of OU’s first varsity eight boat that was awarded the Big 12 Boat of the Month award for March. The Phoenix, Ariz.-native was on the All-Big 12 and Academic All-Big 12 first teams.
Laurel McCaig, Texas, Jr., First Varsity Eight, Seven Seat
McCaig was part of the Longhorn first varsity eight boat that finished second at the Big 12 Championship. After losing to OU by nearly 10 seconds at the Longhorn Invitational in March, McCaig helped row her boat to within a half-second of the Sooners at the championship. The Carver, Mass.-native was an All-Big 12 first-team honoree and also earned a spot on the Academic All-Big 12 second team.
Big 12 Rowing Newcomer of the Year
Kellie O’Reilly, Oklahoma, Fr., First Varsity Eight, Two Seat
O’Reilly was in the two seat for the first Oklahoma varsity eight boat victory at the Big 12 Championship. The freshman was also part of OU’s first varsity eight boat that was awarded the Big 12 Boat of the Month award for March. In that month, the boat was undefeated from March 9-31 and produced wins at both the OU and Texas Invitationals
Big 12 Rowing Coaches of the Year
Leeanne Crain, Oklahoma
In her fourth season as the coach of the Sooners, Crain directed OU to a second place finish at the Big 12 Championship. It was the third straight year that Oklahoma has been the runner-up at the event. The Sooners came up just one point shy of beating Texas as they won the first varsity eight and the third varsity eight races. Oklahoma placed five athletes on the All-Big 12 teams, including three first-team honorees and two second-team selections. This season, Crain’s team also won the OU Invitational in Oklahoma City.
Carie Graves, Texas
Graves guided the Longhorns to a fourth consecutive Big 12 Championship crown in her 14th season at the helm of the program. UT won three of six races contested at the event with victories in the Second Varsity Eight, the Fourth Varsity Eight and the Second Varsity Four. Four of Graves’ athletes earned a spot on the All-Big 12 first team, while four were also honored as second team members. A total of 22 Texas rowers earned Academic All-Big 12 accolades.
Big 12 rowing teams will now wait for the NCAA Championship field to be released on May 15 at 4 p.m. This year’s event is scheduled for May 25-26 on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J.