Rowing: Clift, Crain Claim Big XII Yearly Honors

Senior Kristin Clift was named Big 12 Rower of the Year and head coach Leeanne Crain was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, the conference announced Wednesday.

Clift, a native of Anadarko, Okla., is a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection who most recently rowed in the six seat for the Sooner first varsity eight that took first place at the Big 12 Championship last Saturday. The win by the 1V8 secured Oklahoma’s second consecutive Big 12 title.

“I’m so proud of Kristin and happy to see her earn this prestigious honor," Crain said. "She has been an integral part of the varsity eight’s success for the past three seasons and has had an incredible senior year. She has been one of the driving forces throughout her career and it’s great to see her recognized for her contributions to the speed and camaraderie of this team.”

FIND MORE: The latest news on OU Rowing.

The senior has rowed with OU’s first varsity eight each of the last three seasons, winning Big 12 1V8 titles all three years. Clift was recently named the winner of the Crimson Hammer team award, given to the athlete with the fastest 2K erg time on the team, after setting an all-time OU program best with a time of 7:07.0.

A former walk-on, Clift is also a multi-year Coaches Rowing Association Scholar-Athlete, Academic All-Big 12 First Team and Conference USA Honor Roll honoree majoring in health and exercise science.

Clift’s Big 12 Rower of the Year award is the third straight for an OU rower. Nikki Furmanek was awarded the honor in 2013 and Rebecca Staff was selected in 2012.

Crain was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season after leading the Sooners to another Big 12 Championship last week in Oklahoma City. OU rowing’s only head coach in the program’s existence, Crain has catapulted the Sooners to the top with two conference titles in just six seasons as a Division I program.

In addition to two previous Big 12 Coach of the Year honors, Crain was also named the 2013 C-USA Coach of the Year and the 2013 CRCA South Region Coach of the Year in a season that saw OU qualify for the NCAA Championship and finish No. 17 in the nation.

With the defense of the Big 12 title done, OU looks ahead to defending its C-USA championship on Saturday, May 17, in Oak Ridge, Tenn. A first place finish there would give the Sooners an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship held May 30 and June 1 in Indianapolis.

/// SoonerSports PR
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