Day One – June 19, 2018
Posted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Checkin in at Airport

Justin Ebert
Coach: Costas Ciungan ’15

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Major: Masters in Public Administration

Hometown: Detroit, MI
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am Greek and Romanian – first and last name respectively.

Today a team of 25 athletes and 4 administrators, including myself, have departed on the Greece-Henley Royal Regatta trip. The trip took months of planning and preparation starting back in September. From administrative planning and organizing by head coach John Bancheri with assistants to athlete training and preparation, this team has done the work it takes and is excited for the trip ahead. We departed by bus to Chicago O’Hare at or near 10 am and are currently about to catch our flight to England, then we will be making a stop in Istanbul, Turkey before heading to Kastoria, Greece via Thessaloniki. The team will train in Greece for a week thanks to the organization and planning of Coach Bancheri, whose former athlete from Marietta College and international rower, Even Tsourtsoulas, connected us with the Nautical Club of Kastoria. We will train in Kastoria before heading back to England to compete at the Henley Royal Regatta and Reading Town Regatta.

As a coach, I look forward to seeing our athletes train international and compete, especially at the historic Henley Royal Regatta. I also look forward to learning from the best in the world by interacting with coaches and by watching great rowing. Rowing has been happening on the Thames river for over 100 years starting in the 19th century with the beginnings of the Henley Royal Regatta in 1839. An entire history of rowing can be found in Henley at the River and Rowing museum and it is a privilege for our athletes and coaches to have the Henley experience and to compete on such a high stage. On top of that, the training in Greece at the Nautical Club of Kastoria will make this an experience that our student-athletes will remember for a lifetime, especially with all the work and discipline it took to get the opportunity to represent Grand Valley State University abroad.

Throughout the next three weeks our athletes will share their experiences with you via blogs to document the trip for themselves and their families and friends, but also to share with alumni, friends, and future classes of Grand Valley rowers. As a coach I love reading the blogs and seeing what our athletes are experiencing in training as well as socially and culturally. I invite you to read the blogs daily, view photos, and check out the great opportunities and experiences are student-athletes will have as a member of the Laker Navy at Grand Valley State University. Although very important, It is not just about the training and racing, but about the cultural experience and learning that our athletes obtain by traveling abroad and in particularly by watching the best rowing in the world at the Henley Royal Regatta. As legendary coach Steve Fairbairn once stated: “a crew will learn to row by racing, but cannot learn to race by rowing.” Racing is an important element to becoming and effectively rower but so too is watching great rowing and learning from the best.

Proud coach and alumni. Thanks to everyone that supported our athletes in making this trip. As always, Keep pulling for the Laker Navy – anchor up.

ACRA All-Region and All-Academic Awards – Coach of the Year John Bancheri for both men and women
Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2018

The American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) proudly announces the All-Region teams and Regional Coaches. In addition. ACRA proudly announced the First and Second All-Academic Teams.

We are proud to announce that our head coach and director of rowing for the past 14 years, John M Bancheri, received coach of the year for both men and women. An honor that no other coach has received in the same year for coaching both men and women.

Criteria used for the All-Region Teams and Regional coaches came from 2,000 meter testing scores, performance of their crew, career racing results, individual performances and coach recommendation. Selections were made by the representative of each region. To be considered for this award, each individual’s team must be an ACRA member and the coach must have submitted the candidate’s name. Coaches of each Region were submitted by the ACRA membership and voted on by the coaches of their region.

We are also happy to announce that a couple of our athletes made it on the All-Region team for the Great Lakes Region. On the women’s side coxswain Diana Bullen and athletes Audrey Boersen and Jessica Hasenau made it on the All-Region team for the Great Lakes Region.

The American Collegiate Rowing Association also announced the All-Academic team and in order to be eligible for ACRA All-Academic status the rower must have completed at least 60 hours of college classes and be scholastically a Junior or Senior at the conclusion of the Spring semester. First Team member have a cumulative GPA of 3.85 or above. Second Team members have a cumulative GPA of 3.5-3.84.
This year totaled a record 90 First Team All-Academic rowers and 237 Second Team All-Academic rowers.

This year Grand Valley State University Rowing Club had two athletes receive the destinction for the First team ACRA All-Academic team and they were Faith Platz and Elizabeth Greve. In addition, we had two athletes receive the Second Team ACRA All-Academic team and they were Elliot Reith and Audrianna Boersen.

A link to the press release can be found below. Thank you to all those who support this program and as always – keep pulling for the Laker Navy!

2018 All-Region Press Release
2018 All-Academic Press Release

Historic Photos Archived
Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Above you will find some old and older Laker Navy photos that have historical interest to the Grand Valley Rowing Club. Grand Valley Rowing is a historic tradition that has been built for over 50 years and a tradition that lives on today.

The Laker Navy posts these photos in our archives on the History page. There you can also find past rowing coaches since our founding as well as other historic photos. We invite all alumni to pay a visit to Grand Valley and visit the boat house.

In addition, if any alumni have photos of the past that they would like to share with the rowing club and our team historian, please do not hesitate to get a hold of the team president at

As always, keep pulling for the Laker Navy!

Link to History Page

GVSU Rowers ’14 & ’18 Win Academic Awards
Posted on Monday, April 16th, 2018

Justin Wegner - Alumni 14

4-year alumni Justin Wegner ’14 is from East Grand Rapids, Michigan. He graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.S. in Natural Resources Management in 2014. In addition, Justin Wegner ’14 was a scholar student-athlete in rowing. He has been working with Dr. Mark Luttenton studying Brook Trout behavioral thermoregulation and habitat use in a small cold-water stream. Justin Wegner’ 14 successfully defended his thesis on brook trout thermoregulation and habitat selection. His thesis won the Graduate Dean’s Citation for Academic Excellence in the Degree Program.

Faith Platz Rowing Grad 2018

Faith Platz ’18, Senior and current President of the GVSU Rowing Club, has received a Full Graduate Assistantship from Villanova University to continue her education at the graduate level. She will be earning her Master’s of Science in Applied Statistics from Villanova beginning next fall. She credits her heavy involvement in the Rowing Club with being instrumental in her undergraduate journey, and can’t wait to see what lies ahead in the Philadelphia area and, of course, will cheer on the Laker Navy at the Dad Vail Regatta for the next few years.

The Grand Valley State University Rowing Club challenges its student-athletes to reach the highest level to which they aspire both academically and athletically, while continuing to build and sustain a nationally competitive intercollegiate rowing program.

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