Laker Navy Strong in Nashville
Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2017

Led by a trailer chock-full of boats, the Laker Navy descended on Nashville, Tennessee for the 2nd annual Music City Head Race this past Saturday. Hungry for their first taste of competition in this young season, Grand Valley athletes jumped right into the racing early Saturday morning and didn’t let up until the final races of the afternoon. The results were encouraging to say the least – Laker Navy crews spent the day by methodically and systematically improving their skill on the racecourse by rowing in multiple events (most varsity raced three events). Most walked away with an armful of medals to show for their efforts.

Some highlights – the varsity won the pairs, fours, and eights on both sides, with multiple medalist crews for the fours and pairs. The novice men recorded the largest margin of victory for the day, followed by the varsity women’s 8; novice women won their 8 as well. Full recap to follow:

The varsity men got things started with a dominating performance in the 4’s. GV went 1-2, with the third-place boat from Alabama a full 2 lengths behind our second-place crew. The third Grand Valley entry in the event finished 11th, beating out the other ‘C’ boats and half of the ‘B’ entries along the way. The guys landed, collected their medals, and rested for a few hours before their next trip down the course.

The varsity women were up next in the big boats, where our first 8 put on a clinic. They finished almost 30 seconds clear of the next finisher, the varsity 8 from The University of Georgia. Coach Bancheri said that he quote “was impressed with coach Nathan Lantz and the great improvement made by the Bulldog crews.” The Grand Valley 2V was nearly as solid, finishing ahead of all but 2 varsity boats, and second of all 2V’s (only getting pipped by Georgia’s entry…). Their finish is quite impressive considering that 2 of our seats were filled by true novices, who only picked up an oar for the first time in September.

Next up were entries from our novice squads! Many of the rowers in the second novice boats were brand-new to the sport and getting their first competitive experience this weekend. They did not disappoint! Both boats finished in the medals; the crews were absolutely thrilled as they got back on land. All these athletes are excited to get back onto the water in practice and keep honing their skills for the next race.

The varsity women took to the course in pairs, placing all four entries in the top 6. The first two GV finishers ended up clear of their closest competition; the University of Georgia. The men followed closely behind in the small boats, taking an impressive 6 of the top 7 finishing spots.

Perhaps not content with sweeping only two races, the women went back out on the course with a vengeance for their 4’s races. Laker Navy crews again went 1-2 over – you guessed it – a crew from Georgia. The ‘C’ boat placed 10th overall, beating out two ‘A’ entries along with two other boats. This wrapped up the women’s racing schedule for the day, with many members walking away with 3 gold medals for their efforts!

The novice men’s 8 raced next, and did not disappoint. They jumped all over their first chance to race in Grand Valley colors and recorded the largest margin of victory for any GV crew on the day – a full 1:08 over second place – and looked hungry for more as they landed. Their coach (Costas Ciungan ’15) stated “I could not be prouder of my guys, they have been really training hard and were able to test their training here; a good starting point for the season”

The novice women followed their brothers-in-arms with an impressive performance of their own. Understroking the field by 5-6 beats, the ladies squeaked out a 9-second win over Emory. 8 of the 9 athletes in this boat had only started rowing 5 weeks prior to this race. Novice women’s coach Dan Martin said, “I can’t say enough how proud I am of my kids’ performance today, and I’m excited to see what we can do with another week to build on our success today. With the awesome attitude and athletic talent present on this squad, the entire team has the potential to be incredibly fast.”

The varsity men wrapped up their racing with a close win over – who else? – Georgia. On their third race of the day, the four highest-finishing pairs from earlier in the day emptied the tanks for one more medal. The men’s 2V took 5th, over the only other ‘B’ boat from Georgia, and five other ‘A’ entries. To sum up the varsity’s performance on the day, Head Coach John Bancheri said that, “for an early season event, I was pleased with the excitement of our athletes, their efforts on the water, and especially their sense of community as a program.”

The Laker Navy’s last representatives on the course were novice 4’s from both sides. These crews had about 20 minutes on land to rest and rehydrate before turning around and launching again, but they gamely attacked the second piece and were well-rewarded for their efforts. The men’s three boats placed 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The women’s top entry ended up tying for first with a crew from Emory, and their second entry placed 4th overall.

All in all, it was an incredibly successful day for the Laker Navy. Grand Valley athletes medalled in every single event they entered, with many events seeing our crews claiming multiple medals. It was a great re-introduction to racing for our varsity and an incredibly important first step for our novices; the 2017-18 campaign is off to a great start. Thanks very much to all of our family and friends who were able to make the trip with us – we could not have done it without your help and support! Our next race is the Head of the Grand on Sunday 10/15, and the entire team is primed and ready to build on our success this weekend. Go Laker Navy!

Laker Navy Prepares to Return to Head of the Grand Regatta in Lansing, MI
Posted on Friday, October 13th, 2017

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Fall racing season is officially underway!

After a successful first regatta down South, the Laker Navy travels East to Lansing, MI to take on Michigan State, Eastern Michigan, and other local rivals. This truly will be the battle of the Grand River, with the winning crews claiming bragging rights and eternal glory. The regatta takes place at Grand River Park in Lansing, Michigan and racing starts promptly at 9:15 am. We invite all our family, friends, and alumni to come support us this Sunday, October 15th.

We can’t wait to see you all there and as always, pull for the Laker Navy!

GV Crews Move onto Finals
Posted on Saturday, April 1st, 2017

The Laker Navy had a solid start to their time in San Diego. Entering two boats, both took second in their preliminary heats and are moving onto their respective finals.

The men’s varsity eight will race in the Cal Cup final at 10:08 local time. The women will compete in the DII/DIII Club Finalat 9:12. The link to the live stream can be found at the front page, or click here.

We would like to thank Anne Varner Clancy for generously providing dinner for the entire team. Thank you from the varsity eights, we appreciate your support!

The team is looking forward to another day of racing. Thank you to the friends and family of the team for the support, pull for the Laker Navy!

Trip Wrap-Up/Day 8 – March 11th
Posted on Saturday, March 11th, 2017

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Zack Peters, Team President
Hometown: Royal Oak, MI
Major: Marketing and Finance
This has been a fantastic and productive week in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. It is especially significant to me because it will be my last Spring Break training trip with the team. As president and a four year senior I think that this training trip was one of the best I have ever been on. Our hotel was perfect for the team and had many amenities available. There were hearty early morning breakfasts and late night euchre games.
The course was just a short drive from the hotel and the weather was good all week. During practice we stood true to Fairbairn’s old adage that mileage makes champions. We rowed three separate darth vader rows and did some of the most productive technical work I have ever been a part of. The whole team has made great strides as oarsmen and oarswomen on this trip. In addition to the technical improvements we also did a bunch of seat racing. Everyone fought hard and earned their seats as the bell notes rang.
We took advantage of all that Oak Ridge had to offer. We visited The American Museum of Science and Energy where they gave our organization a presentation about the areas nuclear history. Afterward we went to a Chinese buffet where we stuffed ourselves in order to prepare for seat racing the following day. On Wednesday we went to Gatlinburg for an afternoon of good food and tourism. The team enjoyed going to many different shops and attractions along the main drag.
Overall this week was an amazing experience for our organization. A lot of learning, fun, and fitness was had by all. Thank you so much to all of the parents, donors, and supporters that made this week possible. We can’t do what we do without your help.

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Faith Platz, Women’s Team Captain
Hometown: Grand Haven, MI
Major: Statistics
Happy last day of Spring Training! I think the weather was trying to ease us back into Michigan temperatures, because we woke up to some snowfall today. After we gathered up all our belongings and had a quick breakfast at the hotel, we piled into the vans and headed to the course for the last time. It was pretty busy at the venue due to an NCAA women’s regatta, but we were able to get a long steady state row in. The women were in two fours, and we did some battle paddle and worked on our technique even more, implementing the slap-square drill by all four. To finish the week on the water, all crews did a 2k piece on the course during the regatta’s lunch break. It was good to see all our hard work culminate into this last race, and it definitely warmed us up in this chilly weather!
Once we docked, the de-rigging and loading began. It’s definitely much much easier to load everything with our new trailer, so things went pretty smoothly. After everything was all loaded and ready to go, we took our annual team photo, then Coach B commended our efforts for this week. Everyone put in so much work and we made a lot of progress both on and off the water. Spring Break is always a little bit daunting, with all the pressure of seat races, the exhaustion of Darth Vader rows, and the painful amount of blisters that make it almost impossible to flatten your hand, but we all survived! And better yet, we are headed back to Allendale knowing that we improved as a team, and I personally cannot wait until we get to finally put our efforts to the test in San Diego in a few short weeks. For everyone who always keeps up with these blogs, thank you so much for your support! We wouldn’t be near as successful or able to compete at the level we do without you. And, as always, keep pulling for the Laker Navy!

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Zoe Niswonger
Hometown: Ada, MI
Major: Exercise Science
Today was a great last day of spring break. We checked out of the hotel bright and early for a morning row. We had a quick chalk talk upon arriving to the course and immediately got on to the water for skill and drill and a steady state row. We took out a mix of eight and fours and spent a lot of time focused on the control of the blade and the catch, greatly improving our boat dynamics. We ended our final practice of spring break with a 2000 meter piece at a 28 stroke rate, focusing on propulsion per stroke. After that we quickly loaded the trailer, had a few photo op’s and got on the road. We’re headed home, and not prepared for the cold ahead. Overall, we had a great spring break at Oak Ridge Rowing Association filled with huge gains and massive improvements. I know I can speak for the rest of the team in saying that we can’t wait to keep breaking records and getting faster. See you next year, Oak Ridge!






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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