2012 SIRA Chamionship Regatta
Each Boat’s Perspective on the SIRA Championship Regatta
Womens 1st Varsity 8+
Bow – Shelby Welbaum; 2 – Becca Studer; 3 – Jessica Vogl; 4 – Nichole Hagoort; 5 – Kylan Patterman; 6 – Lauren Adlof; 7- Lindsay Marshall; Stroke – Carey Mankins; Coxswain – Jordan Hart
The team arrived at Melton Lake Friday afternoon, just in time for a quick row to keep our legs fresh before competing. The women’s 1V launched, went through our routine practice, and was feeling good about the races to come on Saturday. After eating together as a boat, we had our boat meeting, discussing our race plan, our heats, and semi-finals on Saturday. We focused on how important our technique would be at the start and body of the race. We also focused on our endurance. We talked with our coxswain Jordan about the calls that we like to hear and how to maintain our focus in the boat when other crews would be fighting for 1st place just as we were.
Saturday arrived and we were all feeling rested for our heats. We launched and did our pre-race warm up, as usual. As we approached the starting blocks, we all felt the nerves go through our bodies, as any rower does minutes before the start of a race. Our blades moves at the exact moment the race official moved his flag. We were against Georgia, Emory, Florida Tech, Jacksonville and Washington U. Our start was a bit off, but nothing that we couldn’t recover from in the body of the race. At stroke seat, I remember looking to the left and right of me at 1000 down, and seeing our boat take seats on the boats on either side of us as we made a move. 2 seat, Becca Studer comments on our moves: “My favorite part we seeing and feeling how effective our moves were. There’s nothing like walking a boat and then being able to see them behind you.” After we had the race in the bag at the 1000 meter mark. We finished with open water, with Florida Tech finishing 2nd, more than 10 seconds later.
We were able to get the nerves out of our bodies during out heats, and were feeling more than confident and comfortable for our semi-finals. This would be a harder race with different crews, but after racing at San Diego, the spark was there to get us through this race. We executed our start much more cleanly than our heats and rowed the body of our race with precision. Our moves pushed us ahead and we finished 1st again, with more than 10 seconds over 2nd place Kansas State this time. 5 seat, Kylan Patterman describes our progression as on Saturday into Sunday: “As for the races, they gradually got better and better as we gained confidence and we were about to push ourselves further than I think we could. Our starts got smoother and we rowed better together race to race, and it ended up being something really extraordinary. I think these races gave us a push to the rest of the season and definitely helped us get ready for Dad Vails.”
Sunday, the day of our grand final, started early. We launched for the final time and headed to the start. We locked into the stake boats. Coxswain Jordan Hart tells us her feelings going into the race: ” I was really nervous for finals and knew it was going to be a tight race. I was very excited when our crew pulled ahead at 750 and showed George Washington what we were made of.” From bow to stroke seat, we were all very thankful that we were not able to see the nervousness in our coxswain. Bow seat, Shelby Welbaum, gives a detailed perspective of the race: “As we were traveling to the race site, my mind set was actually very calm. I was excited to race and I didn’t have much nervousness in me. I figured that we could do this since we had just done two 2ks the day before. Getting on the water was a different story. All of a sudden the nervous butterflies came swarming into my stomach and I could feel my heart rate increase. All I could tell myself is to keep calm and do what I do best: pull hard. The order at the start could not have been better. We had the two boats we wanted to keep our eyes on and crush right next to us. GW was on our left and Purdue on our right. This was it, our moment to shine and show them who we are. As we started, we got off the line fairly well with the rest of the boats. We were down a little but we still had another 10 to bust out. It was neck and neck for the first 500 and after that we then started to break away from the boats. GW and Purdue were still hanging with us until we made our first move. We broke away from Purdue and started walking GW. At the point of course my legs were screaming at me but I didn’t let myself tell me that I was tired. I just kept saying to myself to bring the pain. I wanted to win and I wouldn’t want anything less. After the 1000, I could start to hear the crowds and we were on GW’s stern. Soon after we made our second move and walked right out of GW’s puddles. As soon as I realized where we were at, I realized that we were in the lead and holding them off! 500 to go. We went crazy. We kicked it up a couple beats and were cookin until the 250 meter mark. At this point, it gets a little blurry. Gasping for air, legs raging with pain, and adrenaline through the roof. We were almost done, just a few more strokes till that beautiful finish line. We jacked the rate up to a 38 and just pulled our butts off. We were in the lead and we had them. Then the glorious horn. We did it. Every person in the boat, even though gasping for air, let out a scream of excitement. We showed them who we are and what were made of. We protected our bowball; No one touches it, because we are Grand Valley.”
We have worked together for some time now, learning how we row together and what works best for the boat. This part weekend, our hard work has paid off, making us the Women’s Open V8, SIRA Champions.
Mens 1st Varsity 8+
Cox: Christopher Simon, Stroke To Bow: Justin Wegner, Marco Benedetti, Austin Burris, Ryan Kasley, Nathan Biolchini, Ken Pierson, Chad Condon, Jimmy Wilkie
This season so far has been very successful for us. We knew going into this weekend that the crews we were about to face would challenge us as our competition has all season, and they did not disappoint. Our heat featured familiar Dad Vail competition from Georgia Tech and Jacksonville, both of whom finished two seconds behind us. For the semi, we drew strong crews from Colorado, Rollins, Michigan State University, Purdue, and eventual winners George Washington. George Washington established a lead off the line and was able to open up to win the race. We placed second with some open water between us and the rest of the field.
Going into finals, we felt that we had not been rowing our best this weekend. There had been a lack of connection in the heats and semis that we were not used to, and we were tending to get flustered during our races. We went over our race plan a number of times on land and knew what we had to do. Looking at the semi times, we could see that it was going to be a barnburner of a race between George Washington, Virginia, GVSU, Florida Tech, Temple, and Notre Dame.
We began the race with one of our best starts of the year, and it put us in the hunt with the rest of the field, although in fifth. Eventually we moved into fourth, where we stayed for the majority of the race while trading seats with a very strong Temple crew. Going into the last 500, we saw that we were moving on FIT and took it up earlier than we had been in previous races. The gamble paid off, and we were able to take third place by about a half a second. George Washington won the race by only three tenths of a second over the University of Virginia, with open water on the rest of the field.
Overall it was one of the best races we’ve had all year. While it was great winning a medal, we were much happier with the fact that we executed our race plan and rowed a solid clean race, something that had been eluding us all weekend. The crew performed well under pressure and we are looking forward to what the rest of the season has in store for us.
-Marco Benedetti (’11) – 7 Seat, Men’s Varsity 8+. Team President, Captain.
Mens 2nd Varsity 8+
This weekend was one full of speed and sweat. From bow: Steve Brown (Sophomore), Dominic Kootsillas-Conybeare (Junior), Costas Cuingan (Sophomore), Sam Fearnow (Senior), Keegan Jahnke (Junior), Ben Steele (Sophomore), Ed Avena (Junior), Anthony Anzell (Junior), and coxswain Dayna Campbell (Senior), took to the water Saturday morning in lane 2 against Temple University, Jacksonville University, Kansas State University, and Notre Dame. We finished 1st with a finishing time of 6:16.5, a solid 5 second margin over Temple and with only 3 boats from each heat moving on to the grand final on Sunday, the final qualifier was Notre Dame. We were confident going into the grand final knowing that we had the mental capacity to race a tough crew like University of Virginia and that we work together well. The lane assignments for the grand final this morning at 10:17am was: lane 1- Jacksonville University, lane 2- Purdue University, Lane 3- Grand Valley State University, Lane 4- University of Virginia, lane 5- Temple University, and lane 6- Delaware. The conditions were cloudy skies, chilly temperatures around 54 degrees and a tailwind headed straight down the course. The race began with a fair start and we walked through Jacksonville and Purdue in the first 750 of the race. Our focus was now on Virginia who won their heat with a time 3 seconds faster than us. As they made a push, we responded and vise versa. In the end we finished 2nd although still maintaining connection with Virginia’s stern and our bow. When the horn blew, and the race finished we exchanged “good race Virginia” and pulled our boat next to their’s to give them our betting shirts. This is a tradition that has been carried on by crews to reward the winning team with the “shirts of our back”. Virginia was naturally happy to have won the event, but they were gracious and thanked us for a great race. Overall, this weekend allowed us to see crews we don’t usually get to see until Dad Vails, in May, and also brought us closer together as a boat. Between boat dinners every night, riding together to and from the course, not to mention the trip to and from Tennessee, and spending our time off telling funny stories and playing games, we are prepared for the speed to come and representing the Grand Valley name.
Womens 2nd Varsity 8+
This weekend has been a great experience for the boat as a whole. This has been the first real competition the 2V has seen this season and we have learned a lot from it. Going into our first race, we knew that it was going to be a pull but it could be possible to place top 3. Our biggest concern was Pudue in lane 2 right next to us. We had our plan set and ready to execute strong. We walked on UCSD within the first 500 and felt great hanging onto purdues stern right off the start. Unfortunately Oklahoma was pulling up to us. Through the 1000 meter mark we managed to hang onto Oklahoma trading bow balls. Within that last 300 they decided to sprint while we were planning on the last 250. The 250 approached quickly and we sprinted together getting that stroke rate up. We ended in third about 4 seconds behind Oklahoma. The boat overall felt great about the race. They gave it their all and we had to keep in mind we beat the other club teams in our heat and managed to hold close to the V1 crews, while walking past one of them (UCSD). As the second race approached, we talked over our strategy again, tweaking it. In our semi’s were more fast V1 crews and we knew we were going to have to give it our all, more than our first heat. with Mercyhurst and GWU right next to us, it was going to be a fight till the end. Keeping our hopes on second, we came off the start strong at a 40 SR for almost all 20 strokes. Then falling into our 34, we connected as a boat strong and fast, staying on mercyhurst until about the last 750. They broke apart and FIT and Barry were at the other end of the lanes having their own race. They managed to pull ahead of us in that last 500 but we held on strong. Unfortunately, that last burst at the 250 was not enough. Staying strong and focused through the majority of the race, the last 250 tended to feel frantic. We managed to keep it together however. Finishing in 5th in the end, we still had a strong, focused race. And the 2V women were exceptionally proud of their time 6:56, beating their first race time by almost 3 seconds and setting a new PR for the boat. The 2V is fast and full of potential. Pulling the times we did, with a little more critiquing of the sprints, there is no doubt we are in for a successful rest of the spring season. I am so proud of the ladies in this boat for getting as far as we have. We have set a new PR and have been in races this whole weekend full of V1 boats that we are staying close behind and really making them race us, and that says a lot for a 2V half full of novice rowers. These women have pushed themselves and will continue tomorrow and throughout the season only getting better.
Mens Varsity 4+
S: Adam Wlodkowski, 3: Jake Bouman, 2: Tucker Anderson, B: Chris Deneau, Cox: Kyle Barnhart
We rowed a solid heat with a strong, steady pace. Following a clean start we quickly walked away from the field with the exception of Marietta who had half of length on us. We held out front with Marietta through the body and moved up in the final 500 to finish in second, just two seats down, with a time of 7:00.8. In the semi-final Emory quickly walked out in front and we followed, breaking the rest of the crews before the first 500 meters. We raced down the course with a strong, quick pace finishing second to Emory with a time of 6:57.0
In the final we came off the start solid but a little slow and were in sixth place at the 200 meter mark with Emory out in front followed by Florida and Duke. We walked away from George Washington and Tampa before the 750 and into Duke. A strong push at the 1,000 meter mark propelled us into the third 500 where we walked through Duke into third place and began to move on Florida. Fought through the final 500 to finish two seats up on Duke and a length down on Florida to take third with a time of 6:47. It was a solid race that really showed the depth of our Men’s squad.
Womens Varsity 4+
The Women’s V4+ had only raced 1 time together as of this past weekend and we were ready to get out there and prove what we’ve got. We started off our weekend in the first heat going against Texas, William & Mary, VCU, Jacksonville and UT-Chattanooga. Our race started off and it was clear it was going to be close. We hung with William & Mary and VCU through the 1500 and lost them on our sprint. We finished 4th and were not going to be sent to the semi-finals. We found out that we would be racing again in the day in the D-Final. After resting up in the afternoon and refueling we went back out on the water to race. We had a solid start and found out early that we would be battling Georgia and Clemson for first place. We were bow ball to bow ball with Georgia right off the start until the 1000 meter mark where we made our move to walk away. When we started our sprint, we really packed on the power so we could solidify our first place standing. We came across the line first and were happy to find out that we had cut 15 seconds off of our time in the morning. It was a great weekend of racing all across the program. I know that as a boat, we’re looking forward to getting faster in the coming weeks and see what we can do in the rest of the spring season.”
Womens Novice 4+
Today’s races were good. We felt like our novice women’s four put everything we had into our races. We stayed confident and strong. In our heat, we were first off the start and didn’t leave that position. We finished with a time of 8:07 and had open water on second place. Our semi final was a bit closer, with tighter competition with two crews pushing us right from the get go. We were able to pull through and yet again walk away with open water and first place with a time of 8:01. Getting off the water, we felt calm and relaxed, and very pleased with our overall standing of the second fastest time within 19 crews. For tomorrow mornings final, we are excited. We know that we have proven our capabilities and we are ready to fight for our place.
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