GVSU Wins MACRA Trophy for 2nd Consecutive Year
Posted on Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 at 12:21 pm

The Grand Valley State University Rowing club hosted the 45th annual Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association championship regatta on May 2nd. Due to an unforeseen amount of rainfall in the week preceding the event, the planned location in downtown Grand Rapids flooded. GVSU Rowing had to make a last minute move to the Bass River Quarry seven miles west of campus. Amazingly, with the help of many, the regatta was pulled off and very successful.

Morning heats kicked off with a quartering headwind at 15 mph creating chop through the middle of the 1850m race course. The conditions remained fairly consistent throughout the day, with the wind finally dying down for the last of the afternoon finals. Given the conditions, officials ran the regatta smoothly and to the best of their abilities.

The Women’s Novice eight competed with Mollie Manson at stroke, Lindsey Marshall- 7, Christina Turner-6, Emily Zogas- 5, Alex Foster- 4, Lauren Adlof- 3, Tamara Hillman- 2, Rachel Kishman at bow, and coxswain Robi Scarborough. The original start had two boats collide, so the race was re-run from the 500m point. The women rowed hard throughout their final and were able to control the race. They finished in first at a time of 5:32.4 with University of Chicago at 5:42.5 and MSU at 5:51.5.

The Men’s Novice eight sat Marco Benedetti at stroke, Tucker Anderson- 7, Zak Armstrong- 6, Aaron Gesquiere- 5, Carter Brown- 4, Josh Stauber- 3, Mitch McClain- 2, Jimmy Wilkie at bow, and coxswain Hallie Dorsey. The men faced a difficult start and had to let it run to avoid hitting another crew. Overcoming the tough start, the Lakers rowed through the field and settled comfortably in front. GVSU finished in a time of 6:03.9 ahead of MSU at 6:09.6 and UM at 6:18.6.

Following the novice eight, the women broke into two fours for the Women’s Novice four grand final. GVSU ‘A’ consisted of the stern four and won the race in a time of 7:23.0. GVSU ‘B’ consisted of the bow four of the eight and rowed to a third place finish at 7:34.9 slightly behind Northwestern University at 7:33.3.

Next, the Men’s Novice four took to the water for the grand final. The boat consisted of Topher Jarman at stroke, Marty Reed -3, John Nance-2, Jerry Jarvis-1, and coxswain Dayna Campbell. Following a slow start and collision with another crew, GVSU found itself down to the field. Grand Valley fought hard back into the field to finish fifth place in a time of 6:51.2 slightly ahead of UM ‘B’ at 6:52.1. A strong Ohio State crew won at 6:23.9, followed by Mercyhurst at 6:33.4, UM at 6:35.3, and University of Dayton at 6:41.4.

The Women’s Junior Varsity eight that sat Renee Chouinard, Sr. at stroke, Kaitlin Steigenga, Sr.- 7, Alex VanderArk, Jr.- 6, Abby Quisenberry, So.- 5, Lauren Holben, Jr.- 4, Hanna Jones, Fr.- 3, Kari Oshanski, Fr.- 2, Hannah Brinza, So at bow, and coxswain Aly Mendels, Fr. raced next. The women controlled the race from the start and rowed well through the chop and wind. GVSU finished the race in a time 6:33.9, ahead of OSU-ltwt. at 6:58.3, OSU-2V at 7:01.4 and Eastern Michigan University at 7:13.8.

The Men’s Junior Varsity eight followed with Mike Stoll, Jr. at stroke, Daniel Robertson, Sr.- 7, Kyle Dara, So.- 6, Daniel Schoolcraft, Jr.- 5, Jonathon Havenhill, Fr.- 4, Brendan Sawyer, So.- 3, Matt Rejc, Jr.- 2, Scott Feil, Jr. at bow, and coxswain Lisa Malloure, Sr. Down half a boat length to a strong University of Michigan crew after the first 5 strokes, the Lakers faced an uphill battle the remainder of the race. Using a controlled race pace and big push at the 1000m marker, GVSU pulled even with UM down the stretch. In a photo finish, UM came out on top in a time of 5:31.4 to GVSU’s 5:31.8. Finishing the field were MSU-ltwt. at 5:47.6, UM-ltwt. at 5:49.5 and OSU-ltwt. at 5:50.7.

In the most anticipated event of the day, the Women’s Varsity eight competed with Sarah Zelenka, Sr. at stroke, Sam Morgan, Jr.- 7, Laura Marshall, So.- 6, Kelsey Arnold, So.- 5, Kendra Socks, Jr.- 4, Katie Phelan, So. – 3, Kelli O’Brien, Sr.- 2, Leslie Mayville, So. at bow, and coxswain Katie Higgins, Jr. The Lakers of Grand Valley faced off against the No. 1 ranked and undefeated NCAA D-II Mercyhurst College in the grand final. The D-II club Grand Valley eight sprinted ahead at the start and settled into a strong pace for the body. Asserting themselves in the first 1000m, GVSU looked long and relaxed. The women lengthened the gap toward the end of the race without having to sprint. GVSU finished first in a time of 5:51.3 with Mercyhurst coming in second in a time of 6:10.6. Michigan State University at 6:41.8, Ohio State University at 6:42.3, Eastern Michigan University at 6:43.0, and Northwestern University at 6:57.1 rounded off the field. The lady Lakers will compete in the D-I open event at the Dad Vail next weekend and the GVSU second varsity eight will be rowing in the D-II varsity eight event.

In the final event of the day, GVSU boated a Men’s Varsity eight of Blake Donovan, Sr. at stroke, Geoff Sadek, Sr.- 7, Breck Davis, Jr.- 6, Mark McClusky, Jr.- 5, Ryan League, Jr.- 4, Peter DiFrisco, So.- 3, Adam Cecil, Sr.- 2, Justin Ott, Sr. at bow, and coxswain Ashley Stevens, Sr. The men set a strong rhythm from the start and jumped to the front of the field through the first 500m. Mercyhurst College pushed GVSU down the course, with Grand Valley coming out on top in a time of 5:16.2 to Mercyhurst’s 5:22.4. Rounding out the grand final were University of Dayton at 5:26.0, University of Michigan (1F) at 5:26.5, Ohio State University at 5:35.2, and University of Chicago at 5:49.1. Given the success of all of the Lakers boats, Grand Valley took the team points trophy home for the second year in a row.

The GVSU Rowing club would like to thank everyone that helped make this event successful. Special thanks to Ottawa County sheriff department, Riverside County Park, the neighbors of Bass River Quarry, the parents of GVSU rowing that helped, the volunteer regatta officials, and all MACRA member schools and coaches. The Laker Navy will train through the week before heading to Philadelphia, PA for the Dad Vail Championships on Wednesday morning. There will be an alumni and parents tent at the Dad Vail for the May 8-9 racing.

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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