April 22, 2007
This weekend Grand Valley Crew traveled to Oak Ridge, Tennessee for the SIRA (Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association) regatta. SIRA is the second largest regatta GVSU crew competes at and prepares the team for the Dad Vail. SIRA is a great indicator of where the team stands three weeks prior to Dad Vail, the team’s championship regatta. From the team’s success and improvement from previous years attending SIRA, the coaches and athletes are looking forward to Dad Vail with high expectations.
Head Coach John Bancheri commented, “I was extremely pleased with this year’s SIRA results. We had lofty goals coming into this regatta, however we came up short. Our athletes decided to continue their training regimen through this event and our current final exams. In hindsight, by looking at the results we have made great improvements over the last year. I believe we are poised to have a few medalist eights at this year’s Dad Vail regatta.”
The Men’s Varsity 8+ saw their toughest competition of the season and narrowly missed qualifying for the A final. After a B final nearly as fast as the A, the Men’s V8 (6:13.1) placed 2nd 1.1 seconds behind Jacksonville (6:12.0). The University of Virginia won the regatta with a time of 5:57.6. With the men being competitive with the top boats throughout the weekend, and the speed they expect to gain in the following weeks, they will attack the rest of the season with renewed intensity. Sophomore stroke Geoff Sadek added, “We were able to identify some of our strengths and weaknesses this weekend, and we look forward to progressing the boat speed. We are a young group and will only get better as we gain more race experience.”
The Men’s Lightweight 8+ raced the heats Friday evening, finishing third and qualifying for the Grand Final. The Grand Final saw some very fast competition and the GVSU eight rowed to a fifth place finish. The top spot belonged to Mercyhurst at 6:11.4, followed closely by St. Joseph’s (6:11.7), Jacksonville (6:13.4), Georgia Tech (6:17.9), Grand Valley (6:22.9), and Purdue (6:26.2). The lightweights race next at the Indianapolis Invite on April 28.
Amongst the Varsity Men, two athletes stood out winning gold in the Varsity Pair event. The pair of Tim Vallier and Justin Ott rowed in a dead heat all the way down the course. In the end the race came down to two boats, GVSU finishing with a time of 7:29.5 and Washington University at 7:30.8.
In a difficult heat on Saturday, the Men’s Novice 4+ was unfortunately eliminated. Despite the loss, the Novice 4 looks ahead to the Indianapolis Invite with confidence seeing they rowed the fourth overall fastest time in the events’ heats.
After two days of great racing the Novice Men’s 8+ men placed 2nd with a time of 6:18.5 behind St. Joe’s at 6:15.1, narrowly missing gold in the last 750meters. The silver medalist Novice Men’s 8+ was also chosen by the coaching staff as the GVSU crew of the week. Although the strong novice pair that had been sitting in the engine room was put into the varsity eight, the two lightweight freshmen replacing them helped the boat improve technically. The seven other athletes also raised their level and were able to earn a second place finish. Assistant Coach Mark McIlduff declared, “I was proud with the intensity with which they raced. They will continue to follow the training program and should pick up some speed in the next couple of weeks.” The crew consisted of Scott Feil at bow, Matt Rejc, Daniel Schoolcraft, Mike Stoll, Andrew Stoll, Mark McClusky, Breck Davis, Thomas Beebe at stroke, and coxswain Jessica Shooltz.
The Varsity Women, in their usual form, did not fail to impress. Finishing in 6:56.2, 12 seconds ahead of the competition yelling, “AMF” the WV8 grabbed gold. Sam Morgan, four seat in the WV8 commented on their race, “It was rough off the start, but we walked through the competition and didn’t let up until the finish.” After finishing second place in the event last year, the crew was happy with the turn around. The young group, including three seniors, a junior, two sophomores and two novices, looks forward to continuing their improvement into the Dad Vail.
Once more, GVSU medaled in the pair event. Not knowing what to expect, the Women’s Varsity Pair surprised everyone with a bronze medal finish. The pair of Kaitlin Steigenga and Caitlin Lundsten rowed a strong race to finish with a time of 9:05.3 behind Georgia Tech (8:35.3) and Tampa.
GVSU’s Novice Ladies came up just short and walked away empty handed this weekend. The Novice 4+ put together their best race yet, but was ousted in heats against some fast competition.
In their heat, the Women’s Novice 8+ showed lots of speed with the top qualifying time of 7:04.4, finishing well ahead of the competition. Racing came down to a bow ball in the Women’s Novice 8+ Grand Final as GVSU went stroke for stroke with the University of Texas for third place. In the end, Grand Valley finished fourth at 7:33.7, behind Texas (7:33.5), Georgia (7:22.8), and Ohio State (7:17.9).
The Men’s team will race next at the Indianapolis Collegiate Invitational at the Eagle Creek Reservoir in Indianapolis, IN on April 28. The women will use that weekend to stay home and train.
MV8: cox. Malloure/Sadek/Vainner/Slater/Donovan/Eisenhauer/League/Fay/Copus
ML8: cox. Bachert/Reagan/Gerwatowski/Cecil/Robertson/Plonka/Boshart/LeMoine/Sylvester
MN8: cox. Schooltz/Beebe/Davis/McClusky/A.Stoll/M.Stoll/Schoolcraft/Rejc/Feil
MN4: cox. Jaster/Waldron/Binford/Bozung/Ripka
WV8: cox. Rasch/Chaffee/Zelenka/McCormick/Proctor/Morgan/Kroll/Salas/O’Brien
WN8: cox. Higgins/Leipprandt/Gray/Vanderark/Holben/Hubbell/Socks/Mills/Robinson
WN4: cox. Adams/Miller/Sixbey-Spring/Hatten/Stiner