Eight Grand Valley rowers traveled to Boston, MA this past weekend to compete against some of the fastest athletes from across the globe at the C.R.A.S.H.-B. World Indoor Rowing Championships. Two lightweights and openweights for both men and women raced in the 2000 meter erg sprints, and all represented the Laker Navy well.
Junior Sarah Zelenka put up Grand Valley’s best performance, breaking the seven-minute mark and earning herself a fourth place finish in the collegiate women’s division. Her impressive time 6:57.2 also put her at number 8 of 223 competitors in the Open Women’s event.
Sarah was happy with her performance and for the opportunity to attend such an event, saying, “I thought the whole experience was amazing. The competition, the intensity, and the amount of large men and women in one place was an experience I will never forget. It was awesome.”
Also competing in the Open Women’s event was sophomore Sam Morgan. Setting a new personal record of 7:17.1, Sam finished 26th in the collegiate division and 35th overall. Tess Gerrand from Yale University won both the open and collegiate event with a quick time of 6:43.2.
In the last event of the afternoon, the heavyweight men also faced some “big” competition. Going up against over 250 guys from around the world that made our varsity eight look small, the Grand Valley representatives finished with some fast times. Junior Geoff Sadek lead the way with a 6:12.1 finish, tying for 39th place overall. Sophomore Ryan League wasn’t far behind, pulling a time of 6:16.2. This was good enough for a 65th open and 52nd collegiate finish. Topping the event with a time of 5:52.4 was Italian Paolo Loriato.
Grand Valley’s lightweights also made an impressive showing at the championships with all four finishing in the top 20 for their event.
On the women’s under-135 side, junior Kelli O’Brien set a personal record with a time of 7:34.9. This gave her a 7th place collegiate and 12th place overall finish. Senior Kristin Granroth placed 11th and 18th, respectively, in the collegiate and lightweight open women categories. Spain’s Sonia Boubeta led the division with a time of 7:10.4.
The lightweight men were part of one of the most exciting races of the afternoon. Junior Adam Cecil was Grand Valley’s fastest in the event, finishing with a time of 6:31.3. This put him in 11th place of the college lightweights and 16th place overall. Senior Tripp Fay was close behind, putting up a time of 6:33.7 and finishing 14th collegiately and 20th out of all the under-165 men. Not only were the two Lakers battling it out in the 2000m race, but they were part of the field that pushed Denmark’s Henrik Stephansen to a new lightweight world record (6:02.2).
All of the athletes were excited for the rest of the year after their races. Geoff Sadek commented, “this was a great opportunity to be surrounded by athletes of the highest caliber. It gives us a chance to bring back more experience and a deeper perspective to our team as we prepare for our spring season.”
The Lakers will continue getting ready for the upcoming racing season with another week of indoor training. Then it’s off to sunny Fellsmere, FL for spring training on Canal 54. The team will get in lots of on-the-water practice and then end the week with the Keuper Cup Regatta and a dual with Georgia Tech.
With the winter season soon drawing to a close, the Lakers are showing they have a lot of potential and can’t wait to get on the water and show what they can do!
Concept II has some interesting features up about the race.
The first link is to watch your race replays compared to everyone in your heat…a stroke by stroke breakdown of your race:
The second has video of everyone that raced in Row A (Ltwt. Men, Ltwt. Women, Open Women):