Archive for March, 2008

Laker’s Host First Regatta of the Season

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

The Grand Valley Rowing Team won what they hope is the first of many team points trophy of the spring at the Don Lubber’s Cup Regatta in Grand Rapids on Saturday.

Both the men’s and women’s varsity 8+’s took home second place finishes after racing some tough competition early in the season. The men’s time of 5:45.40 put them just three seconds behind Division I Michigan. Michigan has won the event several years in a row, but the Lakers have continuously narrowed the gap between them and the Wolverines race and their finish this year shows tremendous potential for the rest of the season.

The women’s crew’s sprint in the final meters of the race proved to be just short of overtaking Notre Dame. Nearly bow to stern at the 500 meter mark, Grand Valley gained some distance back, finishing just a second and a half behind the Irish (6:55.4). The Lakers did, however, come in ahead of the University of Rochester whom they had lost to in the fall.

Grand Valley’s lightweight 8+ and Michigan were neck and neck most of the men’s second varsity 8+ race, but the Laker’s took off during the second thousand and didn’t look back, claiming a first place finish. Their time of 6:22.97 put them ahead of crews from U of M, MSU, Notre Dame, and the University of Rochester.

The women’s novice 8+ also made an impressive showing, blowing away all the competition. Their time of 7:15.78 put them over 20 seconds ahead of Notre Dame and the University of Rochester.

In the novice men’s 8+ race, Grand Valley edged out the University of Michigan to claim a second place finish (6:08.69). Notre Dame won the event with a time of 6:08.69.

The men’s third varsity eight and women’s second varsity eights claimed second and third place finishes, respectively, in their events.

The Laker Navy also sent out several fours to represent the team throughout the day. The women’s varsity four held onto their lead to win their event with a time of 7:43.75. On the men’s side, varsity fours in both the “A” and “B” events took home first place finishes. The novice men and novice women’s squads claimed second place finishes in their events.

After the races were finished, awards were given out to winning crews of the day. We were pleased to have former GSVU president Don Lubbers and his wife Nancy join us for the day and present the Men’s and Women’s Varsity 8+ Cups and commemorative medallions. Don also awarded Grand Valley the Arend D. Lubber’s Cup Overall Team Points Trophy. The Lakers also tied with Michigan for men’s points, but after the tiebreaker, the men’s varsity 8+ race, U of M took home the prize. Notre dame won the women’s team points trophy. Also along for the ceremony was Michele Golightly, office manager of Student Life. She presented the trophy in her honor to Grand Valley’s novice women’s 8+ crew.

Following a day of successful racing, the Laker Navy, friends, and family gathered for their annual banquet at the Grand Haven Community Center. Highlights of the evening were guest speaker alumni Dane Gallagher, the honoring of senior rowers, and comedic presentations by hosts President Dan Vainner and Vice President Kyle LeMoine.

The Laker’s will host another regatta next Saturday this time in Spring Lake at the America’s “Other West Coast” Regatta where they will face crews from Marquette University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Northern Michigan University, Northwestern University men, Ohio State University, and University of Cincinnati.

Laker Navy Ready to Strike

Monday, March 10th, 2008

The Laker Navy battled the elements this weekend but managed to get in some good racing and exceed their coaches’ expectations early in the season.

Following a week of spring break training, GVSU was one of five schools to participate in the Keuper Cup at Canal 54 in Palm Bay, Florida on Saturday. Facing winds of over 30mph, four Grand Valley boats took the water to claim three first place finishes before the regatta was called off due to weather.

The first race of the morning was the women’s varsity 8+. The ladies took a commanding lead over the other crews from Stetson and Florida Tech, finishing 17 seconds ahead of second place with a time of 6:50.0. Taking home the trophy was proof of their huge potential for the upcoming season.

Coach Keith Bowman said of his girls, “ I was really impressed by the focus and work ethic of the women’s team and the team in general [this past week]. They did an outstanding job but the results speak for themselves. It’s an exciting time for Grand Valley Rowing.”

Meanwhile, the varsity men’s 8+ put up an impressive win over defending Dad Vail medalists Florida Tech. The Lakers were the only crew of the morning to break the six-minute mark, finishing with a time of 5:57.6. Florida Tech finished 6:04, with Stetson and Central Florida following behind.

The men’s novice 8+ followed suit, claiming another first place finish. Their time of 6:26 put them ahead of crews from Florida Tech and Stetson. After the races, Coach Mark McIlduff said, “the novice men exceeded my expectations early in the season.”

Though the novice women’s 8+ traveled to Winter Park, FL to race some of their upcoming competition, high winds and boat-swamping waves cancelled that regatta as well. The remaining girls stayed at Canal 54 and competed in the novice 8+ event, finishing in second place behind Stetson.

With conditions too bad to continue, the Laker Navy packed up and headed north to Atlanta for a scrimmage with Georgia Tech. Though the city had temperatures of 70˚F earlier in the week, the crews awoke early Sunday morning to frost on their boats. Nevertheless, all boats made it out on the water for a series of four 1000-meter pieces.

On the men’s side, Grand Valley’s heavyweight and lightweight 8+’s battled it out with Georgia Tech’s JV and varsity, which happens to be the 2007 Dad Vail lightweight 8+ champions. Though there was no dominating crew, both Laker boats showed tremendous speed by keeping up with boats that have been on the water continuously since August.

The women’s side also fared well with both the varsity and novice 8+’s winning several pieces against their Division I competition.

The Laker Navy’s impressive performance this weekend came off of what Coach John Bancheri says is “the best spring training camp of [his] 28 years of coaching.”

“I must say,” he said, “it has been more productive than any other in my career.”

Grand Valley arrived in Palm Bay, FL at Canal 54 last Friday and Saturday for a week of training, team bonding, and the opportunity to get in some good, quality rowing. And that is exactly what they did. The Laker Navy was out on the water for hours every day, working hard and getting used to the feeling of rowing in a boat again. Huge improvements were made every day, and by the end of the week, all the crews were rowing well together. Even Coach Bancheri made it back in a boat, sharpening his sculling skills between the team practices.

“Spring training was awesome,” said McIlduff. “We got in a lot of miles and the warm weather broke the winter doldrums of Allendale.”

The warm weather was a much-needed change from the several inches of snow many team members shoveled every day in order to raise money to go on spring break. But getting onto the water after nearly four long months on the rowing machine was an even better reward for the athletes. However, coaches and rowers alike will admit that, as McIlduff puts it, “the technique work [they] put in on the erg paid off and set [them] up for a successful spring season.”

Along with the 70 rowers and 5 coaches, Grand Valley had some special guest appearances throughout the week. Marietta alumnus and inventor of what is now the Speed Coach Bart Gullong was along for the week, generously providing his time, some tips for the rowers, a launch for the coaches, and even some delicious barbequed food for the team. Three guest coxswains also came to help out the Lakers for the week. This allowed the large team to practice all at once and also to get in some small boat work for seat racing and fine-tuning their skills.

Though rowers don’t get a “normal” spring break because they’re training for the week, there was sill plenty of time for fun, relaxation, and enjoying the beautiful weather. There were several opportunities to go to the beach and play in the waves or lay on the sand. The athletes were also able to enjoy other area attractions, such as the go-cart and bumper boat thrill park. There was even a mid-week team party at Melbourne beach where, along with the ocean, there was plenty of food and games for the rowers to enjoy. Overall, it proved to be a very fun and productive spring break.

Coach Bancheri summed up the week perfectly, saying, “we just ended our precompetition phase of our training program with our first series of races and he results lived up to our capabilities. There is no question our athletes are prepared and our guns loaded. The Laker Navy is going to make a huge impact this spring. I can’t wait to see what our athletes WILL produce at the championship regatta.”

Weather providing, the Lakers will hopefully be back on the water for practice this week and then continue with their racing season next weekend at Notre Dame in Indiana.

Spring Training Underway

Friday, March 7th, 2008

The Grand Valley Rowing team is back on the water! Last Saturday, the team’s 70+ athletes arrived in sunny Florida for Spring training. The serene Canal 54 in Palm Bay has proved itself an ideal location for getting in several hours and lots of miles on the water every day. The crews have been working hard to sharpen their skills and it looks like they’re going to be pretty speedy this upcoming season.

But in between all the practice, there has been a lot of time to enjoy the beautiful weather. The team has had several opportunities to go to the ocean after practice, including a beach party on Wednesday. Though the water was a bit chilly, the rowers all had a great time jumping in the waves, playing sand volleyball, and enjoying the delicious dinner the coaches prepared.

The team will have its first test on Saturday at the Keuper Cup Regatta on Canal 54 where they will face Florida Tech, Stetson, and FRAU. They will then head up a state to race Georgia Tech Sunday morning before heading back to Allendale.

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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