Archive for May, 2008

2008 Individual Team Awards

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Congratulations to our 2008 Individual Award winners!

Male Athlete of the Year: Geoffrey Sadek
Female Athlete of the Year: Sarah Zelenka

Most Improved, Men’s Crew: Lisa Malloure (Coxswain of Men’s V8)
Most Improved, Women’s Crew: Kendra Socks

Lakers Win National Championship

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

The Grand Valley Rowing Team captured the National Championship this past weekend by winning the overall team point’s trophy at the inaugural American Collegiate Rowing Association Regatta in Oklahoma City. With four of five boats medaling at the event, the Lakers made quite an impressive showing against some of the top club teams from across America.

Coach John Bancheri was very excited with the results and said of the races, “this event is a culmination of nine months of hard work by all of our athletes and coaches. The support system from the university, student senate, alumni, and parents made available the tools to have the most successful season of Grand Valley history. Winning the team point’s trophy at this national event was a fantastic honor for our club and university. Every athlete and every boat in our program contributed to our success and we are thrilled with the results of this year.”

In the 7-boat straight final of the Men’s Lightweight 4+, a collision between Michigan and Washington University in the first few strokes forced a restart. In the new race, all boats were nearly even at the 500-meter mark. But that’s when Grand Valley made their move, walking on the field and gaining an open water lead by the halfway point. The Lakers held the top spot for the rest of the race, crossing the finish line five seconds ahead of second place Washington University to capture Grand Valley’s first individual national championship.

After an undefeated season and a Dad Vail victory, the Women’s Novice 8+ decided to up their level and row in the junior varsity race. A lack of entered crews, however, combined events and they found themselves facing novice, JV, and lightweight opponents. But yet again, no one could match the Lakers as they sailed through the finish line five seconds ahead of their competition with a time of 7.33.422. As the women accepted their national championship gold medals, they were presented with awards for winning both the novice and JV/lightweight events.

In the Men’s Varsity Pair final, Pittsburg and Oklahoma took off to an early lead. Grand Valley was in a fight for third for the first 1000 meters, but broke away from the pack, gaining on the leaders with every stroke. With about 750 left to go, the Lakers made their move, walking through Oklahoma into the second place spot. They continued to open up water until the finish line where they claimed silver medals.

In the Men’s Varsity 8+ Grand Final, the Lakers were given another chance against season rivals University of Michigan and Dad Vail champions Purdue University. A little over halfway through the race, the top three crews- Michigan, Purdue, and Grand Valley- had distinguished themselves from the pack. But the Wolverines were too much to overcome as they crossed the finish line first with a time of 6.26.066. In the fight for second, an amazing final sprint by the Lakers fell just short of catching the Boilermakers (6.33.791). Coming in at a time of 6.35.777, the Lakers captured an impressive third place finish against some high-caliber competition.

Though earning the top seed, nothing seemed to go right for the Women’s Varsity 8+ in the Grand Final. Right off the start, their boat was pushed into shore and to a dead stop. Not giving up, the Lakers shoved off the rocks and surged forward, quickly walking on the other crews into first place. But 1000 meters in they ran into another obstacle- literally. Just avoiding a full-speed crash with a bridge embankment, the Lakers shoved off and started up yet again in an all-out sprint to the finish. Now realizing their missing rudder, Grand Valley kept fighting, catching the pack but falling just a second short of a bronze medal. Ohio State won the event. Though a disappointing finish, their determination against the odds showed just how strong of a crew they are.

For many of the athletes, ACRA was their last race of the season. However, some will continue on to represent Grand Valley in England this coming June. “We are being given the opportunity to compete at the Royal Henley Regatta at Henley-on-the-Thames,” said Coach Bancheri. “We know that our men’s and women’s eights will continue to increase their boat speed in the coming weeks and will represent Grand Valley State at a very high level at this world class event. Following this year we look forward for greater things to come.”

Lakers Have Team Best Performance at Dad Vail Regatta

Monday, May 12th, 2008

The Laker Navy’s performance at the 2008 Dad Vail Championship is one that will not soon be forgotten. Of the seven boats that made it to the regatta, two took home gold, another, silver, and three more made it to the Grand Final. These impressive finishes gave the team some big points, putting the women’s team third in points and the men fourth. Combined, Grand Valley’s 32 points was just four behind overall winner Purdue University. The second place finish, however, was the best in Grand Valley history.

A boat made up of all lightweights, the Men’s JV 8+ found themselves up against some “big” competition. But after blazing through the finish line three seconds ahead of the competition, the Men’s JV 8+ became the first Grand Valley men’s eight to win Dad Vail gold. Though sailing through heats and semifinals, the Lakers were in a close race in the final. But that was only until they made their move. From there it was Grand Valley all the way, finishing with a time of 5:48.801 to take the Ernie Bayer Trophy.

The Women’s Novice 8+ continued on their undefeated season, dominating the competition and bringing home Dad Vail gold. Of the 30 crews in the event, several of which were Division I programs, none could match the Lakers as they went on to take first place in their heat, semi, and final. Coming in at a time of 6:39.824, Grand Valley finished 5 seconds and open water ahead of second place St. Joe’s before making their way to the medals dock.

After sailing through heats and a comeback victory in semis, the Women’s Varsity 8+ was ready to take on defending champions Dowling in the DII, DIII, Club event. Though the Lakers closed the gap from last year, Dowling proved to be speedy again, claiming the gold with a time of 6:43.384. But Grand Valley found themselves in another fight, one with Mercyhurst for the second place spot. This time it was the Lakers that came out ahead, finishing a bow ball ahead of third with a time of 6:48.133 to bring home silver for the third year in a row.

After first place finishes in heats and semis, the Men’s Varsity 8+ earned themselves a top spot in the Grand Final. A close race put the top five crews in medal contention coming into the last 500 meters. Though the top three pulled ahead, the Lakers were neck in neck with Jacksonville for the fourth place spot. After a photo finish, Grand Valley came up just short, their time of 5:55.371 putting them a tenth of a second behind. Purdue won with a time of 5:47.402 with Colgate and Temple following close behind.

In an amazing sprint in the last 500 meters of the Men’s Novice 8+ semifinal, the Lakers edged out North Carolina by half a second to claim a second place finish and a spot in the Grand Final. They fought hard to stick with the fast competition, but their effort put them shy of a medal. Grand Valley finished with a time of 6:05.412, less than a second off of fifth place. Delaware won the event at 5:48.857.

In only their second regatta in the pair, senior Ashley Robinson and Lauren Holben made an impressive showing in the Women’s Varsity 2- event. After winning their heat and a decisive second place finish in semis, they earned themselves a spot in the Grand Final. The Lakers stuck with the pack for most of the race, but in the end came up short of a medal, finishing sixth out of the 21 boats in their race.
With over 50 boats in the event, the Men’s Varsity 4+ faced some fast competition. In a tough heat, the Lakers came up just short of making it on to semifinals, finishing in fourth place. St. Thomas won the entire event.

Select crews will go on to compete at the American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship Regatta May 24-25 in Oklahoma City. After their successful Dad Vail finish, the Lakers look forward to facing some of the top club crews in the nation and putting up another impressive performance.

Lakers Impressive at MACRA

Monday, May 5th, 2008

The Grand Valley Rowing Team dominated at the Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship this past weekend, winning the overall team point’s trophy for the first time in the regatta’s 22-year history. On their way, five of ten Laker crews snagged first place finishes with two others also bringing home medals.

The Varsity Men’s 8+ crossed the finish line with a commanding lead over the competition, earning themselves gold medals. After sailing through heats, the Lakers really showed what they could do in the final, crushing second-best Mercyhurst by twelve seconds and finishing with a time of 6:14.96

After one of the boats scratched, heats for the Varsity Women’s 8+ were canceled, sending them straight to finals. The Lakers were neck and neck with Mercyhurst for the first half of the race until Grand Valley started to pull away at the turn. At about 700 meters left, the Lakers really made their move, taking another three seats on Mercyhurst and staying that way until the finish. GVSU crossed the line first with a time of 7:21.13.

After MSU scratched, the Men’s Second Varsity 8+ ended up in a lane next to rivals Mercyhurst College. The Lakers found themselves behind in the first 500, but fought back even by the turn. That’s when the Lakers made their move, pulling ahead and waling away the rest of the race. Their time of 6:25.50 put them ahead of Mercyhurst and the rest of the competition to take home gold.

The Novice Women’s 8+ was impressive again as they won both their heat and final essentially uncontested, beating Ohio State to take the gold by 15 seconds and posting a time of 7:02.17. The girls remain undefeated through the spring season.

The Men’s Novice 8+ had an epic race, defeating Dayton and Ohio State on their way to a first place finish. After easily sailing through their heat, the Lakers had to fight in their final. But after rowing a personal best race, the competition was no match for Grand Valley as their time of 6:13.22 beat second place by four seconds.

In their first time in the pair this season, Ashley Robinson and Lauren Holben rowed a solid race to a second place finish in the Women’s Varsity Pair. Boat lengths ahead of the other crews, the ladies showed their awesome potential for the Dad Vail.

The Women’s Second Varsity 8+ finished out their season with a bang, bringing bronze medals home with them. The Lakers fought hard to stick with the top two boats, leaving the rest of the crews definitively behind them.

After a decisive second place finish in heats, the Varsity Men’s 4+ earned a spot to compete for MACRA gold. An impressive start put the Lakers in second place through the thousand-meter mark, but they fell just short of a medal, ending the race in fourth place with a time of 6:55.92. The four gets another chance against first and second place Mercyhurst and Dayton at this weekend’s Dad Vail.

Jumping out of the four and into the Men’s Varsity Pair were Justin Ott and Mark McClusky for their third race of the day. Their time of 7:39.16 granted them a fourth place finish.

Though stuck in the fastest heat, the Novice Women’s 4+ finished their last race of the season strong with their best performance yet. The Lakers dropped over a minute off their time throughout the spring, but came up just short of making the final by finishing third in their heat.

After a strong performance this weekend, the Lakers will then train in Parkersburg, West Virginia until Wednesday. They will then make their way to Philadelphia, PA for the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta May 9-10 where they hope to put forth an equally impressive performance.

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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