Archive for May, 2009

Lakers Sink Competition at ACRA

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

A hot and humid Oak Ridge, Tennessee was the setting for the culmination of Grand Valley Rowing’s 2009 season, the second annual ACRA Championship Regatta. After a Saturday full of victories and otherwise respectable performances in heats and semifinals, Sunday, May 24th presented the last chance for the team and for many seniors at obtaining victory.

Racing in the petite final at 8:26am Sunday was the GVSU Men’s Pair, with freshmen Tucker Anderson at stroke and Mitch McClane at bow. Eliminated in their semifinal on Saturday, the pair nonetheless won their petite final with a time of 7:48 flat, the third-fastest time of all the pairs, even though they were scored seventh.

The Men’s Double began the Grand Finals for the team at 9:21am, consisting of freshmen Marty Reed and Jimmy Wilkie at bow and stroke, respectively. After a clean start, they were second or third off the line, as both Oklahoma City A and B pulled away from the field. The race primarily became a battle for third between GVSU and Virginia, changing positions numerous times throughout the race. The thousand-meter mark saw Virginia pull away, a move soon countered, though this would leave GVSU struggling through the remainder of the race, through another move at the five hundred and a final, “bronze or bust” sprint at the 250 meter mark. Unfortunately, they would fall short, finishing fourth at a 7:45.7 to Virginia’s 7:39.2, and Oklahoma City A’s winning time of 7:02.1.

Next at 10:45am was the Men’s Freshman/Novice 4, coming in after victories in heats and semifinals and a last-minute lineup change. A high-paced start saw the four briefly pull ahead, but they could not maintain the momentum, fading to sixth around the thousand-meter mark. Ohio State won with a time of 7:00.5, and Grand Valley finished with a time of 7:23.6. Josh Stauber sat bow seat, followed by Topher Jarman, Aaron Gesquiere, and stroke Zak Armstrong; John Nance coxed for the heats and semifinals while Aly Mendels took the duties for the final.

A rapid-fire series of GVSU races started when the Novice Women’s 8 began their race at 11:17am, pulled out front early, and cruised into the third five hundred in second. Soon after they roared past the leading team, Colorado, with what Adam Cecil of the Men’s Varsity 8 described as a “…heroic push, like they gave everything they had.” Unfortunately, Colorado was able to barely retake the lead in the end, with a winning time of 7:18.7; Grand Valley ended up in second with a time of 7:21.7. The lineup consisted of Rachel Kishman at bow, then Mollie Manson, Alex Foster, Lauren Adlof, Emily Zogas, Christina Turner, Lindsay Marshall, stroke Tamara Hillman, and coxswain Robi Scarbrough.

The Men’s Second Varsity 8 took to the water in late morning, with a race time of 11:25. The University of Michigan jumped ahead in a particularly hairy start, with GVSU close behind and Purdue trailing off their port. Despite their efforts, including two fifteen-stroke moves, Michigan remained ahead, winning the event at 6:16.9; Grand Valley succeeded in holding off Purdue, clenching the silver medal with a time of 6:19.7, exactly two seconds ahead of the third-place boat. The Men’s 2V lineup included seniors Scott Feil and Matt Rejc at bow and two seat, sophomore Brendan Sawyer at three, freshmen Jon Havenhill and Marco Benedetti at four and six seat, junior Dan Schoolcraft at five, senior Dan Robertson at seven, and junior Mike Stoll at stroke. Hallie Dorsey coxed, returning after medical leave following a post-Dad Vail car accident.

Shortly after the 2V Men finished, the Women’s Second Varsity 8 began their race, around 11:33am. By the thousand-meter mark GVSU had taken open water on the remainder of the field, something that would not change for the rest of the race. The Women’s 2V8 took the gold with a 7:07.5, almost ten seconds ahead of Rochester in second place, and more than twenty seconds ahead of Ohio State in third. Hannah Brinza, Kari Oshanski, Hana Jones, Lauren Holben, Abby Quisenberry, Alex Vander Ark, Katelin Steigenga, and Renee Chouinard comprised the Women’s 2V lineup, with Becky Turchanik as coxswain.

12:37pm saw the Varsity Women’s 8 victorious with a winning time of 6.41.8, almost nine seconds ahead of Purdue and the University of New Hampshire, who finished with times of 6:50.6 and 6:52.6, respectively. This marked the conclusion of a nearly perfect season of domination for the Varsity Women, a few weeks removed from winning the Division I event at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia. The returning lineup included Leslie Mayville at bow, Kelli O’Brien, Katie Phelen, Kendra Sox, Kelsey Arnold, Laura Marshall, Samantha Morgan, Sarah Zelenka, and coxswain Aly Mendels

The final event, the Grand Final of the Men’s Varsity 8, started at 1:00pm under a light sprinkle. GVSU came off the line around fourth or fifth place with the University of Michigan bringing up the rear; Michigan would shortly walk away from the pack. Grand Valley remained in fifth for the majority of the race up until there were around 250 meters left, before sprinting from fifth to third place, winning the bronze medal and knocking out Dad Vail silver medalists Purdue. “The guys in our boat had a lot of will to fight back like that,” noted senior Adam Cecil. Michigan’s winning time was 5:52.9, second place UC-Davis finished at 6:00.5, with Grand Valley right behind at 6:01.3. A multitude of seniors filled the lineup, with Justin Ott and Adam Cecil filling bow pair and Geoff Sadek and Blake Donovan filling stern pair; middle four consisted of sophomore Pete DiFrisco at three and juniors Breck Davis, Mark McClusky, and Ryan League at four, five, and six. Katie Higgins was their coxswain.

Grand Valley easily won the Women’s Team Points Championship, which, combined with the Men’s third-place showing in points, allowed for GVSU to win the Overall Team Points Championship for the second year in a row. In addition, seniors Blake Donovan and Geoff Sadek were honored with placement on the ACRA Great Lakes All-Regional Team, as were Sam Morgan, Kelsey Arnold, and Sarah Zelenka for the women. Coxswain Katie Higgens and Coach John Bancheri were also honored.

  • Official ACRA Website
  • ACRA 2009 All-Regional Teams
  • ACRA 2009 Regional Coaches of the Year
  • ACRA 2009 Results
  • Lakers Anticipate ACRA

    Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

    After a season of triumph and competition at venues from Florida to Ontario, Grand Valley Rowing prepares to conclude the 2009 season with a return to Melton Lake Reservoir in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The ACRA (American Collegiate Rowing Association) National Championship is scheduled for May 23 and 24; Grand Valley has entered a number of boats. The women’s team brings a Varsity and Second Varsity 8, plus the Novice Women’s 8; the men’s team also boasts a Varsity 8 and Second Varsity 8, and the novice men have been entered in the Varsity Men’s Pair, Varsity Men’s Double, and Men’s Novice 4 events.

    Grand Valley has again been awarded with a number of rowers placed on the 2009 ACRA All-Regional Teams. Seniors Blake Donovan and Geoff Sadek have been honored on the Men’s Great Lakes All-Regional Team, while an unprecedented four students, Kelsey Arnold, Sam Morgan, Sarah Zelenka, and coxswain Katie Higgins, have been honored on the Women’s side. For Sadek, Morgan, and Zelenka, this is the second year in a row they have been honored; 2008 saw all three chosen as ACRA First-Team All-Americans. In addition, Head Coach John Bancheri has been selected as an ACRA Regional Coach of the Year for his work with Grand Valley Rowing’s varsity women.

    Two weeks ago in Philadelphia, Grand Valley rowers challenged the multitude of crews at the Dad Vail Regatta, culminating in the Division I Varsity Women’s 8 taking gold with a time of 6:41.2 and the Division II/III Varsity Women’s 8 taking silver with a time of 6:53.8; the Men’s Varsity 8 finished fifth in the Grand Final, while the Men’s Second Varsity 8 took bronze, defeating Michigan, Purdue, and Delaware. Grand Valley narrowly missed the team point championship, finishing third with 29 points, one point shy of a tied University at Buffalo and University of Delaware.

    The inaugural ACRA Regatta last year saw Grand Valley as the Team Points National Champions, in addition to a third place in the Men’s Varsity 8, gold medals for the Men’s Lightweight 4 and Women’s J/V 8, silver in the Men’s Pair, and fourth for the Women’s Varsity 8. Heats for the 2009 Regatta begin Saturday morning, May 23.

  • Official ACRA Website
  • ACRA 2009 All-Regional Teams
  • ACRA 2009 Regional Coaches of the Year
  • ACRA 2009 Itinerary
  • GVSU Laker Navy Strikes Gold in Philadelphia

    Saturday, May 9th, 2009

    The 71st Dad Vail Regatta kicked off to a flurry with windy and rainy conditions. Because of this the regatta shifted all Friday racing to a 1500 meter time trial. This time trial seeded crews based on their finish for the semi-finals and finals on Saturday, May 9th. The Laker Navy came off to a fast start and was able to qualify seven out of eight boats for the Saturday competition.

    The semi-final racing on Saturday was highlighted by tremendous performances performed by both men’s and women’s varsity eights. For the men, the race was won in that start and controlled through the bridge and island. The semi placed GVSU at a time of 5:38.6 over Purdue at 5:40.2, Jacksonville at 5:41.8, and 2009 SIRA Champion FIT at 5:42.9.

    The morning racing saw the Lakers win two other semi-finals as well.  The women’s first varsity eight won the D1 semi in a time of 6:23.0 ahead of St. Joseph’s 6:30.2. The women’s second varsity eight also raced up a division and won the varsity semi for the DII/DIII Club race in a time of 6:51.8 over Seattle-Pacific in a time of 6:54.6.

    Early semi-finals also saw the Lakers compete in the Novice Men’s eight, Novice Women’s eight, and Novice Men’s four. All three boats failed to qualify for the grand finals following the semi-finals.

    All four GVSU eights that qualified for the afternoon grand finals represented the university in grand fashion. To start off the afternoon, GVSU raced at 12:00pm in the Men’s Varsity Heavyweight eight. In a tightly contested race off of the start line, the Lakers found themselves down to the University of Michigan by four seats heading into Strawberry Mansion Bridge. At the bridge, the eight caught a boat stopping crab and quickly fell off the pace of the contending boats. In the end, GVSU finished the race in fifth place in a time of 6:03.8. The winners were University of Michigan with a time of 5:54.4, followed by Purdue University at 5:57.7 and Fordham 6:00.6.

    The GVSU Varsity Women’s eight immediately followed the men’s final at 12:07pm. The Lady Lakers got off to a commanding start and controlled the race throughout. Their strength in the head wind favored the women down the race course as they powered through the choppy waters. In the end, GVSU was earned a gold medal in the D1 varsity women’s eight grand final in a time of 6:41.2 ahead of U of Buffalo at 6:45.2 and Saint Joseph’s at 6:46.8. Buffalo’s Director of Rowing Rudy Wieler commented to Head Coach John Bancheri, “John, I want you to know that your gals beat a good crew today.” Coach Bancheri responded, “Rudy, coming from one of the great teachers of our sport and coaching mentors of mine, that was the greatest compliment I heard all day.”

    Next up was the GVSU DII/DIII Varsity Women’s eight (this was our 2nd varsity eight, with a coxswain, Allie Mendels-FR who is only in her 1st semester in the sport). In another quick final, the Lakers rowed strong through the wind but were unable to catch the Mercyhurst crew who powered to a length lead in the first 1000 meters. In the end, GVSU finished an impressive second place to Mercyhurst at 6:50.2 and themselves at 6:53.8.

    The final race for GVSU was the Men’s Second Varsity eight at 1:40pm. The men overcame a difficult start to fight back into the pack at the bridge. The Lakers used a strong move to get into the mix and finished with a sprint ahead of the University of Michigan to move into third place. The race finished with Temple in first, Jacksonville in second, and GVSU at third.

    The Dad Vail Regatta finished in the early afternoon with the University of Buffalo and University of Delaware tying for first place in the team’s point trophy with 30 points. The Grand Valley State University finished third with a total of 29 points. This marks the second straight year that GVSU has placed in the top three in team points at the Dad Vail Regatta. The Lakers will take the following two weeks to train for the American Collegiate Regatta Association National Championship in Oak Ridge, TN on Memorial Day weekend…

    GVSU Wins MACRA Trophy for 2nd Consecutive Year

    Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

    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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