The Laker Navy sent their flagships to Boston, MA this weekend to compete in the 45th Annual Head of the Charles Regatta on October 18th. The annual event is the world’s largest regatta and attracts the top oarsmen nationally and internationally. The Lakers return home having completed their most successful campaign out east in the history of the program. The weather conditions this year were brutal as the rowers had to battle high winds and a wintery mix of rain and cold. Both eights that travelled battled through the difficulties and performed outstanding.
The women raced in the collegiate eight and covered the course in a first place time of 17:47.3. The event saw reigning DIII NCAA champion Williams College follow in at 18:01.2. The winning time gave GVSU the title over 35 boats competing in their event from top programs around the country and Canada. The boat consisted of stroke seat Sam Morgan (SR), Laura Marshall (JR), Katie Phelan (SR), Kelsey Arnold (JR), Alex VanderArk (SR), Kendra Socks (SR), Leslie Mayville (JR), bow seat, Hannah Brinza (JR), and cox, Aly Mendals (SO). Senior captain Sam Morgan said, “We wanted to go for it early and see if we could pass some boats out front. Once we were able to catch some of them, the momentum carried us over the course to the finish. It was a lot of fun out there today.”
The men also competed in the collegiate eight against 38 other entries. They powered to a third place finish in a time of 15:54.3 behind Williams College at 15:33.9 and Trinity College at 15:35.3. The finish marked an improvement over back-to-back fourth place finished in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The lineup sat stroke Mike Stoll (SR), Brendan Sawyer (JR), Jeff Slater (SR), Breck Davis (SR), Marco Benedetti (SO), Seth Koch (SO), Kyle Dara (JR), bow, Scott Feil (SR), and coxswain Hallie Dorsey (SO). Senior captain Mike Stoll commented, “The conditions were nasty. I was eager to see how we would handle it. I thought the guys were composed and rowed a great race. I am excited to see the continued development of the younger guys as our season moves forward.”
The results at this years regatta marked Head Coach John Bancheri’s most successful campaign at the Head of the Charles. He stated, “I was extremely proud of both crews today. To see GVSU competing and more than holding their own against these prestigious universities says a lot about the program as a whole. I thought everyone executed a good race plan and performed to their capabilities. I was especially proud of sophomore coxswains Dorsey and Mendels. This is not an easy course to steer in the first place, and the conditions created added pressure. I thought they did a fantastic job out there today.”
The race was GVSU’s first of the fall season. The rest of the Laker Navy raced in East Lansing against Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Northern Michigan University, and Michigan Tech University. They will continue training and compete in the upcoming weeks at Grand Rapids and Indianapolis, IN.