by Dayna Campbell
The Grand Valley crew all arrived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee on Friday, April 16th late afternoon and had the opportunity to row a few laps of the course before races started on Saturday Morning. “This was extremely beneficial for the novice team because this course is unlike any other. Getting the feel of the water and course prior to racing, can make or break a boat,” says sophomore Rachel Kishman.
Racing officially began early Saturday morning for the Novice Men’s 4. Their lineup included Aaron Glidden (FR) at stroke, Chris Deneau (FR), Chris Picklo (SO), Denis Dembeck (FR) at bow, and Jeremy Shaumann (FR) coxing from the bow. They qualified for the semi-finals with a 2nd place finish just behind the strong competition of Temple allowing them to make a grand final appearance. Shortly after the Men’s launch, the Novice Women’s 4 took to the start. Emily Hubbard (FR) at stroke, Rebecca Kardel (FR), Megan Kennedy (SO), Aryn Rynkterink (SO) at bow, and Macy Spalsbury in the coxswain seat took off quick out of the start and landed in a comfortable 1st place finish as well as a 2nd place finish in the semi-finals.
The Novice Men’s 8 was next on the heat sheet. Chad Condon (FR) at stroke, Keegan Jahnke (FR), Adam Krusniac (FR), Jake Bouwman (FR), Justin Wegner (FR), Robbie DeWeerd (SO), Jake Blossfeld (FR), Tyler Selllmer (SO) at bow, and Andrew Saelens coxing from the stern, held a strong race to the finish reaching 2nd place to Delaware. Later in their semi-final race, they took 2nd again falling just short of St. Joe’s. The Novice Women’s 8 followed quickly behind. Carey Mankins (FR) lead the boat at stroke followed by Jessica Vogl (FR), Beth Czarnecki (SO), Amy Brunner (FR), Beth Parks (FR), Chelsea Shoop (FR), Becca Studder (FR), Amy Bush (FR) at bow, and Jordan Hart (SO) the coxswain to a well deserved 1st place finish in the heats and another first place finish in the semi’s.
Following the novice 8 races, the Women’s Varsity 4 took to the course. Kari Oshanski (SR), Nikki Roberts (SO/novice), Krista Rapisarda (JR), Hanna Jones (SO) and Jordan Hart (SO) took 1st place finish in their heats and a 4th place finish in their semi to Emory, qualifying the crew for the petite final.
Starting in mid-morning, the Men’s JV 8 took an extremely close second place finish in their heat to Notre Dame. The line up included Tucker Anderson (SO) at stroke seat, Aaron Gestquiere (SO), Marty Reed (SO), Zak Armstrong (SO), Andrew Z (FR), Peter Z (FR), Jerry Jarvis (SR), and Dan Schoolcraft (SR) at bow seat, with Dayna Campbell (SO) as their coxswain. The Division II Varsiry Women’s 8 completed a strong heats race finishing in a solid 1st place. Tamara Hillman (SO) was at stroke seat, followed by Lauren Adlof (SO), Lindsay Marshall (SO), Abby Quisenberry Lauren Holben (SR), Emily Zogas (SO), Christina Turner (SO), Rachel Kishman (SO) at bow, and Mollie Manson (SO) keeping the girls going strong from the coxswain’s seat.
The afternoon stated off with the Varsity Men’s 8 winning their heat. Mike Stoll (SR), Brendan Sawyer (JR), Jeff Slater (SR), Breck Davis (SR), Mitch McClain (SO), Jimmy Wilkie (SO), Marco Benedetti (SO), and Scott Feil (SR) in bow seat were coxed to the finish by Hallie Dorsey (SO). Following the men was the Varsity Women’s 8 coxed by Aly Mendels (SO). In stroke was Sam Mogan (SR), follwed by Kelsey Arnold (JR), Alex Vander Ark (SR), Laura Marshall (JR), Katie Phelan (JR), Kendra Socks (SR), Leslie Mayville (JR), and Hannah Brinza at bow.
On Sunday, April 18, 2010, the final races of the SIRA regatta were held. The morning started off strong with the Novice Women’s 4 getting a 3rd place finish with a time of 8:13.9 behind Florida Tech. Just after the women, the Novice Men’s 4 raced hard, but finished in 6th place with a time of 7:22.6.
The Novice Women’s 8 kept Grand Valley on the course with a big win for the girls. Their first place victory was with a time of 7:27.6. “We were just hoping to row well out there,” Jordan Hat said. “Getting first in our heats and semi-finals certainly felt great, but we didn’t want to expect anything. Now we know that we can row together as a crew under strong competition.” The Men’s Novice 8 raced in their grand final debut finishing 5th with a time of 6:29.8 and Virginia taking the first place spot.
After a close 2nd place finish to Purdue and being placed in the petite final, the JV Men’s 8 finished at the top with a time of 6:35.2. “This weekend was a great learning experience,” said stroke seat Tucker Anderson. “The boat really came together and after a week of really hard practices and we are ready to see how much speed we can gain for ACRA,” 2-seat Jerry Jarvis added. Another petite final showing was for the Women’s Varsity 4. They also took first place with a time of 8:31.0.
Starting off the afternoon was the Division II Women’s Varsity 8’s grand final. It was a fight to the finish, and the women took 2nd to Mercyhurst with a time of 7:04.2. The next crew to race was the Women’s Varsity 8.
The Women’s Varsity 8 final saw some great competition in the other crews, especially Purdue, who they were able to beat in the semi-finals. The other boats in the race were quick off the start line, but Grand Valley settled into a strong body of the race and moved through Tulsa and Alabama and into Indiana and Oklahoma by the 1000 meter mark. Purdue established their lead in the last 500 meters of the race, and Indiana and Oklahoma nudged out Grand Valley in a very tight finish. Grand Valley placed 4th in a time of 6:56.43, behind Indiana in third (6:56.05) and Oklahoma in second (6:55.09). Purdue won the event with a time of 6:50.60.
Laura Marshall, five seat of the Varsity 8, said, “I think we definitely pulled as hard as we could, but in the next few weeks we have to make up speed with focus and technical adjustments. But we know that our heart and our drive is there.” She also appreciated the competition the team faced at SIRA, saying, “The race today gave us a sense of exactly how fast our competition is. In the practices to come, our focus is to make up the ground we missed today. We have a real goal of catching them come Dad Vail.”
The Men’s Varsity 8 saw some fast competition in the Grand Finals in the last event of the day. They started off even with most of the field, with Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) jumping out to a quick lead in the first 500 meters of the race. Grand Valley remained composed coming into the 1,000 meter mark and made an aggressive move to take some seats back on the field. FIT continued to keep their bow in the lead, with overlap on Temple, University of Virginia, and Jacksonville University. Grand Valley continued to fight back coming into the 1,500 meter mark, moving back up on Virginia and Jacksonville. Increasing the rating, the men took some seats but ran out of room on their sprint to catch the leading crews. The results were as follows: FIT (6:10.6), Temple (6:13.08), University of Virginia (6:14.36), Jacksonville University (6:15.04), Grand Valley (6.17.47), and Marietta College (6:17.8).
Breck Davis, senior co-captain, said, “We did everything we could. We raced a couple beats higher than we have been training at and I definitely think we have some speed to gain and hope to do so in the next few weeks.” Scott Feil, also a senior, had this to say, “We raced it up as hard as we could. The field was really deep this year and we were right there in the thick of things. This weekend was a good indicator of our speed, but we feel like we have some room to improve as we approach the Dad Vail.”
Head Coach John Bancheri said, “This past weekend I feel our team performed well. However, there is no question that we have more speed to gain over the next few weeks. As we go into our speed cycle, our athletes will learn to adapt technically and keep up with the speed of the boat. I believe we can gain one to two lengths in that time. In retrospect, looking at the individual results there were many strong performances. Of the nine boats entered, we put seven into the grand final. We were also the only school to have representatives in three varsity eight grand finals. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our athletes, coaches, institution, and everyone involved with GVSU rowing, especially the parent involvement which was fantastic this weekend.”