Archive for May, 2011

Grand Valley scores successful four-peat at ACRA

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Heat and Humidity were obstacles for the Grand Valley Rowing team at the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship in Gainesville, Georgia along with fierce competition. Throughout the weekend, sustained heat and humidity persisted, challenging rowers and coxswains to stay hydrated. However, in the end, things would work out for the Lakers, as Grand Valley Rowing succeeded in scoring its Fourth straight ACRA Women’s and ACRA Overall Team Points Championships, continuing its winning streak since the inaugural ACRA Championship.

Saturday’s heats and semifinals went well for the Lakers, with a Men’s Double, Men’s Novice 4+, Men’s Novice Lightweight 4+, a Women’s Varsity 8+, Women’s Novice 8+, Women’s Novice 4+, Women’s Junior Varsity 8+, and a Women’s Single making it to the Grand Finals

The Women’s Varsity 8+, coxed by Vanessa Dean and rowed by Hannah Brinza, Lauren Adlof, Lindsay Marshall, Carey Mankins, Kelsey Arnold, Kathryn Phelan, Laura Marshall, and Leslie Mayville, took First in their preliminary heat with a time of 7:00.40. The women placed second in the Grand Finals behind Purdue University, finishing with a time of 6:46.2 to Purdue’s 6:43.2. Senior, Kelsey Arnold, stated that “it was a good way to end four years of rowing for it was a great fight and Purdue was just a faster crew. She also stated that “After the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, we really wanted to beat Purdue and I am glad that we got another shot.”

The Men’s Varsity 8+, coxed by Hallie Dorsey and rowed by Jimmy Wilkie, Chad Condon, Zak Armstrong, Justin Wegner, Robert DeWeerd, Ben Steele, Brendan Sawyer, and Marco Benedetti, took second in their heat with a time of 6:07.27 and in their semifinal they took fourth place with a time of 6:06.20 to UC-Irvine’s 6:04.60, who took third. The Men’s Varsity 8+ raced in the Petite Final and took third with a time of 6:05.5 to Michigan State and Purdue. Senior Captain and seven seat, Brendan Sawyer, stated that “we are disappointed that we didn’t make the Grand Final but we left everything we had on the course.”

The Women’s Novice 8+, coxed by KT Lamour and rowed by Alese Garstick, Molly Visel, Kylen Patterman, Liz Webb, Shelby Welbaum, Anna Hunt, Amanda Paul, and Mia Edelhauser, won their heat with a winning time of 7:13.90 and also won their Grand Final with a winning time of 7:02.4.

The Men’s Novice 8+ , coxed by Christopher Simon and rowed by Stefan Kuklish, Dominic Conybeare, Costas Ciungan, Tom Nieman, Zach Whittle, Ken Pierson, Ed Advena , and Adam Wlodkowski, took fourth in their heat advancing them to the semi-final. In their Semi-final, they narrowly missed the Grand Finals with a fourth place finish and a time of 6:20.5 behind UC- Santa Barbara’s 6:19.8. The Men’s Novice 8+ advanced to the Petite final and won their Petite final with a winning time of 6:14.3.

The First Grand Valley boat to compete on Sunday in a Grand Final was the Women’s Single, resulting in a Third place finish for Krista Rapisarda and Grand Valley Rowing with a finishing time of 9:31.4.

The Men’s Double, rowed by Chris Picklo and Peter Zwierzynski, took Second in their Heat with a time of 7:34.98, which advanced them to the Grand Finals. In the Finals they took Fifth with a time of 7:27.1.

The Men’s Novice Lightweight 4+, coxed by Kyle Barnhart and rowed by Zachary Miller, Anthony Anzell, Kevin Albrecht, and Stephen Brown, took Second in their Grand Final with a time of 6:48.5 and was narrowly beaten by Michigan’s 6:48.4.

The Men’s Novice 4+, coxed by Tamara Hillman and rowed by Jacob Dec, Sam Fearnow, Justin VanPortfliet, and Tim Robertson, took Third in their Heat, with a time of 7:04.26, which advanced them to the Semi-Finals. In their Semi-Final they took Third with a time of 7:15.10 which advanced them to the Grand Final. In their Final they took Fifth with a time of 6:57.6.

The Women’s Novice 4+, coxed by Marissa Ellswood and rowed by Sarah Richter, Jordan Crandell, Maddie DeVoe, and Kersten O’Brien, won their Heat with a time of 8:30.9, which advanced them to the Grand Final. In their final they took Fourth with a time of 8:19.9.

The Women’s Junior Varsity 8+, coxed by Jordan Hart and rowed by Hanna Jones, Beth Czarnecki, Amy Brunner, Nichole Hagoort, Jessica Vogl, Rebecca Studer, Mollie Manson, and Christina Turner, won their Grand Final with a winning time of 6:56.1.

The Men’s Varsity 4+, coxed by Jeremy Schumann and rowed by Tucker Anderson, Jacob Bouwman, Marty Reed, and Keegan Jahnke, took Sixth in their Heat with a time of 6:54.66, which placed them into a Semi-Final to determine who would advance to the C or D Final. They won their Semi-Final with a winning time of 7:11.3, which placed them into the C final. In the C final they took Second with a time of 6:49.5.

The Men’s Single, rowed by Tom Sawicki, took Fifth in his Heat with a time of 8:23.42, which advanced him to the petite final. He won his petite final with a winning time of 8:14.2.

The Men’s Varsity Pair, rowed by Tyler Sellmer and Andrew Zwierzynski, took Fifth in their Heat with a time of 7:40.87, placing them into the C final. They won their C final with a winning time of 7:31.8.

The ACRA National Championship had a great deal of fantastic racing and the Lakers were successful enough across the board to defend their Overall Team Points Championship, a title they have defended since the first ACRA, alongside the ACRA Women’s Team Points Championship.

Lakers armed and dangerous for ACRA

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Grand Valley Rowing is traveling to Gainesville, Georgia this weekend to participate in the 2011 American Collegiate Rowing Association National Championship. The Lakers are looking to resolve their season on a high note. Grand Valley Rowing has won the Team Points Championship at the inaugural ACRA National Championship in 2008 and then repeated as champions in 2009 and 2010. Looking for a four-peat, GVSU will be sending nearly the entire squad to Gainesville to help earn team points.

Leading the charge will be the Men’s and Women’s Varsity Eights, The Men took Second at Lubbers cup and fell just short of the Grand Finals at Dad Vail, but are looking to peak at the right time and will be hoping to improve on last year’s finish at the ACRA National Championship Regatta. The women took First at the Knecht Cup and placed Third at Dad Vail and will be looking to end their season well this weekend.

Other entries include the Men’s and Momen’s Novice eights. The Novice Men and Women have had a more roller coaster season, but have picked up speed in the weeks leading up to the regatta and are looking to improve on past performances.

Grand Valley Rowing will also field multiple small boats this weekend. Leading that contingent will be the Men’s Varsity Four. Joining the four will be a Men’s Pair, a Men’s Novice Lightweight Four, and a Men’s Double. On the women’s side, the Lakers will be rowing a Women’s Varsity Four, a Novice Four, a Junior Varsity Eight, and one Women’s Single.

The Lakers will arrive in Gainesville, Georgia early Friday for a practice. The heats and semi-finals will take place on Saturday, with the grand finals on Sunday.

Two Bronze Medals: 2011 Dad Vail Regatta

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

The Grand Valley rowing team, after a spring season saturated with squalls, prepared for the worst as they headed for Philly –especially after last year’s famed 40 mph gusts that churned the Schuylkill, blew boats from trailers, and eventually postponed the racing.  But this year, the water was as smooth as the bladework for the Laker Navy, who qualified seven of nine boats for semifinals and took bronze in the Women’s DI Varsity 8+. 

            The DI Varsity Women’s 8+ took third in their final in a time of 6:43.43 to Purdue (6:38.49) and Old Dominion (6:38.82).  The GVSU bronze medalists were proud to represent the work of numerous coaches, including Dennis Kamrad, who in his successful decades of coaching has never before had a boat medal in the Women’s DI Varsity event at Vails.  He cited the girls’ dedication and relationship with each other as a strongpoint of their racing ability.  “I’ve never seen a group of girls with your focus,” he told them, hugging each girl in turn.

            The Men’s Varsity 8+ qualified for the petite final after taking fourth in their semi, and rowed to a fourth place finish in petites with a time of 6:00.25.  Drexel won the petite (5:52.98), and Michigan won the Men’s Varsity 8 event overall (5:48.05).  Junior captain Marco Benedetti says, “The petite was our best race this year.  We executed where we needed to and made some good moves.”

            The Novice Men’s Lightweight 8+ took bronze in their final event, a race which GVSU has not entered in recent memory.  The men’s novice team this year retained unprecedented numbers, enabling two novice eights to race, one heavyweight and the other light. Lightweight Dominic Kootsillas-Conybeare said, “After MACRA my boat trained with a chip on our shoulders. For the past couple of weeks we’ve had the most intense focus I’ve ever seen from my fellow athletes. Even though we only earned third place, I know we all left it on the water, and being an athlete that’s what it’s all about.”

            The DII Varsity Women’s 8+ took first in their heat which propelled them straight to their final, where they rowed to a fourth-place finish in 7:08.41.  The girls rowed a courageous race, moving in and out of positioning before falling short of third place in the final 500 meters.  Rival Mercyhurst won the event in a time of 7:00.15.

            The JV Men’s 8+ took fourth in a competitive semi-final by just over two seconds in a time of 6:17.29.  Although they did not advance to the final event, Tyler Sellmer says the race was well-executed.  “We were a fast boat in a fast event.  We followed our race plan and gained seven seconds from the heat to the semi,” he said.  “But it wasn’t enough.  And it shows how competitive the JV8 event is.”

            The Novice Women’s 8+ and Novice Heavyweight Men’s 8+ rowed tight semi-final races, both falling just short of the qualifying position.  The men raced the course in a time of 6:21.80 to Florida U’s 6:15.07 and Virginia’s 6:12.62.  The Novice Women took fourth in their semi, missing first place by about a second and a half in an incredibly competitive battle to qualify for the final.  The girls rowed the course in 7:16.72 to University of Massachusetts, Drexel, and Villanova.

            GVSU also entered two 4+s: a Women’s Varsity 4+ and a Novice 4+.  Although neither boat advanced to finals, the Varsity 4+ qualified for semifinals in a time of 8:08.83 and the Novice 4+ rowed in the fastest heat of the day, which included the eventual winner, Emory.  Grand Valley also entered the single event in its exhibition year.   In his first year of sculling and his first 2k race, junior Chris Picklo took fifth in his heat. 

            Overall, Grand Valley demonstrated its depth in semifinals and faced incredible competition during Saturday’s racing with enthusiasm.  The athletes feel they performed to the best of their abilities in the near-ideal conditions on the Schuylkill and look forward to continued gains in speed in the weeks before their season’s conclusion in Gainesville, Georgia, at ACRA.

Reflections on day one of racing of the Dad Vail Regatta

Friday, May 13th, 2011

By Jimmy Wilkie, bow seat of Men’s Varsity 8+

With an impressive effort, the Grand Valley State University Rowing Team excelled over the Dad Vail competition and was able to qualify 7 out of 9 boats for the semi-finals. The Women’s DII+DIII Varsity heavyweight 4+ started the day off with a close race finishing less than a second behind FIT to qualify for the semi-final. The Men’s Varsity Heavyweight 8+ placed second and put up a great fight with third-seeded Williams. The Women’s DII Varsity Heavyweight 8+ took first place by less than a second over Nova Southeastern. The Women’s Varsity Heavyweight 8+ earned a victory over its competitors, moving them through to the semi-finals. The Men’s Freshman Heavyweight 8+ took 3rd place by less than a second to make it to the semi-finals. The Grand Valley Women’s Heavyweight Freshman 8+ placed second and looks promising in a very competitive field. Rounding off the day with an impressive performance was the Men’s Heavyweight JV 8+ finishing 2nd to the University of Virginia. Rowing a hard race but unable to proceed to the semi-finals were the Women’s Freshman/Novice Heavyweight 4+ and the Men’s Collegiate Single. The Grand Valley Rowing Team hopes to build on today’s success tomorrow with more fierce racing and Grand Final appearances.






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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