Archive for November, 2011

A look Back to Fall 2011 for Parents, Family, and Supporters

Monday, November 21st, 2011

It’s been a great fall season. The GVSU rowers have been so very successful. And we have had an outpouring of support from you – their parents/families and supporters of our program. Hmmm….success of the rowing team has been fed by the support of the families? Or does the success of the rowing team feed the support of the families? Kind of like the chicken and the egg.

I can hardly begin to thank each and every one of our parents for all you have done this fall season. We had a terrific showing at Family Day, LOTS of parents/families/supporters attending the regattas, TONS of food to feed hungry rowers, cash donations to purchase what was not donated and to send travel food with the team, parents and families helping out at the regattas, setting up grills, tables, grilling, serving, transporting supplies, organizing and thoughts and prayers from all of you for Rachel Ring’s family. It’s Great to know we have such an awesome group of rowers, family, and supporters here at Grand Valley Rowing.

I can’t even begin to name everyone who participated and helped in so many ways. Thanks to ALL of you for pitching in. I do want to acknowledge and thank the hosts of each of the regattas as they did a little bit extra to help pull the meals together.

Diane West – Head of the Grand, Lansing
Lina Kalyvas – Head of the Eagle, Indianapolis
Sue Marshall, Tina Shoop – GVSU Frostbite

And an extra special thank you to Carolyn Ciungan, our parent coordinator. Carolyn stepped up just before Family Day and volunteered. She has done an awesome job organizing and coordinating. It’s a big job and I am sure we all appreciate all she has done.

I am really looking forward to the spring season and hope you are too. We’ll be back at it, asking for help and support , and I am pretty sure we will get the same response this spring. I think we are all very blessed to be a part of the GVSU Rowing Family, so this Holiday, let’s say an extra prayer of thanks for your sons/daughters, the coaches, and all the parents,families, and supporters who are so much a part of this wonderful family.

Chris Scott

Laker Alumni Compete for Spots on United States National Team

Monday, November 14th, 2011

This weekend, elite rowers from around the country competed in one of many trials that will eventually lead to the selection on the London 2012 Olympic team. This weekend were the US Rowing Fall Speed Orders, a series of trials on both the East and West Coast which consisted of both ergometer and small boat testing. Three Laker Alumni competed with the East Coast group in Princeton, NJ: Sarah Zelenka (’09), Ross Anderson (’06), and Dana Schmunk (’97). Anderson competed in the Men’s 1x, placing 9th with a time of 18:09. The event was won by Michael Sivigny. Schmunk also placed 9th in his event, the Men’s 2-. The event was won by Deaglan Mceachern and Tom Peszek, a fellow club rower from the University of Michigan.

Zelenka rowed to an impressive 4th place in the Women’s 2-, with a time of 17:10. Since graduating from Grand Valley in 2009, Zelenka has been training in Princeton, NJ with the top female rowers in the country. This summer, she won the FISA World Championships in the Women’s 4-. In addition, Zelanka has won World Cup races in the Women’s 8+ and 4-. In her time at GVSU, she stroked the 2009 Women’s 8+ that won the D1 Varsity 8+ at the Dad Vail and the ACRA National Championship. She also holds the school 2k and 6k records on the ergometer.

Results from the Speed Order can be found here, thanks to Row2k.

Meanwhile in Allendale, the Laker Navy was doing some racing of its own. After rowing to the Bass River Recreation Area (aka, “The Proving Grounds”) on Friday evening, the team woke Saturday morning to compete with one another in a series of 1350 meter pieces. Since there were no docks, the 106 athletes had to wade their boats into the water in order to launch them, a daunting task considering it was around 36F when the crews were doing so. The crews competed in five pieces, with switches being made between every piece. The top performances came from Coxswain Christopher Simon and rowers Justin Wegner and Ryan Kasley, who were the cox and stern pair of the winning crew for all five pieces, all the while rowing in a boat that was older than they are. There is little doubt that Saturday was the fastest that the Ol’ Blue had ever gone. Of the rowers being switched, senior Jimmy Wilkie was victorious on starboard side, while freshman Austin Burris and sophomore Dominic Conybeare tied for first on port side.

Full results from the pieces can be viewed here

Overall it was a great weekend of racing for both past and present GVSU rowers. For the current team, this weekend marks the end of a very successful fall season, which saw tremendous performances at all levels of the team. The Lakers will now head indoors for the winter season.

20th Annual Wichita Frostbite Regatta

Monday, November 7th, 2011

This Sunday saw another successful regatta for the Laker Navy. The entire varsity squad made the fifteen hour drive down to Wichita, KS for the 20th Annual Frostbite Regatta. Not only was this an important season ender for the team, it also had special meaning to head coach, John Bancheri. Bancheri was the head coach at Wichita State University twenty years ago, and was pivotal in organizing the first running of the regatta in 1992. Back then, the regatta consisted of only 14 events and 83 entries, mostly from local colleges. Today the regatta has grown to host nearly 30 teams across 41 events, including collegiate, junior, and masters athletes.

The team arrived in Wichita on Saturday morning and got to practice on the course. They then took a quick walk over to the Native American museum, one of the city’s main attractions. After taking in some history, the team retired to their respective host families. Due to his long tenure at Wichita State, coach Bancheri managed to make at least a few friends who were kind enough to take us in for the night. The team was given a much needed opportunity to relax and enjoy themselves before dinner. A number of the athletes were even treated to dinner by their host families. It was a sign of Coach Bancheri’s former rowers’ loyalty to him that everyone was treated with such hospitality.

After getting some much needed rest on Saturday night (which was momentarily interrupted by an earthquake), the Laker Navy awoke on Sunday ready to race. The team held nothing back, with most athletes racing in three or four races. One senior, Hanna Jones, even rowed in five, in all of which she took home a medal. This would prove to be a trend for the Lakers, who medaled in nearly every event they entered.

The first race of the day was the Men’s Open 2-. Grand Valley entered seven crews in this event, which would decide the team’s fall pair champions. The honor went to Justin Wegner and Jimmy Wilkie, who won in a time of 9:15, just one second ahead of second place Colorado. Ryan Kasley and Chad Condon placed a solid third, with a time of 9:26. The morning continued with Hanna Jones winning the Women’s Open 1x by nearly a minute with a time of 11:56. After a short break, the Women’s Open 4+’s came down the course. The Lakers once again struck gold with a time of 9:45, over second place Wichita State (9:59). The Lakers also took third in the event with a time of 10:17. The winning crew consisted of Jordan Hart, Carey Mankins, Lindsay Marshall, Lauren Adlof, and Jessica Vogl, while the third place crew was comprised of Tamara Hillman, Molly Visel, Chelsea Shoop, Jordan Crandell, and Hanna Jones (medal #2 for Jones).

The next event was the Men’s Open 2x, in which GVSU had three entries. The lineup of Ryan Kasley and alumnus and student adviser Michael Stoll placed second in 9:51. The other two crews both had one of the Bancheri twins racing them. The lineup consisting of Salvatore Bancheri and Peter Zwyerzinski (SP) placed 5th with a time of 11:01, while Chris Picklo and Patrick Bancheri placed 6th in 11:51. It was a proud moment for Coach Bancheri to see his sons holding their own against much older and experienced athletes!

The next event for the Lakers was the Men’s Open 4+. GVSU had five entries in this event, four of which were able to race (one crew was forced to scratch due to a broken skeg, but had an admirable row up the course by pairs). Due to a collision in the pervious race, Facilities Coordinator Tyler Sellmer had to do a quick fix on one of the fours that was supposed to be hot seated. Thanks greatly to Tyler’s quick repair, the four consisting of Jordan Hart, Marco Benedetti, Robbie Deweerd, Justin Wegner, and Keegan Jankhe managed to row to an eight second victory with a time of 8:38. Colorado placed second in 8:46, with Wichita State rounding out the medals in 8:48. The GVSU crew of Austin Burris, Ed Avena, Zach Whittle, and Ken Pierson finished just out of the medals in 8:51, an impressive result for the young crew. The remaining crews finished fifth (9:00) and seventh (9:05).

Next up, the Women’s Open 2- of Carey Mankins and Jess Vogl finished second with a time of 11:17. Unfortunately, the crew of Lauren Adlof and Lindsay Marshall got hit with 20 seconds worth of penalties, costing them a medal. Their final time was 11:35 with the penalties. The Men’s Open 1x saw no medals for the Laker Navy, but not due to lack of effort from rowers Marty Read, Sam Fearnow, Tyler Sellmer, and Michael Stoll. Stoll finished fifth, the highest of the group. Tyler, racing for the first time in months, performed admirably, even passing a boat at the end of the race. Next up were even more small boats, with Jordan Crandell and Chelsea Shoop winning the Women’s Open 2x in a time of 11:18. One event later, the Lakers were back on the podium, this time with a silver in the Women’s Lightweight 4+. The crew of Molly Visel, Kersten O’Brien, Staci O’Brien, and Hanna Jones (now on her third medal, if anyone is counting), finished in 10:47, only five seconds behind the winners from the University of Kansas (10:42) and five seconds ahead of third place Colorado State (10:52). Their male counterparts came down the course less than an hour later. The crew of Kyle Barnhart, Dominic Kootsilas-Coneybear, Justin Ebert, Anthony Anzell, and Steve Brown, another young crew, won in a time of 8:46. The crew of Jeremy Schaumann, Peter Zwyerzinski, Chris Deneau, Steffan Kuklish, and Chris Picklo placed third in 9:21. Wichita State took the silver medal with a time of 9:13.

The day was nearly over, but not before the flagship events for the men and women: the Open 8+’s. First up were the women, who took the first two spots in very impressive fashion. The varsity eight consisted of Jordan Hart, Carey Mankins, Lindsay Marshall, Lauren Adlof, Kylen Patterman, Mia Edelhauser, Shelby Welbaum, Rebecca Studer, and Jess Vogl were first with a course record time of 8:43. The junior varsity consisted of Dayna Campbell, Amy Brunner, Alese Garstick, Amanda Paul, Jordan Crandell, Chelsea Shoop, Molly Visel, and Hanna Jones (medal #4) placed second in 9:20. Wichita State was not far behind, rounding out the medals in 9:25.

Next was the Men’s Open 8+. The Lakers once again took home two medals, placing first and third this time around. The Varsity 8+ was markedly different from the crew that competed at Boston, with a number of younger athletes earning the right to compete in it thanks to some impressive erg numbers. The crew, which was a mixture of youth and experience, showed that they could move a boat as well, finishing in 7:36, just two seconds shy of the course record. This winning crew consisted of Christopher Simon, Ryan Kasley, Marco Benedetti, Robbie Deweerd, Austin Burris, Ken Pierson, Dominic Kootsilas Coneybear, Costas Ciungan, and Justin Wegner. The third place crew, consisting of Jeremy Schaumann, Chad Condon, Keegan Jankhe, Zach Whittle, Anthony Anzell, Tom Sawiki, and Justin Ebert finished in 7:52, only two seconds off second place Colorado (7:50). The third Grand Valley boat placed an impressive fifth.

Just as it did twenty years ago, the regatta ended with the Mixed Open 8+’s. The Lakers entered five crews, consisting of rowers from all across the program, and even several alumni. Grand Valley ended up taking home all three medals from this event, with the first place crew finishing with a time of 8:28, second in 8:34, and third in 8:45. The winning crew consisted of Ken Pierson, Marco Benedetti, Jake Bowmans, Zach Whittle, Kylen Patterman, Lisa Pflughoeft-Goetz, Hanna Jones (medal #5), and Lauren Adlof.

A few more notable performances:
Justin Wegner, after winning the Open 2-, went on two get two more golds and a silver by the end of the day.
Coxswain Jordan Hart went four for four, winning all her races and taking home four gold medals.
Freshmen rowers Austin Burris and Justin Ebert both took home two medals. Austin got gold in the Open 8+ and bronze in the Mixed 8+, while Justin got gold in the Lightweight 4+ and bronze in the Open 8+.

We would also like to thank the following people for their generosity in letting the team stay with them:
Heather and Dr. Jason Hampl, Lisa Pflughoeft-Goetz, Pam Loyle, Brian Anamson and his family, the Mankins Family, Fadi and Lisa Mashnouk and Family, Abbie L. Collinsworth and Family, Erick Stricker, Don and Lee Wadsworth, and Dr. Trevor and Keeley Patton and Family. It was a great weekend for us and it wouldn’t have been possible without your support!

Our final thanks are reserved for Jim Muir and his family. Jim’s support enabled the team to come down to Wichita in the first place. Jim and his family have become very active supporters of the program and have shown exceeding generosity towards us. Thank you Jim and Family!

View Official Results






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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