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!
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