Archive for April, 2013

the Laker Navy is Unsinkable

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Grand Valley Rowing Flooding

The Grand River has risen to historic heights as Grand Valley Rowing’s on-campus boathouse has become flooded with water. The Laker Navy has adapted, being forced to move their operations to the Quarry (also known as the Proving Grounds) out west of Allendale. The Lakers are an irrepressible crew program.

With the Mid-American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship (MACRA) regatta coming up on Saturday, April 27th, 2013 – the path leading to the boathouse sits under five feet of water and rising. The boathouse, at this point, essentially is flooded and stands by its lonesome; jutting up from the horizon of a flood scene with water rising quickly. Waters have entered and flooded the boat house and the Lakers have executed emergency procedures.

Under siege by torrential storms ravaging the Midwest, Grand Valley rowing is in survival mode. The Lakers had to move out of their boathouse just before the 18th Annual Lubbers Cup regatta, when flood waters surged. The Grand River has been climbing to new and historic heights predicting to crest at 23 ft, which beats the previous historic height set in 1985 at 19.54 ft.

Head Coach John Bancheri of men’s and women’s rowing stated that “We’re just doing whatever it takes to keep going, We’re making it work.”

That’s an understatement. In addition, Grand Valley Rowing had three boats damaged on Friday, April 19th, at the proving grounds due to high winds with no proper storage for their equipment.

The three boats that were damaged were the Hartsuff, the Stoll, and the Jedlics. The “Hartsuff” (1-) was totalled, there was serious damage to the Stoll (8+), and minor delaminations to the Jedlics. Overall there is heavy, moderate, and some small damage.

The Laker Navy is in the process of re-securing and salvaging what they can to get on the water. The Lakers have secured storage for repairs to their damaged boats at the GVSU warehouse and Alumni Matt LeBlanc’96 will be helping to fix the damaged equipment.

Despite the obstacles, Grand Valley State has thrived. The Lakers’ women’s varsity eight is ranked No. 1 in the most recent American Collegiate Rowing Association Top 10. The men’s varsity eight sits at No. 2.

“Everyone came to the reality of, ‘OK, this is the card we were dealt,‘ and they’re trying to make the most of it,” said Bancheri, whose crew is also dealing with damaged equipment. “We tell the kids constantly, ‘It ain’t what you got, it’s what you do with what you got.’ In the end, that’s all that really counts.”

Grand Valley’s resilience stems from two tenets preached by Bancheri.

First, the Lakers operate under what Bancheri calls, “The bow ball philosophy.” The primary lessson: All that matters is the bow ball.

“The bow ball doesn’t care how someone is feeling, doesn’t care if something is going on,” Bancheri explained. “All the bow ball knows is if it’s in front of the other boat. Everybody’s got to do their share to make sure that the bow ball goes an inch further.”

Secondly, Bancheri leans on the ideas of “Kaizen,” a Japanese management system anchored on the notion of perpetual improvement, regardless of circumstance.

“If you’re not getting better, your competition is,” Bancheri said.

The Laker Navy has been maneuvering through an unpredictable season with commendable focus. Grand Valley will now look to make the best of the situation by pulling the resources of the entire Laker Navy. It’s tough not being able to practice in your own boathouse, but the Laker Navy is unsinkable. Keep Pulling for the Laker Navy.

The 18th Annual Lubbers Cup Regatta

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Men's Varisty 8+ Medals

The 18th Annual Lubbers Cup Regatta was an all around success for the Grand Valley Lakers. Racing at Spring Lake gives athletes, parents, and alumni a chance to showcase some speed and provides another opportunity to race. This years Lubbers cup saw high winds, low temperatures, rough conditions, and even snow at times, but the regatta went forward as planned for the Varsity and Novice 8+ events. Due to rough conditions from mother nature, the evening races were canceled , which included all four plus events.

The women’s team claimed the Women’s points trophy as they claimed victories in the Women’s Novice 8+, Women’s 2V 8+, and the Women’s Varsity 8+.

The Grand Valley Men claimed the Men’s points trophy and had a very fantastic showing with victories in the Men’s Varsity 8+ and Men’s Novice 8+.

In addition, the 2013 Lubbers Cup regatta was a success for all the alumni, parents, and supporters that came out to set up, organize, and watch great racing. The organizing committee has done an outstanding job organizing and setting up the regatta at Spring Lake Yacht club, which was first held in 1995. The regatta is named after President Emeritus of Grand Valley State University, President Arend D. (Don) Lubbers.

It was great to have President Lubbers in attendance as the Men’s Varsity 8+ won his event – the “Don Lubbers Cup” – and the women won the “Nancy Lubbers Cup”. The Lakers have even more speed to gain in the weeks to come as they head into their regional and national championship regattas. One thing is certain, everyone will have their eyes set on Grand Valley to race, compete, and achieve.

The Laker Navy would like to thank all those who came out to make the 18th annual Lubbers Cup regatta a great success. One person in particular deserves a special thanks and that is Tyler Sellmer, facilities coordinator for Grand Valley rowing. Tyler has put countless hours organizing, transporting, and setting up the Lubbers cup race coarse and docks. Thanks Tyler and everyone who helped out.

Complete results from the 18th Annual Lubbers Cup Regatta can be found here. The Lakers next event will be the MACRA Championship regatta in Indianapolis, IN, which will be held on April 27, 2013. Check back here often for the latest news and results and as always – Keep Pulling for the Laker Navy.

The Occuquan Sprints

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

The Grand Valley Lakers competed this past weekend in the Occuquan sprints and put their speed to the test. The Laker Navy traveled to Washington, D.C. and raced on the Occuquan river in Woodbridge, VA.

The conditions were windy with a quartering tail wind. It was a mix of clouds and sun. The high was 68 F and the low was 51 F, and it was mostly sunny with clear skies. The winds were from the south at 15 to 25 mph. The race course was situated in a valley and thus the water was slightly affected by the wind becoming occasionally rough.

The lakers competed against Drexel, Michigan, and University of North Carolina, among other teams. The varsity women did well, winning their heat to advance to the A final. The Varsity men’s 8+ comfortably advanced to the A final taking second, a bow ball behind Drexel.

The novice teams performed admirably competing in their first official spring race. The novice men took second place in their heat behind Michigan to advance to the A final, and the novice women won their heat with open water advancing to the A final.

Results from the finals can be found here. Overall, this regatta is the starting point for the Lakers as they head into their season home opener and ACRA national championships.

The lakers will travel back to Grand Rapids with their first race under their belt and with a lot of racing speed ahead. Next weekend the Lakers will compete in their annual home opener, the 18th Annual Lubbers Cup regatta. Check back here often and keep pulling for the Laker Navy!

Lubbers cup regatta official website

Occoquan Sprints Info

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Coaches and Team Leaders,

We look forward to hosting you at the Occoquan Sprints on Sunday/April 7th. Your cooperation in following some important directives will go a long ways in making this a smooth/competitive regatta. PLEASE be certain to pass on the PARKING details to your followers…….as they have changed some.

SATURDAY/April 6th You may arrive in the park AFTER 5 PM only to rig and row. Park trailers in the left hand lot under the direction of the Sandy Run Rangers. On Saturday, row to the start in lanes “0”/”1″ and “2” [cox’s right] LEAVE LANES “3” and “4” open/unused at all times. Come down the course in the racing direction using lanes “5”/”6″ and “7”. The Park gate will be locked at 7:30 PM 4/6/13

PARKING/ALL vehicles with one or two people -$20, 3-6 people-$10, 7 or more people-$5. ALL COMPETITOR vehicles with 7 or more occupants park for free. ALL TOW VEHICLES and regatta volunteers [parking list] park for free. NOTE..there is no parking on the streets in the residential area surrounding the park.

SPEED LIMITS/Please observe all posted speed limits/cautions on the roads near the park. We try to be good neighbors to the homes adjacent to the park.

COX/COACHES MEETING/8:00 AM at the bottom of the driveway near the waters edge .

WEIGH-INS for M-LtWt 4+’s/ 10:30 AM at Boat House #2, 160 max-no averaging

RACE SHEET/adjustments to the schedule were made due to many scratches/changes. Review the new RACE SHEET carefully.

The RACE SHEET has been updated online:


MEDALS/1st place only for events that are a “final only event” , 1st and 2nd place for events with heats and finals[Grand Final only]. Medals will be awarded at the Regatta HQ near the main launch and return docks after results are posted.

RACING/Plan to launch 30-45 minutes before race time with your lane # attached to your bow clip. [provide your own lane #’s] The racecourse is fully buoyed. It is critical that crews remain w/i their assigned lanes [hull and oars]

SHUTTLES/will be available from satellite lots [free] and to the Grandstand area [$2 @ way/person, free for coaches]

FIRST AID/A Certified Athletic Trainer will be available for ALL guests/competitors from 10-4 opposite the Regatta HQ

Our hope is that every crew will have their best possible race experience on the Occoquan Reservoir. Your full cooperation with the USRA Referees/regatta staff/volunteers is much appreciated. Timing and results provided by Ronin, Parking and Food Concession by Westfield High School Crew Boosters, Shuttles-Reston Limousine, regatta support-Northern Virginia Park Authority staff, the Virginia Area Scholastic Rowing Assoc. “VASRA”River Rats” [course], and members of the GMU Crew Club, alumni, parents and friends.

Have a safe trip to and from the Occoquan Sprints.

Take Care,
Bob Spousta
Regatta Director for the GMU Crew Club

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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