Grand Valley scores successful Five-peat at ACRA
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 Fifth 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 Varsity 8+, Men’s Second Varsity 8+ Men’s Novice 8+, Men’s Double, Men’s Pair, a Women’s Varsity 8+, Women’s Novice 8+, Women’s Second Varsity 8+, and a Women’s Single making it to the Grand Finals
The Women’s Varsity 8+, coxed by Jordan Hart ’13 and rowed by Shelby Welbaum ’14, Rebecca Studer ’13, Jessica Vogl ’13, Nicole Hagoort ’13, Kylen Pattermann ’13, Lauren Adlof ’12, Lindsay Marshall ’12, and Carey Mankins ’13 took First in their preliminary heat with a time of 6:54.7; advancing them to the Grand Finals. The women took Gold in the Grand Finals with a winning time of 6:23.4.
The Men’s Varsity 8+, coxed by Chris Simon ’14 and rowed by Jimmy Wilkie ’12, Chad Condon ’13, Ken Pierson ’14, Nate Biolchini ’13, Keegen Jahnke ’13, Austin Burris ’15, Marco Benedetti ’12, and Justin Wegner ’13, took First in their heat with a time of 5:57.1; advancing them to the Grand Finals. In the Grand Finals they took Fourth with a time of 5:53.7.
The Women’s Second Varsity 8+, coxed by Jeremy Schaumann ’13 and rowed by Staci O’Brien ’14, Kersten O’Brien ’14, Jordan Crandell ’14, Beth Czarnecki ’12, Chelsea Shoop ’13, Molly Visel, Amy Brunner ’13, and Alese Garstick ’14, took Second in their preliminary heat with a time of 7:19.0. In the Grand Finals they took Third with a time of 6:23.4.
The Men’s Second Varsity 8+, coxed by Dayna Campbell ’12 and rowed by Thomas Sawicki ’14, Dominic Kootsillas-Conybeare ’13, Costas Ciungan ’14, Sam Fearnow ’12 Ryan Kasley ’13, Ben Steel ’14, Ed Avena ’14, and Anthony Anzell ’13, took Second in their heat with a time of 6:21.0; advancing them to the Grand Finals. In the Grand Finals they took Third with a time of 5:53.7.
The Women’s Novice 8+, coxed by Liz Teesdale ’15 and rowed by Brittany Hyde ’15, Kaitlyn VanBoven ’15, Courtney Panter ’14, Kelsey VanAmberg ’15, Victoria Lloyd ’15, Elissa Besson ’15, Marie Brown ’14, Emily Bohn ’14, and Erin Hocker ’15, took Second in their preliminary heat with a time of 7:07.3; advancing them to the Grand Finals. In the Grand Finals they took Gold with a winning time of 6:51.8.
The Men’s Novice 8+, coxed by Rhiannon McHenry ’15 and rowed by Nate Bremer ’15, EJ O’Mara ’14, Nicholas Maodush-Pitzer ’15, Justin Bartaway ’14, Chris Gaigalas ’15, Derek Bruckner ’15, Spencer West ’15, and Justin Ebert ’15, took Second in their heat with a time of 6:25.7; advancing them to the Grand Finals. In the Grand Finals they took Sixth with a time of 6:01.7.
The Men’s Varsity Four, coxed by Kyle Barnhart ’14 and rowed by Chris Deneau ’13, Tucker Anderson ’12, Jacob Bouwman ’13, Steve Brown ’13, and Adam Wlodkowski, took Third in their heat with a time of 7:17.6; placing them in the B-Final. In the B-Final they took Second with a time of 6:45.0.
The Men’s Double, rowed by Nicholas Farrugia ’15 and Marty Reed ’12, took Third in their Heat with a time of 8:19.8, which advanced them to the Grand Finals. In the Finals they took Seventh with a time of 8:22.1.
The Women’s Single, rowed by Hanna Jones ’12, took Third in her heat with a time of 9:17.4; advancing her to the Grand Finals. In the Finals she took Sixth with a finishing time of 9:12.1.
The Men’s Single, rowed by Chris Picklo ’13, took Fifth in his Heat with a time of 8:23.42, which advanced him to the B-Final. He took Second in the B-final with a time of 8:01.7.
The Men’s Varsity Pair, rowed by Peter Zwierzynski ’13 and Adam Wlodkowski ’14, took Third in their heat with a time of 7:46.4; advancing them to Reprechages. They won their Reprechage with a time of 7:33.1; advancing them to the Grand Finals. In the Finals they took fourth with a time of 7:16.9.
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 National Championship, alongside the ACRA Women’s Team Points Championship.
A Crews Perspective of the ACRA National Championship
Women’s Novice 8
Athlete: Courtney Panter ’14
Major: Political Science/ International Relations
Hometown: Davison, MI
This morning, Coach Kelsey pushed us off the dock with the advice of “quiet confidence,” but to be completely honest, I do not think a single one of us were confident in winning a gold. Going into a race with the full knowledge that Grand Valley has consistently won it is a lot of pressure – especially when you only have seven of the people in the boat who have been training nine months for that moment (although, Em raced her butt off for us)!
We talked about attempting to be first off the start, but in true GV fashion, we weren’t, and instead made up for it in the middle thousand. From the start we were in third, with the coxie of UC Davis sitting at our six seat, Middlebarry’s at four. In fact, the boats stayed ranked that way until the last 750. Looking back on it now, majority of our boat assumed we were going to take third the entire race. We surprised ourselves though. The full realization of what we were racing for then set in – our coach, our team, each other – and we started walking. It seemed in no time we had completely walked UC Davis, and then the race was only between Middlebarry and us.
It was a fight to the finish; we both started making our moves at the 500, but in the end, I think we wanted it more. With 250 left, we were dead even, and with 100 left, six seat was on their bow ball. We did not even think we were going win until the last two strokes. As we crossed the finish line, nearly every single person in the boat burst into tears. We won. We defended Grand Valley’s Novice Women’s 8 Title.
Hearing Grand Valley’s fans describe the race to us afterward was even more exhilarating. The commentator kept announcing we were “making a move” about every 250, when in fact we maintained our 34 spm until our last 500. We even had former rowers tell us they got chills watching us; that is about as rewarding as winning the race itself. For a boat that has been divided between Varsity and a novice four all spring season, only given less than two weeks to practice together, and a coxswain at two seat – we raced one heck of a race. And I think I speak for everyone in the boat when I say I could not be more proud of every girl in that boat. We were the few that made it, and we are national champs.
Grand Valley Rowing 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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