Men’s and women’s rowing dominates Lubbers Cup Regatta

Courtesy / GVSU Rowing

Courtesy photo

Courtesy / GVSU Rowing

Adam Knorr

Conditions for the 18th Annual Don Lubbers Cup Regatta were anything but ideal on Saturday as the Grand Valley State University rowing club hosted their biggest event of the year.

The wind was swirling and snow was falling on Spring Lake, making for tough rowing conditions.

If Mother Nature was throwing GVSU a curveball, the Lakers knocked it out of the park. Both men’s and women’s varsity 8 crews won their events, springing the host Lakers to the top of the scoreboard, as they won the overall points trophy.

“I thought, in light of the conditions, we out-rowed the competition,” said head coach John Bancheri. “Our guys rowed as hard as they could and our women outmuscled the competition.”

The men’s crew saw an unexpected twist come their way, as they made a last-second decision to switch boats for the Regatta. Due to the harsh conditions, the men switched from their speed boat to the older, bigger boat normally used by the JV team. The decision to go retro paid off for the Lakers, as they were able to maintain a high speed in the slower boat, while conquering the harsh elements at the same time.

The dominance of the varsity 8 races came as a much-needed boost for the Laker Navy, who redeemed themselves from a slightly disappointing showing last weekend at the Occoquan Sprints in Washington D.C.

After losing to the University of Michigan at the Sprints, the men fought back and took down the Wolverines in the final heat on Saturday. GVSU finished four seconds ahead of the runners-up from Michigan State University, while Michigan finished in third, eleven seconds behind the winning pace set by the Lakers.

The women’s varsity 8, who finished fourth in D.C. last weekend, annihilated their competition, besting second place Eastern Michigan University by a whopping 24 seconds and third place University of Illinois by nearly a minute.

“We had hoped to win by a few more seconds,” said senior captain Carey Mankins. “Our competition for the Lubbers Cup isn’t what it is for the men’s team and we had hoped to win by a little bit more.”

The weather cut the Regatta short, and the fours events were canceled due to safety concerns for the lighter boats. Fortunately, all the primary events were ran, and the Lakers took full advantage of their time on the water.

As happens so often in sports, the Lakers were humbled by a sentimental moment brought on by the christening of their new boat, “Rachel Ring 1991-2011.” The boat was donated by the family of Rachel Ring, a former GVSU rower who died in a car accident in 2011.

“Losing someone at that age is something that you never ever get over,” Bancheri said. “Seeing her family there and willing to give such a large gift was touching, moving, and a great message to everyone that, as bad as it gets, you’ve got to keep pushing forward and make the best of every day you get on the earth.”

GVSU has a two-week break in competition before they travel to Indianapolis for the Mid-American Championships.

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