GVSU to host 21st Lubbers Cup Regatta

GVL / Courtesy - Grand Valley Rowing  
The Grand Valley state rowing club trains in Florida for the annual winter trip on January 6, 2016.

Grand Valley Rowing

GVL / Courtesy – Grand Valley Rowing The Grand Valley state rowing club trains in Florida for the annual winter trip on January 6, 2016.

Mason Tronsor

The Grand Valley State rowing club will host some of the top clubs in the nation as it puts on the 21st annual Don Lubbers Cup Regatta in Spring Lake, Michigan from April 8-10. The Lakers are hoping their performance will have fans cheering for an encore.

“It is no different than a theater major who spent all year preparing for the play of Hamlet,” said GVSU rowing coach John Bancheri. “Once those curtains are open, the director doesn’t need to tell them. They know what is going on.”

The event is named after Arend Donselaar (Don) Lubbers, the longtime president of GVSU from 1969 to 2001. According to Bancheri and others, Lubbers appreciated the rowing club and all it stands for.

The Lubbers Cup is also produced in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce in Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg, GVSU Club Sports, GVSU rowing club and the communities of Spring Lake and Ferrysburg.

The race began originally as a two-boat race between Michigan State’s mens club and GVSU’s club 21 years ago. Since then, the event has grown into a 16-school event. It is a combination of the top men’s and women’s clubs in the country.

“It is very exciting to see how this event has grown over the years up to this point,” Bancheri said. “It will give us a good idea of the shape of things to come.”

Schools participating along with GVSU include Michigan State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Purdue, Cincinnati and Minnesota, among others.

“Michigan is the No. 1 club team in the country the past few years,” Bancheri said. “So we are all chasing them, to be honest. But at the same time, you never know. That is why you race.”

GVSU might play the underdog role, but the team’s recent trip to the East Coast could suggest otherwise. This past weekend, the Lakers scrimmaged Georgetown in Washington D.C. Being a Division I program, the Hoyas were impressed with the Lakers’ small club.

“Grand Valley is one of the top small clubs in the country,” said Georgetown coach Vincent Puma. “John (Bancheri) is exceptionally technical. When you watch his crews, they are always clean. When you talk to a Grand Valley oarsman they understand the physics and nuances of the sport.”

The Lakers did not defeat the Hoyas in the scrimmage, but they did stay with Georgetown for most of the day. The Lakers also stayed on the East Coast for the Occoquan Sprints against other Division I programs.

“I am looking forward to seeing where we stack up against our competition,” said junior oarsman Rob Hiner. “We train almost year-round with no idea where we stand. We get to finally see our hard work pay off.”

The Irish and Boilermakers are the two squads that look to challenge GVSU the most before the Goliath of the Wolverines.

“In terms of preparation, I try not to talk about it too much,” Bancheri said. “They already know most of their families are going to be there, their friends and even their girlfriends.”

The course for the Lubbers Cup begins at the Spring Lake Yacht Club for the warmup route. The race is a straight shot through Spring Lake. It also includes double-dual two and three-lane racing with outside open lanes for added crews and/or B boats. The official start time for the event is 9 a.m. on April 9.