With hope of making the GVSU name more recognizable in the rowing community, the Laker navy set their sights on Boston for the annual Head of the Charles Regatta.
“This is the biggest event on our schedule year in and year out,” club president Costas Ciungan said. “We were really excited to get out and compete against the largest field of talent that we will see all year.”
Competing in the world’s largest regatta, the GVSU rowing teams went up against a slew of competition that featured the likes of rowing clubs from all across the country.
“It’s important for us to enjoy the moment but also look to improve with every race we compete in,” Ciungan said. “Continual improvement is something we strive for everyday at Grand Valley.”
In the women’s collegiate eight competition, the Laker women crossed the finish line first with a time of 17 minutes, 46 seconds to narrowly beat out Trinity College (17:48). This was the women’s first collegiate eight win in the past three years at the Head of the Charles.
“It’s hard to put into words how great of a feeling this is,” senior Shelby Welbaum said. “It’s great to know that everything we worked for leading up to this point really paid off.”
Unfortunately, the Laker men didn’t have the same success but still faired well in the field of 40, as they would finish ninth with a time of 15:56. Drexel University would go on to win the race with a time of 15:22, followed by the Michigan Rowing Association, and the University of Virginia Association of Rowing.
“We came into the race with a goal of improving from last year’s third place finish,” Ciungan said. “It was somewhat disappointing for us to finish ninth this year, but we still competed well and will take the positives out of it.”
The men’s club varsity four would add another top 10 finish for the Lakers as they would finish in 10th place with a time of 17:15, 1:10 behind eventual winner of the club race, Union Boat Club.
“I think a lot of us were really nervous because it was the biggest event of the year, but I thought once we got to the line we responded well,” senior Mariah Edelhauser said. “It’s a big moment, especially for all of our underclassmen.”
Battling choppy waters the women’s varsity four would finish ninth out of the field of 33 with a time of 19:09. Also in action, the Alumni men would finish in 28th, with a time of 16:28, while the alumni women would finish 25th with a time of 19:24.
“We can really be satisfied with our performance across the board,” Ciungan said. “We will look to improve in more areas than one, but it’s reassuring to know that our hard work has paid off.”
The Laker Navy looks to build on their recent momentum as they navigate through the rest of their fall season. Up next for the Lakers is the GVSU Halloween Regatta, which will be hosted by GVSU on Sunday, October 27th.
“It’s important that we keep our focus as we move on throughout the season,” Welbaum said. “We can’t think of the Head of the Charles as our only big race of the year.”