Rowing sets sights on Lubbers Cup Regatta

Courtesy / Charlotte Long

Courtesy / Charlotte Long

After being cooped up inside during the long winter, the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s club rowing team’s were finally able to get out on the water this past weekend in Washington, D.C.

The weather was more than happy to cooperate with for the Lakers, as they took to the course at the Occoquan Sprints on a gorgeous 68-degree day.

Both the men’s and the women’s varsity 8 crews started the day off well, as both squads performed well enough to advance past their heats and compete in the final races.

Both crews faltered slightly in the final heat, as the men’s team finished in third place while the women took fourth in their race. After their strong efforts put forth in the earlier heats, both teams felt as though they came up a little short in the final heat.

“We didn’t meet our expectations,” said women’s senior captain Carey Mankins. “We hoped to do better, but as a first race in the spring season it was good experience and a good gauge of where we’re at compared to other teams.”

The varsity men fared slightly better than the women, taking third place in their final heat. The crew fell just short of second place, crossing the finish half a length behind the boat of Drexel University. The University of Michigan took first place overall in the men’s varsity 8 races.

“I think we had a decent race,” said senior captain Chad Condon. “It was our first real race this year, so it’s not going to go perfect the first time. It was a good sign that we were competitive with some of the better schools.”

The Lakers will look to improve on their results this upcoming weekend when they race at home in the Lubbers Cup Regatta. GVSU will play host to a number of schools, including the University of Illinois, Kansas University, Michigan State University and U of M.

Due to the level of competition and the size of the schools competing at the Lubbers Cup Regatta, it is one of the biggest events of the year for GVSU rowing.

“I expect our athletes to compete at the highest level,” said head coach John Bancheri. “We are excited to get back and put mileage in and this is a big home race coming up. Getting prepared is our number one goal right now.”

In addition to their races this weekend, the Lakers will be adjusting their focus to a slightly more sentimental event. Before the Lubbers Cup Regatta, GVSU is christening a new boat to add to their fleet, a Vespoli Four named “Rachel Ring 1991-2011.” The boat is named in remembrance of Rachel Ring, a former rower who died in a car accident in October 2011.

Ring joined the novice team in September 2011 – her freshman year. The boat was donated by Ring’s family.

“Rachel was the kind of athlete every coach wants on their team,” wrote novice women’s coach Kelsey Arnold in a news release. “She was always smiling and radiating a positive attitude to her teammates.”
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