Women, men rowers battle stormy weather for first, third in Lubbers Cup

The varsity men row in an earlier regatta. They placed third in Lubbers Cup Regatta in Spring Lake.

Emanuel Johnson

The varsity men row in an earlier regatta. They placed third in Lubbers Cup Regatta in Spring Lake.

After venturing all the way to San Diego last week, the Grand Valley State University men’s and women’s rowing teams stayed close to home this past weekend.

Each team competed in the Lubbers Cup Regatta held in Spring Lake on Saturday. The women went up against club teams from Ohio State University and Michigan State University, as well as Eastern Michigan University’s varsity team, and came away with a first-place finish.

“They trained pretty hard this week and came out and raced real well, so it was a good day,” said GVSU assistant coach Mark McIlduff. “They executed the strategy we had for them, which was to put more of a full race plan together and see how they handled it. It worked out pretty well.”

This strategy differs from the team’s approach last week at the San Diego Crew Classic in which they attacked at the start of the race, noted McIlduff.

“We put more of a full race together,” he said. “After San Diego, they showed what they could do for the first half of the race, but they died off, so our strategy this week was a little different and it worked.”

The men’s team faced club teams from the University of Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State and the University of Notre Dame. GVSU crossed the line in third place, finishing less than two seconds behind Michigan and Notre Dame, who finished in first and second place, respectively.

“We did a lot better at San Diego than we did today,” said senior Breck Davis. “I think we probably could have done better when we were making our moves because we lost a lot of power and we could have had a stronger sprint at the end.”

The men got off to a solid start but were eventually overpowered at the finish, which happened for a reason, noted McIlduff.

“Michigan and Notre Dame are a lot bigger and stronger,” he said. “For us to beat these teams, we are just going to have to row better and use our technique, where the other teams rely on their power. We’re also still dealing with some younger kids and some turnover from last year. We just need to be getting more races together as a team.”

The weather also played a factor at the regatta as the afternoon brought increased wind and rain. Poor conditions are just part of the sport, noted sophomore Dayna Campbell.

“In practice the weather can seem really annoying and a big task to overcome,” she said. “But when we get a chance to row in good conditions, we knock other teams out of the water because we can row in choppy and disgusting water and good conditions. Rowing is an outdoor sport, so you are going to come in contact with sleet, snow, hail, tornados and monsoons. So you have to get over it and focus on technique and working together as a boat.”

Next up on the schedule is the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta held in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on April 17 and 18. McIlduff said the regatta will give the team a chance to advance further against stiff competition.

“I think we showed a lot of poise under pressure the past couple of weeks and maybe our expectations for the season have risen from what it was before,” McIlduff said. “I’m confident that they will continue to improve and mature as a team.”

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