GVSU rowing confident heading into 2016

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Moments from the Lubbers Cup Regatta on Saturday morning, April 9, 2016.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Moments from the Lubbers Cup Regatta on Saturday morning, April 9, 2016.

Mason Tronsor

Grand Valley State club rowing coach John Banhceri has been instilling a specific phrase heading into the 2016 rowing season.

“Let those who quit striving for excellence move over for those who will not,” he said.

The Lakers enter the new campaign off what was a rebuilding project a year ago. Young talent has gained experience from the previous year and is ready to earn its stripes as varsity oarsmen and women.

Varsity practice is already under way for the Laker boats; the first novice practice will be held Sept. 7. The club’s first event is the Beach Olympiad held in Grand Haven Sept. 10. Later in the month, the varsity crews will travel across the border to Canada to compete in the Head of the Welland Regatta.

“I am really looking forward to working with my teammates to build a solid foundation of talent this year,” said women’s varsity captain Faith Platz. “We have a very dedicated group of girls, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

The women’s team had a solid year last season for a rebuilding project. The squad boasted victories at major competitions including the Lubbers Cup and MACRA (Mid-America Collegiate Rowing Association) championships. They also boasted a final’s appearance at the Dad Vail National Championship regatta as well as a silver medal at the ninth annual ACRA (American Collegiate Rowing Association) championships.

Members of those women’s novice crews who succeeded at those events as well have returned to the team as varsity members this season, hoping to continue the tradition of strong rowing and compete for more success.

“I expect we will be able to develop quickly into an exceptional crew,” Platz said. “As with any year at Grand Valley Rowing, we aspire to be successful everywhere we go. Hopefully that means we’ll bring lots of hardware home to Allendale.”

As for the men, Bancheri said the crew rowed to the best of their abilities last year. However, the success just did not follow as much as the effort. This will change this fall as the rebuilding cycle is over.

The men’s crew has collected the talent and pieces needed to become a fast-paced crew who can compete with anybody in the country with consistent hard work.

“The mindset we have to have is ‘why not,’ said men’s captain Christopher Doherty. “Why can’t we medal at our races this spring? Why cant this be one of the best years for the club ever? If we keep working like I know we will, there will not be a reason why we can’t achieve the high level that we all want to reach.”

Coach Bancheri learned two important lessons from last season. One, he needs to stick to the program he knows best. The second was that collective effort will always trump individual success in the long run.

“In my view, talent is omnipotent, there are many talented people that have the ability to do great things,” Bancheri said. “However they have to be willing to show up everyday, be good at the fundamentals, continue to improve their skill and power, while supporting their teammates to do the same.”