Rowing under less than ideal conditions, the Rams men’s crew team was named the Don LeBlanc Men’s Point Trophy champions for the third year in a row at the Grand Rapids High School (GRHS) Invitational Regatta held on May 14 at Riverside Park. The Lady Rams took second in their division. Ann Arbor Huron won the overall regatta championship, followed by the Rams in second and Forest Hills Central placing third in the ten team event.
As the rain pelted down, heat racing began at 8 a.m. for the coveted spots in the afternoon final races. Rockford placed boats in the finals for each their heats over the 1,500-meter race down the Grand River from the Ann Street bridge to boat launch number two in Riverside Park. This year’s competitors included Ann Arbor Huron, East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills Central, Forest Hills Eastern, Forest Hills Northern, Grand Rapids Rowing Club, Lowell, Northview, Rockford and North Suburban from the Chicago area.
Gold medals were won by each of the men’s teams in the final heat races for the day. The men’s varsity lightweight eight boat with coxswain Logan Conner, Isaac Blenman, Tyler Truxton, Marcus Powers, Jacob Nemeth, Kevin Clinthorne, Tyler Maple, Jacob Dennis and Dilan Itter picked up the first of the Rams’ gold medals. The varsity doubles team of Tim Carlson and Chris Gaigalas brought in the next gold medal and the afternoon racing pace for the men was set. The varsity four boat with coxswain Conner, TJ Jacobs, Mitch Griffis, Bryce VanderBerg and Austin Burris added to the gold medal pile with their impressive victory in the six-team race. Also bringing home gold for the men in the following races were: varsity eight and varsity eight 500-meter dash (coxswain Sarah McLellan, Sam Berndt, B. VanderBerg, Burris, Jacobs, Griffis, Corey Fase, Gaigalas, Tristan VanFossen), varsity lightweight four (coxswain McLellan, Berndt, VanFossen, Isaac Blenman, Dilan Itter), and novice eight (coxswain Rebecca Avella, Chad Slider, Mack Solomon, Tyler Maple, Mitchell Hendershott, Dezmund Nelson, Kurtis Loux, Reggi Titmus, Tyler Ingersoll).
Gold was also won by the women’s varsity four team with coxswain Shelby Hodges, Kate Fraser, Rebecca Markham, Kendra Bilardello and Kara Korson. The Lady Rams junior varsity four teams dominated their heat, picking up gold for coxswain Bri VanderBerg, Katie Belmore, Lindsey Marvin, Jessica Levin and Amy Fedeson, and bronze for coxswain Gabby LeClair, Elizabeth Kim, Emma Korson, Christina Pavano and Dana DeBusschere.
The team is now preparing for the Michigan Scholastic Championship Rowing Regatta on May 28. Fans are invited to cheer the team on to another victory on home waters at Riverside Park, boat launch number two.