Rockford Takes First Place at Grand Rapids Spring Sprints

The 2018 Rockford Crew Team. Photo by Bill Sidor

The first event of the spring rowing season, the Grand Rapids Spring Sprints, took place Saturday March 24 at Forest Hills Central High School. The event is an indoor rowing competition with 9 area teams competing. The Rockford Crew team has its largest numbers of rowers in several years with many new novice joining the team this year thanks to the hard work of a great group of coaches.

The gym was noisy with the cheering of family and friends as individual racers competed on indoor rowing machines called ergs. Both the men and women competed in coxswain, novice, lightweight, and open weight classes while rowing between 500 and 2,000 meters. The top 10 finishers in each race earned points towards the team total. Rockford has previously won 9 out of the last 10 years. This year they won by only 1.5 points one of the closest ever! From the novice who just learned the rowing stroke a few days earlier to the 4-year seniors competing in their last indoor rowing race, it was a total team effort. Coach Dilan Itter told them afterward that “it’s about depth, hard work and it takes not just those who medal but those who were close to medaling and finished in the top 10 that helped rack up the points. It’s everybody on the team!”

Medaling for the team in the Men’s Novice in 3rd place was Morgan Werner, in the Women’s Novice in 3rd place was Hannah Burmania, in the Men’s Lightweight event Ethan Lehman took 1st place on his way to an unofficial meet and school record, in the Women’s Lightweight event 1st place was Priscilla Brom and 3rd place was Alyssa Kinstle, in the Women’s Open 2nd place was Elaina Loveless.

The community is invited to come cheer on the team at their first outdoor event of the season at the Grand Rapids Regatta on Saturday April 28 at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. The daylong event is free to the public. Interested in learning more? Check out to learn more about this great sport!