Rockford Rowing kicked off season at Grand Rapids Spring Sprints

Senior and Medalist Emma Lassig holds the trophy with Junior Erin Gaynor. Picture by Aaron Sundman

Team earns trophy, seven medals and new Freshman record

With over seventy athletes and seven coaches, the official competitive season for Rockford Rowing kicked off at the Grand Rapids Spring Sprints.  With a spring season that will see regattas in places such as Ann Arbor, Orchard Lake, Grand Rapids, Dilan Lake in Ohio, and Canada, the Black and Orange oars are off to a great start with a victory at first event of the season.  They competed against East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills Central, Forest Hills Northern, Northview, Grand Rapids Rowing, Spring Lake, Forest Hills Eastern and Lowell.  The women’s team is rowing to defend their two year consecutive state championship while the boys team is ready to demonstrate what their rebuilt team can offer this year.

Freshman Emma Harrison was a Bronze medalist in her first year rowing. Picture by Aaron Sundman

Rockford Rowing Rams took 1st place victory at the event, hosted by Forest Hills Central High School.  Rockford took the title by obtaining 105 points at the event, with East Grand Rapids in 2nd place with 76 points, followed by Forest Hills Central with 46 points.  The Rockford Rowing team has captured the Spring Sprints trophy for eleven out of the last twelve years.

The Grand Rapids Spring Sprints is an annual indoor regatta where local competitors race against the clock on Concept2 indoor rowing ergs.  Coxswains race 500 meters, Novice competitors race 1,500 meters, and all others race 2,000 meters.  Coaches, family members and friends cheer on their athletes as their times and placements are projected onto a large screen.  Medals are awarded to the three fastest competitors in each event, with points being given to all rowers finishing in first through tenth place in each category.

Freshman Cole Rice broke the Rockford Freshman Record. Picture by Aaron Sundman

Rockford medalists included Bronze winners Shane Johnson (Men’s Novice), Ally Kinstle (Women’s Lightweight), and Emma Lassig (Women’s Openweight.)  Silver winners were Issac Van Bragt, (Coxswain), and Gold Medal winners Cole Rice (Men’s Novice), Emma Harrison (Women’s Novice), and Chris Neihoff (Men’s Openweight).

It was a great start to the season that has the women’s team defending their two-year consecutive state championship title.  Head Women’s Coach Dilian Itter noted the strong showing in all the novice, lightweight and open weight categories.  “This is definitely the most depth we have ever had.  That is something that is super exciting from the coaches’ standpoint.”

Head Men’s Coach Tucker Anderson congratulated the team after the victory.  “Really nice job.  We saw a lot of personal records for the men and a lot of you pushed that envelope just a little bit.  We had a really strong showing here in this first weekend.  The outdoor season starts on Monday at the boathouse, as we kick it off on the water.  So nice job kicking off the season.  Overall, really good job.”

Senior Ethan Margot competing in his 2nd Sprint. Picture by Aaron Sundman

Next up for Rowing Rams will be the Floodtown Regatta on Saturday, April 23rd in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  To learn more about the program, visit