California State University, Long Beach

Long Beach Wraps Up 2015-2016 Season With Multiple Wins

Monday, 20. June 2016


Coach Ian Simpson, Rikki Oden, Zaena Guest, coxswain Sarah Dresser, Emily Seierson and Jayne Goodwin achieved gold medals at the American Collegiate Rowing Association in Gainesville, Georgia. (Photo courtesy Emily Seierson)

By Ariana Gastelum

Women’s Team President 2015-2016

Persistent training has paid off, and Long Beach State Rowing successfully medaled at the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) and the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA).

Of the three boats that were sent to ACRA, which took place in Gainesville, Georgia on May 28 and 29, two were rewarded. The women’s lightweight four earned gold and the women’s single took silver.

The lightweight four, comprised of Rikki Oden, Zaena Guest, Emily Seierson, Jayne Goodwin and coxswain Sarah Dresser, won gold with little trouble. They finished the 2,000-meter course in 7 minutes and 57.07 seconds. Washington State University (WSU) followed approximately 20 seconds after, and Northwestern University took third, in 8 minutes and 23.19 seconds.

Their performance noticeably improved since WIRA, which took place on April 30 and May 1 in Sacramento, California. They took a silver medal, finishing in 8 minutes and 15.3 seconds, approximately nine seconds after University of California, Berkeley Lightweight Crew (Cal). WSU and Chico State University took third and fourth.

Between competitions, the four made drastic changes in their training environment and lineup. At WIRA, they raced in a bucket-rigged boat. This means seats two and three both rowed starboard side, and seats one and four rowed port.

After WIRA, the women borrowed a boat from the men’s team to practice with the Southern California Scullers Club in Huntington Harbor. They raced at ACRA in a similar boat, rigged traditionally with a starboard stroke.

“[The] four worked on improving technique: catches, better posture, more effective use of bodies,” head coach Ian Simpson noted. “The women went through a lot, they supported each other through their ups and downs, and they remained focused on performing well at the national championships.”

Brush won second place in the singles race in 8 minutes and 56.55 seconds, after University of Virginia Rowing Association who finished 12 seconds prior. University of Alabama/Huntsville Crew took third, finishing in 9 minutes.

Because Brush was training to race in a pair at WIRA, she only had time to practice in a single for four weeks. Along with the four, Brush practiced with SoCal Scullers to prepare for ACRA.

The men’s varsity eight launches for their race at the American Collegiate Rowing Association. (Photo by Anthony Chacon)

The third boat that raced in Gainesville was the men’s varsity eight, which consisted Jacob Bledsoe, Dylan Widjaja, Isaac Da Silva, Zach DeVore, Sean McCrea, Ibrahim Almaqball, Jacob Muñoz, Nate Young and coxswain Eric Oates. Of the eight rowers, four of them were novices.

“For ACRA, since medaling was never really a goal, I wanted to give everyone on the team an opportunity to compete for those spots,” head coach Anthony Chacon noted. “I am happy that the top performing athletes ended up being a mix of first year rowers, a couple second years, one third year and one forth year rower. That is very young compared to whom we faced in the varsity-eight event.”

The eight trained six days a week after WIRA. Their main focus was to cut multiple seconds off their 2k times.

At ACRA, the eight achieved fourth place out of five in the D final with a time of 6 minutes and 40.87 seconds. Wichita State University followed five seconds after. Universities of Pittsburgh, Illinois and Georgia took first, second and third.

“The guys soaked up everything I taught them and did it without complaint,” Chacon added. “They asked the right questions, and when they suffered defeat, they didn’t see it as a loss, but a gain in experience. They were hungry to learn new things and to compete even if the odds were stacked against them. I love that. It will only make them faster.”

Of the five boats that competed in the grand finals at WIRA, three received medals. The women’s double won gold, the women’s lightweight four earned silver, and the women’s pair took bronze.


Ariana Gastelum and Penelope Gallardo win gold medals at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association in Sacramento. (Photo by Bryan Pulling)


Ariana Gastelum and Penelope Gallardo raced in the winning double. They finished the 2,000-meter course in 8 minutes and 35.4 seconds. WSU’s A boat followed closely, finishing less than two seconds after. Cal Berkeley ended in third, before WSU’s B boat, Chico, Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Gastelum and Gallardo had only practiced six times before racing at WIRA.

Brush and Lucie Webb rowed together in the pair. They finished after UCSB and Cal Berkeley, in 8 minutes and 30.6 seconds. Arizona State University finished fourth, 2.8 seconds after. University of Oregon, Humboldt State University and Chico followed.

Brush and Webb had raced together multiple times throughout the year. However, they switched boats and their lineup weeks before WIRA. Webb, who was previously stroke seat, had to adjust to looking over her shoulder and staying conscious of their point.

All members of the double, lightweight four and pair were originally supposed to race together in the varsity-eight category in addition to their small boats. Due to winds exceeding 25mph, all Saturday heats after 12:40p.m. were postponed to Sunday morning.

The varsity eight’s heat was scheduled to race at 8:10a.m. Shortly after, the double would have to race at 9:30a.m., and the pair at 9:50a.m. After considering their options, Simpson and the team ultimately decided to scratch their entry.

“If the eight had raced its heat on Sunday morning, it would have had to race at its very best to advance to the afternoon’s final,” Simpson noted. “The effort required would have severely impacted the performances in the other events and, given how close the margins were in those races, we would have probably fallen short in all our events. The choice was simple: take advantage of the opportunity to win something, versus the likelihood of achieving nothing at all. I am very pleased that every member of the WIRA varsity group departed Sacramento with a medal.”

The women’s novice four, comprised of Aimee Ramos, Hanna Anderson, Megan DeVore, Chloe Volz and coxswain Chamille Mendoza, placed fourth out of seven in grand finals after a very close race. All boats after Western Washington University finished only two to three seconds apart from each other.

Long Beach completed the course in 8 minutes and 14.6 seconds, 2.3 seconds after UCSB and 1.4 seconds before University of California, Irvine. Members of the four considered this race to be the best they performed the entire season.

The women’s novice team is coached by Alyssa Hartel. Hartel is a former rower from Fordham University’s crew team. Before that, she was rowing for Long Beach Junior Crew. This is her first year coaching the team.

“Having coached Alyssa since she was in middle school, I know her very well,” Simpson noted. “This was her first coaching experience, she learned a lot – often by having to figure it out for herself – and she is excited about returning to the team in the fall and is determined to do a great job.”


Novice coxswain Chamille Mendoza, Chloe Volz, Aimee Ramos, Hanna Anderson, Megan DeVore and coach Alyssa Hartel (Photo courtesy Chamille Mendoza)

The men’s novice lightweight four, which included Jordan Baluyot, AJ Morales, Tyler Huy, Daniel Trejo and coxswain Stephanie Kirchhoff, placed fifth out of six in grand finals. They finished in 7 minutes and 52.6 seconds, approximately 14 seconds before San Diego State University.

Chacon also finished his first year coaching for Long Beach. He has also coached for North Park University, Chicago Rowing Union, University of Notre Dame and Grand Valley State University.

“I have coached other teams, but this has been a highlight year for me,” Chacon noted. “The guys soaked up everything I taught them and did it without complaint. They asked the right questions, and when they suffered defeat, they didn’t see it as a loss, but a gain in experience. They were hungry to learn new things and to compete even if the odds were stacked against them. I love that. It will only make them faster.”

Without a doubt, Long Beach worked hard for a victorious 2015-2016 season. It required athletes with persistent attendance, complete focus, open mindedness, physical and mental strength, support, competitive spirit, pain tolerance, and long-term, goal-oriented minds. For seniors Sarah Dresser, Ariana Gastelum, Jayne Goodwin, Rikki Oden, Ranita Ram, Jacob Bledsoe, Mark Saavedra, Dylan Widjaja and Nate Young, it was their last season competing for Long Beach.

Thank you teammates, coaches, family, friends and Beach Crew alumni for your support. Row Beach!

For more information:

Official ACRA results

Official WIRA results


Photo by Chamille Mendoza

Long Beach Finishes Season With Silver and Bronze Medals at WIRA

Tuesday, 6. May 2014


By Ariana Gastelum

Women’s Varsity Member

Contributing Writer

After a competitive season, the Long Beach State Rowing Team walked away from the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Regatta with a set of medals from both teams: silver for the women’s novice four and bronze for the men’s lightweight four.

WIRA took place at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Sacramento, Calif. on April 26 and 27.

In addition, five of the eight boats that competed in the 2,000-meter races qualified into the grand finals. This included the women’s varsity four, novice four and lightweight four as well as the men’s varsity four and novice lightweight four.

The women’s novice four consisted of Alexandra Savage, Sydney Abad, Sam McFeely, Cecilia Guerrero and coxswain Sheila Robles.

On Saturday, they finished first in their heat against San Diego State University (SDSU), Arizona State University (ASU), Lewis and Clark College (L&C) and Chapman University with a time of 8 minutes and 6.8 seconds.

They finished second in the grand finals on Sunday behind Portland State with a time of 8 minutes and 15.1 seconds. SDSU came in eight seconds later, followed by Saint Mary’s College, University of California Irvine (UCI) and University of California Berkeley’s California Lightweight Crew.

“There are some very good athletes in the novice group who very early got a feel for how much fun the sport can be with some hard work and determination,” women’s coach Ian Simpson said. “The novice group performed well all year, from being undefeated at the [Head Race 1,000-meter sprints] through a couple of good races at the San Diego Crew Classic, the great performance at the Chapman Invitational and the culminating at WIRA.”

The lightweight men, which consisted of Trevor Brand, Greg Yotsov, Matthew Maliglig, Christopher Booth and coxswain Brittni Finley earned bronze medals at grands.

They came in third behind University of Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Loyola Marymount University (LMU), beating another UCSB boat, Santa Clara University and Pacific Lutheran University (PLU).

The lightweight boat practiced together for two weeks before WIRA, according to Yotsov. Brand has only been rowing since January.

“The four of us were all determined to do well in our final race, and this drive made us practice harder to achieve our goal,” Yotsov said. “I don’t have any regrets from our race; believe it or not. I could say we could have had better technique or could have spent more time working out, but I know each person in my boat put their full effort, and as long as I know that they each did the best they could do…I am happy.”

Men’s novice coach Jonathan Flietstra said that he was confident the lightweight men would perform well if every one of them qualified to race.

“The first thing they did well was weigh 160 pounds!” he noted. “I knew that after they weighed in and met those qualifications, that they would have a pretty good chance at getting a medal.”

As for the novice four, the main focus in practice was to increase their speed through improving on their rowing technique.

“A lot of our guys, at their size and weight, are about maxing out on what they could realistically pull right now,” he said. “Trying to get physically stronger in less than a week is almost impossible. But getting technically faster is very possible.”

The men’s novice four, which consisted of Taylor Berukoff, Evan Wright, Steven DesBiens, Mark Saavedra and coxswain Eric Oates, finished fourth behind Western Washington University (WWU), L&C and Sacramento State University with a time of 7 minutes and 42 seconds.

They finished before ASU by 1.5 seconds, followed by Oregon State University and SDSU.

“These novice men have an excellent opportunity to continue to build the program and create and be a part of a very competitive varsity team,” Flietstra said. “They also need to begin thinking about recruiting and building their team…not only for next year, but for two years down the road.”

The men’s varsity four, which included Jake Skoll, Jacob Bledsoe, Grey Mouser, Patrick Tilley and coxswain Kaitlyn Gold, came in fourth behind LMU, SCU and SDSU at the grand finals with a time of 6 minutes and 56.69 seconds. They managed to beat Seattle Pacific University (SPU) by one second, followed by L&C.

“The four did well,” Tilley said. “Looking back on it, we went as fast as we were going to go — given what we had on Sunday. It was our best race of the season in my opinion.”

The women’s varsity four consisted of Maria Guardiola, Kelsey Davis, Rikki Oden, Ariana Gastelum and coxswain Lauren Felske.

On Saturday’s heat, they finished second behind WWU with a time of 8 minutes and 4.1 seconds, before Orange Coast College (OCC) by one second, UCI by two seconds, PLU and UCSB.

In the grand finals, they came in sixth place behind WWU, Humboldt State University, UCSD and OCC with a time of 8 minutes and 5.1 seconds, only about half a second after SPU.

“I think we raced hard on Saturday, and it’s hard to repeat that,” Davis said during a team meeting. “It was really competitive right from the start, and really any one mistake we made would have been a seat lost.”

Next year, first-year women’s assistant coach Tamar Schaap will be studying abroad and will no longer be available to coach the women’s team.

“I now feel really guilty for leaving after the year, since finding coaches was an issue at first,” she said. “But partly due to personal life…I saw that I wanted to go to school again, and coaching — especially novices — made me think about training for myself again.”

Overall, Simpson noted that the team raced to the best of their ability at the given time and hopes the new varsity group is large enough, and experienced enough, to start where they left off, with a good attitude and a successful year.

“With a strong team, we can set our sights on performing well at the San Diego Crew Classic, having a varsity eight in the grand final and/or a four challenging for the top spot,” he said. “With a strong team, we can focus on strong performances at WIRA.”

For official results, visit

CSULB Partners with Livestream’s Rowing Channel

Thursday, 24. April 2014


In a massive effort by Southern California colleges and the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA), CSU Long Beach has joined the efforts of The Rowing Channel (TRC) consortium to bring live webcasts of major regattas to our ever-growing community of alums, their families, and our community. Other SoCal institutions include Orange Coast College, who had a widely popular webcast of the 2014 Newport Regatta. CSULB will add the Southern California Opening Day Regatta and the new Naples Island Collegiate Challenge to the lineup of annual events. In addition, regional events such as the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships (WIRA) and the annual national championships of the ACRA will be the flagship events of the channel.

It is the goal of the consortium to pool together resources, establish best practice, and obtain the proper manpower to make this operation possible.

TRC is operated by Netrendity Network Services, a provider of infrastructure consulting.

You can find The Beach on TRC at