Gruenberg Cup 2017
All Photos by Jasmine McGill
Men’s Varsity Coach
The Gruenberg Cup 2/26/2017
San Diego State University hosted today’s Gruenberg Cup on Mission Bay in San Diego. USC, SDSU, and Long Beach are the three schools that make up the three-school challenge. The conditions were misty with occasional sprinkles of rain. The course was 1700 meters with a bit of a current with the course as the tide was going out. The wind was calm to occasionally slight constant breeze headwind.
The day started off with the 2V event and Long Beach racing in the Boyle. When Long Beach entered this event last year the lineup was made up of 6 novices and 2 varsity rowers. It was not a great race but it was an important one because it showed those rowers that a B boat entry can help to win team points and be just as valuable. Since the Varsity had 10 members last year and the novice did not have enough either for a Novice 8B they had to enter as a composite Varsity/Novice 8. This year we had 6 Varsity and filled the remaining seats with a few Novice who were up to the challenge of rowing in a Varsity event. One of those novice has only been rowing a month! This year showed that Long Beach has increased in depth and quality of our 2V entry, finishing 38 seconds behind an impressive SDSU 2V.
After beating both USC and SDSU last Fall in the Novice 8 we had high hopes for this Spring. There are a number of novices that have been pulling great 2k erg tests. Truthfully, due to losing half of that eight, we lost some experienced rowers for a number of the seats and it showed in today’s performance. We have gained some promising new recruits in the last month who were hurriedly prepared to race. The Novice 8, racing in the Pioneer, came in third, with open water, behind SDSU and USC’s eights. USC and SDSU outperformed us on their retention and development over winter. The men know that they need to keep recruiting and catch up the new recruits to regain their dominance over the other schools. With 10 weeks left in the season before WIRA we have time to get the Novice 8 back on track.
While the Novice took a small step back, the Varsity 8 took a big leap forward in The Hornet. The Varsity 8 only raced SDSU, as USC does not currently have a Varsity squad. Last year, the Varsity 8 was a full 30 or more seconds behind SDSU. We have now closed that gap down to a small and more respectable 8 seconds, with room to grow! The rowers have work to do getting the 2k erg tests down and some technical issues to work on but we are not afraid to go after it because UCLA was just on the other side of that SDSU boat about 2 seconds at Crew Classic last year. Thanks to some weekend scrimmages against the LBRA we have gained a training partner to get us the competition we need in practice. Setting SDSU in our sights will get us closer to teams like UCLA. It was of course a little hard to lose and hurts, but on the sunny side, 22 seconds of progress has been made. By Crew Classic we want to be right there with SDSU, and then beyond!
After a short break while USC and SDSU raced the Novice 8B in which we did not have an entry, Long Beach launched a flotilla of fours. First up was the Varsity 4s. The Heavies raced in the Bad Company and the Lightweights took The Maxson. Since the priority of the team is to spend as much time as possible training for the eights we only took out the fours a couple times this Spring. That did not stop both fours from having a great race that MAY have involved the fatality of an unfortunate duck that got in the way of the Lightweights, who hit the backside of Scott Morris’ shaft and landed in Matt Maliglig’s lap before bouncing out of the shell and back into the water never to be seen again. Both Varsity boats beat SDSU’s 4 and brought the varsity a well-earned win for their hard work and second race of the day.
Last up was the Novice 4 event in the Cashman and the Taggart. One of the Novice in the Cashman just started rowing around three weeks ago and is already one of the top times on the squad. Right now, like all novice, they are mostly all muscle and no finesse, but that worked to their advantage on the shortened 1700 Meter course. With only one or two practices together the crew emptied the tank and solidly beat SDSU during the body and then held their lead even though SDSU had an killer sprint that left the coaches and spectators a little nervous for Long Beach. The Cashman Crew held onto it though and brought the men’s team their FIRST victory in the shell we acquired at ACRA last spring and dedicated this Fall. The Novice 4B had some of our newest recruits, some of them only rowing four weeks. That did not stop them from being prepared with a solid race plan and pushing themselves hard even after two had already raced in the 8.
Although SDSU kept the Cup another year, Long Beach has been making considerable progress in both depth and results. The day concluded with Long Beach handing over shirts for the eights, but then gaining some shirts back for the Fours. Small victories are still victories and these keep us hungry for even bigger rewards in the eights someday, soon. We must stick together and keep dropping time on our 2ks. We are on track to have a Varsity 8 and Novice 8 faster than last year by WIRA and we continue to do well in the smaller boats. Our next race is the Newport Regatta where we will face some of the same schools as well as OCC, UCI and UCLA. We hope to have even stronger lineups in the Novice 8 and Varsity 2V with the return of the four athletes that were out for various reasons this weekend.