Novices Shine in First Regatta as Rowing Season Begins

[Published September 18,2017]

Gannon, Houser, & Shields

It is not easy to think of the Cuyahoga River as an ideal place for recreation or competition. However, over 2,000 rowers from 14 states came to the Cuyahoga River this past Saturday. Because of the number of crews that are attracted to this regatta, the annual Head of the Cuyahoga (HOTC) has the U.S. Coast Guard close the river to commercial or pleasure boat traffic for most of the day so the rowers may compete without interference.    

The HOTC is a 4800 meter course for the fall season in which crews race one by one down the course to get the fastest time in an event. “I always compare Fall season to cross country and spring season to track. You have long distance racing in the fall and sprints in the spring” CSU Rowing’s President and Coach Matthew Houser also stated that, “Unlike a lot of race courses, the winding river can make it a challenge for colleges that practice in an open body of water. It’s a huge advantage for all the home teams.” The Vikings made sure to take advantage of the home course.

The Vikings entered a men’s varsity 4 and the women’s novice 4; both coxed by Jacob Wilde. With three of the four women having no experience prior to this year, the women’s novice 4 (Gaby Gannon, Katie Giebner, Sydney Gray and Gianna Casella) dominated and won their race; finishing a minute and twenty seconds ahead of second place John Carroll University. Houser noted that the offseason conditioning helped them prepare for the race. “They were fun to watch. Throughout the race you could see how much the conditioning payed off for them. Wilde would have definitely scared a couple of coaches with how close he took the turns. He made the course a lot shorter which helped put both crews in great situations. The competition will not get any easier going forward. I know they are up to the challenge”

The men’s varsity 4 (Matthew Houser, Justin Bellian, Ben Schwegler and David Hooper) however, got a bit of a wake up call. The team placed 7th out of the 8 teams fielded in their race. “Having one practice in that lineup will do that. The downside of having to coach for the first couple of weeks is you lose a lot of precious time to shake the rust off from the offseason with your boat.” Up until recently, Houser was an emergency coach until Erik Meister came to help coach the team with Bob Gannon. “They have done a really good job preparing everyone. As long as both squads keep pushing forward, we will have a successful Fall season.” The Vikings next competition will be this Saturday in Toledo. 

Women’s Novice 4+ Results

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Men’s Open 4+ Results
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