Western Intercollegiate rifle Conference Championship Recap
Feb 27, 2023
As a club, we are very laid back and practice with dry fencing equipment. We provide the equipment to fence for anyone who cannot provide their own. This is a Foil, Sabre, and Epee club. This club is designed so that anyone who is interested in being a member is able to. We have the ability to teach beginners and to support those who already know how to Fence and wish to continue.
Club E-Mail: [email protected]
Dues: $10.00 per semester
Practice times: Sundays from 8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Location: Room BH030 (combative room in the basement of the Fieldhouse)
Day two (Monday, March 6th)
Hi, I’m Butters, and I'm excited to share my experience with Grand Valley's rowing team during our spring break training trip. This is the second spring break trip I’ve been on with the team, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now!
Our first two days were intense and a bit hot, with practices twice a day, but it was worth it as it’s a nice change from Michigan’s weather. This morning we started with a yummy breakfast at our hotel, getting ready for our morning practice on Lake Lanier. After a nice land warmup, we headed towards the water for some drills and technique work. As a coxswain for the eight, I spent some time in the launch recording our performance to analyze later. After practice we headed back to the hotel where we ate a delicious lunch made by Coach Troy's mom (shoutout to the real MVP). Then some of us headed to the store for some downtime before our afternoon practice. At practice we got to test out a demo boat from Vespoli, which was a pleasant change from our usual Hudson eights. We did some high-intensity pieces with resistance, getting faster each time, before heading back to the hotel for dinner, which was prepared again by Lisa Harding.
Overall, it's been a great start to our spring break training, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the week has in store for us. These trips are always challenging, but they're also incredibly rewarding. I'm grateful for the opportunity as the trip gives us a chance to fix all the issues with our stroke before getting back on the cold water back home.
This morning we left the hotel around 8:30 to go to the lake for morning practice. I rowed in one of the varsity women’s 8+ boats where we got to test out a new Vespoli 8+. We worked on our catches and focused on getting a good backsplash while rowing by sixes at a 12-16 stroke rate for the first half of practice. Then for the second half of practice, we focused on the same thing but rowed by all 8 at an 18-22 stroke rate. Each practice we’ve been seeing a lot of improvement while we knock off some rust from winter training. It makes me very excited for the upcoming season. After practice, we had lunch at the hotel, and I went to Dunkin with a group of the varsity women. Then I watched Tiktoks until afternoon practice. At practice, we did AT work at a 24-28 stroke rate. After practice, I had chicken and mac and cheese for dinner at the hotel. After dinner, I went to get ice cream with some teammates!
This morning it was hard to get myself out of bed but eventually, I got up and got myself a nice waffle and sausages to fuel myself for practice. The novice men gathered after breakfast for a quick meeting with coach Trevor and discussed issues with our technique that we could focus on. After that and a little
bit of downtime, we went off to practice. I got to ride with Elliot, our esteemed vice president for the first of many trips today, and I have to say it was a fun ride. At our morning practice, we went out in the Stoll and did a lot of work on our timing. Our first drill was a pause slap, where we would stop at the ½ slide, ¾ slide and then let our oars slap the water at the catch. Rotating between bow and stern 4, we spent a lot of time on that and continuous rowing by 6s . Near the end of practice, however, we started to row by 8 and worked up towards race speed. While it is valuable to spend time rowing as an eight, it wasn't in my favor being that my feet don’t fit in 2 seat’s shoes in the Stoll. This made it even more difficult for me when we got to higher rates but by sheer luck, I was somehow able to stay in. Our second practice was 3 hours long and full of experiences. The novice men went out an hour early just to make the most of this trip as we could. However, during our time warming up Aiden’s rigger, our bow seat, ended up coming off the boat. So we had to head in after that. It wasn’t so bad though, since it led us to have the chance to row in the Lubbers, the current V1 boat. Most of this practice was spent on backing the blade into the water and just spending time rowing as a boat.
Outside of practice, most of my time was spent with the other novice men. Our coach took us to get ice cream as a reward for a successful setting drill. Here we got another amazing food review from Michael as he enjoyed his blizzard. Overall, our time with the trip was full of great memories.
Good morning, Laker Nation! Today is Monday, day 2 of our spring break training here in Gainesville, Georgia! We started off the day strong with morning practice consisting of steady-state in an 8 boat by 4s and 6s. Along the way, we performed pause drills to focus on the timing of body movements at the catch. Coach McKenzie taught us that as we approach the catch, we need to have faster arm movement and slow down the legs to make sure that once we do reach the catch, the oar blade enters the water at the exact same time as when our legs reach the end of the slide. It was a tricky concept for us all to grasp at first, but I saw improvements with our slide speed and tendency to lunge or over-compress at the catch. While rowing back to the dock by 6s, I noticed that our oars were rarely checking (touching) the water as we rolled up through the recovery. This made me so happy! It was only a few months ago that our novice 8 could only get one or two “tickless” strokes in a row. We are making so much progress in improving our form!
After morning practice concluded, we all loaded into the minivans and drove back to the hotel where we ate deli sandwiches, various chips, and watermelon. We played a few rounds of the classic game Telephone which was fun, too. After our delicious and nutritious lunch, around a dozen women rowers and myself drove to Dunkin Donuts to enjoy post-practice coffees. One thing I’m really enjoying about this trip is all of the opportunity to interact and get to know members of the team I haven’t gotten close with yet! Especially as a first-year member of the team, the trip has been an amazing bonding experience.
Next was the afternoon practice! It was a bright and sunny 70° evening in our novice 8 boat. We brought up the power with a Battle Paddle between port side and the starboard side! It was a fierce competition between pair partners, boat halves, 6s, and eventually all 8! It was a thrilling experience to go head-to-
head with the other girls and cheer them on! Afterwards we rowed by all 8 at higher rates and focused on keeping the boat controlled. In the end, I saw lots of improvement in our timing, rushing, and overall, boat synchronicity.
Finally, we drove back to the hotel and enjoyed a burger and macaroni dinner together. Some of us went out to ice cream after and it was a blast! I cannot wait for what fun adventures await me for the rest of the week!
Day three (Tuesday, March 7th)
Tuesday morning was busy for the GVSU Rowing team. We had breakfast around 7:30 and left the hotel at 8:20 for practice!
When we got to the course this morning the varsity women worked on catches in 8s. One boat was in the Schintz and the other was testing a new Vespoli! It was very smooth and very exciting to row in. Especially as a cox because the steering was great! We did some steady-state rowing and backing drills to get back in the swing of things. We took a 30-minute break and then went out for part two! We did more steady state and pause drills. The weather was so beautiful until the wind gusts picked up. Even so, it was still a great practice.
Afterward, we were set free to explore Georgia on our own. I decided to go on a hike at Amicalola Falls state park. The hike was only two miles but the 200+ stairs had us hurting! It was so much fun, and the views were beautiful. We saw great mountains and Georgia’s biggest waterfall!
After the hike, we went back to the hotel and had a great dinner. Thank you, Lisa Harding, for helping us with dinner! Then, for those who weren't too beat from the hike, we spent some time at the mall looking for Georgia merchandise. Sadly, none could be found. Tuesday was a super long day and I ended it by hanging out with my roommates Fiona, Emilia, and Andrea! This is one of the best spring breaks I’ve had on the team and I'm so glad to spend my last one with such a fantastic team.
Today was a pretty interesting day simply because our schedule was flipped on its head. Instead of having two practices over the course of the day we took the opportunity to run two practices in the morning and leave the afternoon for several options of activities. Immediately following practice there was an incredibly scenic hike to visit “Georgia’s largest waterfall”. It was a nice hike that was not super challenging. But it did have some incredible scenery.
Besides that, dinner was a wonderful assortment of breakfast items crafted by the wonderful Mrs. Harding. We were able to eat a family recipe (a family staple according to Coach Troy) of Baked French Toast as well as bagels and spiral cut ham. It was all a very nice meal that left everybody wanting more.
Following dinner, the novice men were treated to a trip to the Local TopGolf establishment by Coach Trevor, which all of them were super stoked for. All in all it was a very pleasant day with wonderful weather and plenty of sun for all of us to share.
Today was day 3 of practice and it was a whopping 80 degrees. In the morning the novices quickly rigged the Ring and Zelenka. We did drills with the four switching between stern, bow, and all fours. We worked on having even handle heights and trying not to rush. It was really rough in the beginning, but by the end of morning practice, we were starting to get our stuff together.
After getting a few snacks in our stomachs we took out the 8+ instead of taking out pairs because it was super windy. We rowed the Alex and started off by doing pausing drills and practiced setting the boat with all eight. We ended practice by having to try to re-dock the boat about seven different times until finally coach Troy and McKenzie pulled us in. Coach Troy’s input for the day was, “It’s really windy out here.”
After practice, most of the team headed to the East Ridge Spring Trail for a hike that was a never-ending stair master. Once we got to the top of the trail and caught our breaths, we dipped our toes in the creek and looked out at the waterfall. Then I went to the mall of Georgia with my hotel roomies and a couple of other rowers in search of merch and sadly found nothing.
Today I got up and got some breakfast at 7:00 so we could leave at 8:20. At practice we worked on improving our catches. We did a drill at half-slide for high rates to help us get our catches faster. Our drills were mostly done with 4’s and 6’s, but towards the end we went down the 2k course by all 8 at an 18-stroke rate, with race pace for 10 strokes every 500m. The sunlight was quite intense today so many of our guys got sunburned. After our three hours of practice, the novice men and a few of the varsity men rode together to get some lunch at Zaxby's along the way to our hike. We hiked up the mountain and walked in the creek for a few hours, enjoying the outdoors and taking pictures. Then we went back to the hotel where Mrs. Harding had some very tasty French toast paired with bagels, ham, and fruit, waiting for us. After lunch, Coach Trevor took us novice men to TopGolf and we played a game trying to hit targets for points. I proceeded to score a whopping 13 points in an hour because I have never golfed in my life. Even though I couldn’t beat Coach Trevor’s 70+ points, I did hit my golf balls faster (125mph) than him. We had some good laughs on the way back, and now we get to crash at the hotel and prepare for tomorrow!
Day one (Sunday, March 5th)
Ohhh what a day! Our first full day in Georgia started off with none other than the calming alarm set by my dear roommate Margaret going off at full volume for everyone on our floor to hear. Don’t worry though, she turned it off just in time for my alarm to go off two minutes later. Eventually we meandered out of bed with everyone else in my room and made our way down to breakfast with the rest of the team before our first practice of the day. Though I wasn’t particularly hungry this morning, I have learned my lesson a time or two of what malnourished rowing feels like. Therefore, I made the wise choice to fuel up with some eggs, a piece of sausage, and a biscuit. Delicious!
At 8:30 am wheels were rolling out of the parking lot, and we set off to Lake Lanier, embracing the beautiful sunny weather, and the excitement of being back on the water for the first time since the fall. For the morning row, Coach Troy put me in 6 seat of the Keeler, which also happened to be port. During this training session, we focused on shaking off the rust, and sectioning out the different sequences of the recovery (pausing at hands away, bodies over, and half slide, and alternating every two and three strokes). It was a great way to refresh good habits and encourage boat synchronicity as we rowed in new lineups. We ended the practice with a series of 5 and glides to practice balancing while rowing with all 8 rowers…. which definitely proved to be a challenge, but we found our rhythm by the end!!
Following the first session, everyone split into different groups for lunch, quick exploring, homework, and naps. I, for one, opted for a quiet nap in my room to make up for all 20 minutes of sleep I accumulated on the trip to Georgia. Once I woke up, my other roommate Beka, came back with almost as much energy as I started with prior to the nap. So, we turned on a movie and cherished the last few minutes of downtime before our second practice of the day. This practice was also a steady state practice, and an extension to the morning practice. However, different from this morning, I started off as 7 seat, due to injuries a teammate and I have been dealing with. Because of this change, I started off as a starboard, inevitably switching back to 6 seat halfway through practice whilst on the water. A fun little plot twist some may say. Finally, after the conclusion of practice, we were treated to an incredible dinner of chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and Hawaiian rolls by team mom, Lisa Harding - Coach Troy Harding’s mom- herself.
Today was the first time back on the water since November! The jump from the Michigan 20-degree days to sunny blue skies and 65 was perfect weather to knock the rust off and get back to on-water training after months of indoor erging. After rigging the boats, we were off to our first of two practice
sessions today. The morning practice was mainly getting back on the water to remember how rowing all together in a boat feels. We practiced some drills that pause during certain parts of the stroke and focused on technical details. I was sitting in 2 seat in the bow of the boat and focused on posture, engaging my core, and lengthening my strokes so when I place the blade in the water I can push as much water as possible.
Between the morning and afternoon practices most of the varsity men treated ourselves to chicken, biscuits, coleslaw, and sweet tea at one of my southern favorites, Bojangles’. Then we had some downtime back at the hotel where I worked on some upper body weights with fitness extraordinaire Josh Scotto, followed by a quick nap before heading back to practice for session two. Vespoli, a well-known boat manufacturer, had a couple of new 8+ boats for us to try out and they were great. The boat I was in had a great turning radius and in general had a lighter, nice feeling. I especially liked the seats and the smooth slide to the catch and release positions of each stroke. During this practice, I sat in 4 seat and put extra emphasis on matching body movement timing with everyone in front of me along with lengthening my arms and body, once again, so my strokes can grab as much water as possible.
A day’s worth of rowing was rewarded with a fantastic meal of fried chicken, baked potatoes, mac n’ cheese, salad, and dinner rolls coordinated by the incredible Mrs. Lisa Harding (Coach Troy’s Mom)! It’s no easy task to plan a delicious dinner for nearly 60 hungry rowers!
Now, it’s time for a good stretch, a team meeting, and waiting for two of my teammates - Eliot and Dan - to arrive from ATL. On to Monday!
Today was day 1 in Gainesville, Georgia and it was so nice to be back on the water. At our first practice of the day, we had to unload and rig the 8+ boats. The novices 8+ was the Alex today. After being on the ergs for months we focused on the basics and water technique.
On the water, we did our full pick warm-ups. After that we did a rock ‘n’ roll drill. Once we practiced the stroke broken down into steps, we rowed by fours switching on and off from stern and bow four.
After the first practice of the day, I got some lunch with some of the varsity women. I got Chipotle and some of the other women got Steak ‘n Shake. We then went back to our hotel room and hung out until we needed to leave for the second practice of the day.
For the second practice we did the same warm-ups and then coach decided to change up our practice plan. Instead of doing more of what we did this morning we ended up rowing on the feather. After rowing on the feather for a few minutes we did a feathering drill to help us remove the blade on the square and then feather so that we weren’t scooping water up, causing the boat to become offset. Our coxswain was able to take a few minutes to learn how the boat moves by telling us to do something to see what it did to the boat. That was fun because I got to find out how the boat maneuvers and how each person affects the boat. We then spun the boat and rowed by 6’s back to the dock. There is something tranquil about being in a boat on the water that I absolutely love every minute of.
At dinner we got our spring break guides and that was a lot of fun reading through the nicknames and confessions. After that the novice women walked to McDonald’s to get ice cream. I got an Oreo shamrock shake McFlurry.
Overall today was a fun and exciting day, and I had a lot of fun rowing and hanging out with friends.
Today was the first day of spring break practice and it was splendid. I had my alarm set for 7AM to get my day started, but I didn’t manage to get out of bed until about 7:40 when I had a surprise visit from the novice men. After being dragged out of bed by them, I had some sausage, eggs, and a singular biscuit for breakfast and then headed off to practice. We had to practice with a new line up from the fall season as we had a new addition to the team in the form of Kyle. I had been rowing in the 5 seat for most of the fall season, but now I’ve been moved to the 7 seat which felt like a big change for some reason. I guess I was just used to seeing more people ahead of me that I could use to keep in time with, but now I just have Michael in the stroke seat ahead of me. The morning practice consisted of getting Kyle used to the water since it was his first time ever on the water with us, and he did really well considering he had to get acquainted with everything so quickly. The afternoon practice was when things started to get going again. We covered a lot more distance compared to the morning and did a lot more work too. We got to do some rowing by 6s which I thought went pretty well and we even threw in some work by 8s, which did not go as well. Overall practice was very enjoyable and felt great to actually be back out on the water again.
Outside of practice, the novice men were back at their shenanigans again. All of us tried to go out for lunch together, but none of the places that we wanted to go to had short waiting times, so we decided to split up and explore the city instead. Half of us went to a Vietnamese restaurant where I tried pho for the first time, and the other half went to a southwester place where coach Trevor appeared as a special guest on Michael’s Food Review. After meeting back up again, the novice men went back to the hotel and watched Shark Tale until it was time to leave for the afternoon practice. After the afternoon practice, we played some football behind the hotel, where we had the manager come out to tell us that we had to keep it down and ref our game too. Following the football game, we had some lovely chicken and baked potatoes for dinner, and after dinner we hit the little hotel gym to get pumped. We did a bit of incline bench, some bicep curls, and a lot of flexing in the mirrors. It was a good ‘ol time messing around with the boys.
So far, so good. It’s only the first day of actually doing work, but it looks like we are set to get pretty fast here. Everyone has been having a great time and we can’t wait to keep practicing and getting better.
JACKSON, MICHIGAN – The GVSU Rifle Club recently concluded the five-month Western Intercollegiate Rifle Conference (WIRC) season competing in the Conference Championship hosted by the University of Michigan at the Jackson County Sportsman’s Club. The conference is currently composed of 11 teams from the Midwest and East Coast. Member schools include Clemson University, Grand Valley State University, Hillsdale College, Liberty University, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological University, North Dakota State University, Purdue University, University of Akron, University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior.
In the regular season, the schools compete in monthly postal matches. A postal match is a competition in which competitors fire separately on their home ranges and exchange scores. Five shooters are predesignated by each team with the top four individual scores contributing towards the overall team score. The matches consist of 60 shots in a three-position smallbore rifle and precision air rifle.
The Swanson Trophy, named after two-time Olympian and former President of the National Rifle Association the late Dr. Emmet O. Swanson, is presented to the highest-scoring smallbore team in the postal matches. The Lakers finished fifth with 6782 points. The Akron Zips Rifle Club finished first with 9047.
The Ranta Trophy, named after the late William T. Ranta, former Head Coach of the Lake Superior State University rifle team, is presented to the highest-scoring air rifle team in the postal matches. The award has been presented since 1985. The Akron Zips Rifle Club earned the award this season with a score of 9264. GVSU finished in fifth place with 7310.
The Wiles Trophy, named after the late Russell Wiles, an attorney from Chicago, Illinois, is awarded to the highest-scoring team at the Championship. The award has been presented since the 1930s. Akron earned the trophy with a score of 2276 (out of 2400). Liberty was second with a score of 2198. University of Michigan was third with 2152. The Lakers finished sixth with a score of 1896. Grand Valley was led by Grayce Tappy (553), John Martin (455), Miranda Howell (444), and Mahmoud Salih (444).
The Bernarde Trophy, named after former University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Head Coach Mark Bernarde is awarded to the highest-scoring air rifle team in the Championship match. The award has been presented since 1989. Akron won the award with a score of 2319 (out of 2400). Liberty was second at 2258. Michigan was third with 2245. Grand Valley was seventh with a score of 2010. The Lakers score included Tappy (584), Howell (513), Salih (468), and Martin (445). Tappy’s score was good for third overall in the match. It is the highest score and finish by a GVSU competitor in the air rifle championship in school history.
Tappy added to her resume by earning second-team All-Conference in smallbore (549.2 average) and first-team All-Conference in air rifle (578.2 average). She becomes the first Laker to earn All-Conference honors since Christian Yap in the 2019-20 season.
The Lakers are coached by eighth-year Head Coach Cameron Zwart and Assistant Coach Leroy McCormick.
The mission of the GVSU Rifle & Pistol Club is to provide all students with the opportunity to participate in shooting sports, with an emphasis in three-position smallbore rifle, international air rifle, and air pistol. Regardless of skill or ability, all members can have a safe and enjoyable time interacting with fellow students and engaging in marksmanship. All equipment is provided, including guns, ammunition, and targets. The club meets Tuesdays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM and Thursdays 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM during the school year at the Grand Rapids Rifle & Pistol Club (1331 Nagel Ave SW, Wyoming). Practice attendance is not mandatory to be a member of the club; however, regular practice attendance is expected.
Please consider supporting the GVSU Rifle Club through a tax-deductible charitable contribution: https://www.gvsu.edu/giving/give-online2.htm?fundId=80818