Mar 16 2014

Western looks strong heading into spring

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Western’s men’s crew team carries boats out of the Lakewood Boathouse on Monday, March 10, at Lake Whatcom. The crew team practices every weekday starting at 5 a.m. // Photo by Evan Abell

Devon Zahm / The Western Front

The Western men’s crew team launches into spring season with hopes of coming away with its third consecutive Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference title.

The team springs into its competitive season on Saturday, March 15, when it will host the University of Puget Sound and Seattle Pacific University in the first regatta of the season, The Western Washington University Invitational, on Lake Samish. The teams will race 1,000 meters—half the distance of the regulation 2,000-meter races — because the regatta is meant to gauge the teams’ abilities, senior team president Joe Gregersen said.

The WWU Invitational is the beginning of a jam-packed schedule including another regatta, the Frazier Valley duel, March 22, on Lake Whatcom. The team has a race scheduled for every weekend until Memorial Day, Gregersen said.

“When you finish a race and you win, there’s no referee, there’s no weird calls because everything is quantifiable and unarguable,” junior team vice president Carl Smith said. “[It] proves that you’re stronger than the other guys, you’re better than them.”

Smith is eager to begin competing because of the turnout this year. In the past, athletes either graduate or the time commitment became too much for them, but this year the team has a lot more returners, Smith said.

The returning rowers have all matured and are ready for new challenges, Gregersen said.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who were young last year and have really grown this year,” Gregersen said. “I think the whole team has a higher standard.”

This is the strongest team head coach Jack  Marolich has seen in his five years of coaching at Western, he said.

“Based on the team this year versus last year and the year before, I would say we have a better team,” Marolich said. “I’d like to think that it means that we have a better shot at winning the conference title, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Participating on the crew team is rewarding, Smith said.

“[Rowing] is the only thing in my life where I’ve had to match the gaps with physical demand and mental ones,” Smith said. “But there’s physical accomplishment and mental fortitude for it.”

Gruesome weather conditions hindered the winter training schedule for the team, but hasn’t brought down its spirits, Marolich said.

The team practiced on the water less than in recent seasons because of wind, fog and snow. Instead, the members used the opportunity to focus on land workouts and training, making them stronger than in the past, Marolich said.

All rowers practice at 5 a.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. on Saturdays at Lake Whatcom. As a club sport, the men also have to pay to participate and must fundraise for team expenses, such as traveling and equipment.

“It takes someone who is quite motivated and dedicated to not only do all those things, but also wake up six days a week before most people even think of getting up,” Marolich said.


Read this article at The Western Front

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Feb 25 2014

Race against SU cancelled

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Hey all,

Unfortunately due to poor weather this winter leaving us with minimal practices and traveling complications, we will not be racing Seattle University this weekend. That race will hopefully be pushed to April 19th and we hope to see you all there! Thank you for all your support, it continually benefits the team! See you at Lake Samish for our duel against UPS.

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Dec 06 2013

Joining in the off season

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Hey all,

The team has been working out hard in the afternoons and trying to stay in shape as best as possible. For those who are interested in joining our team still, that is more than okay. We would love to have anyone out that is willing to put in the hard work. We do take on new guys through the first few weeks of winter quarter still so it’s not too late! If you’re interested in becoming a part of our team, email our coach at or our Captain at They can keep you updated on what to do! Our first practice back is looking to be January 10th at 5:30pm at Carver Gym. Have a great winter break and stay in shape!

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Nov 15 2013

WSU Duel and HOTL Recap

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Hey all,

As you know, our team hosted WSU for the annual WSU v. WWU duel on Lake Whatcom, November 2nd. The morning started off fairly calm but as time went on, the storm blew in. The WWU and WSU Varsity 8′s launched at 8:30am with hopes of racing the shortened (3500m) course. As the five 8′s of men rowed out to Strawberry Point where the starting line waited for them, Lake Whatcom was beginning to white cap and the men were feeling winds with gusts well over 20mph. At the coaches discretion, the race was modified to a race rowing by fours with the hopes of holding a set boat through the rough chop. As the race began, all five 8′s jumped off the start, rowing by fours, switching back and fourth between bow four and stern four rowing. WWU A8+ took on a few very large waves, very quickly in a row, making the top 8 slowly take on water. WSU B8+ were in the same situation. With the four rowers attempting to bail the boat while their other four teammates continued to row, the water rushing over the gunwale of the boat was filling quicker than could be thrown back. WWU A8+ filled with water, the men unstrapped their feet and took a dip in Lake Whatcom quickly followed by WSU B8+ doing the same. Both boats were recovered and towed back to the dock and all men and women were safely picked up by the launch boats. Races following the Varsity 8′s were cancelled and the duel was called a WSU victory by getting two boats back to the dock compared to WWU’s one.


Head of the Lake proved to be a fantastic day of weather for the regatta, a nice treat having just swamped a boat the day before for the WWU Men. The A8+ split into a A4+ and B4+ for the regatta. Both 4′s had great races, placing 5th and 6th out of 11 teams in the collegiate V4+ race. Both 4′s finished behind UW A, UW B, Frazier Valley, Univ. of Oregon. The A4+ had a breakage with 850m to go, causing their time to suffer but held it together and finished the race as strong as possible with only 3 rowers.


The team is looking forward to spring racing and can’t wait to see all the friends, families, and fans out at the races showing their support! Thanks to all who support our team and enjoy watching us race!


WWU A4+ (Joe Gregersen, Carl Smith, Chris Swanson, Zak Balonick, Isabel Vassiliadis)


WWU B4+ (Henry Brown, Brad Verbon, Gen Carrillo, Roddy Van der Linden, Brayden Jacobsen)

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Oct 31 2013

Annual WSU Duel and Head of the Lake at UW

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Hey friends and families!

Sorry the updates have been minimal so far but school and training have been very intense. This weekend is huge for the team! We have our annual WSU duel, on Lake Whatcom, this Saturday (Nov. 2nd). It is our year to host them for some competitive but fun racing, so come on out and support your men’s crew team!!! Lakewood facility is rented out so there will be a nice and warm area to hangout in while the races are flying by the docks and a few snacks to enjoy. We hope to see EVERYONE out there! The larger the group, the more fun it is for everyone. This is the only race we host on our lake so we are really looking forward to it!

Address: 2410 Lake Whatcom Blvd.


7:45 am        Coach and Coxswain Meeting
8:30am        6.5k M race: WSU V8+, WSU Lwt8+, WSU 3V8+, WWU A8+, WWU B8+


10:00am      3.5k M race: WWU 1N8+, WWU 2N8+, WWU mixed 8+, WSU 1N8+, WSU 2N8+, WSU 3N8+
Awards following immediately after!

Come on out and see what all your guys have been training for! Dress warm!


Following the WSU Duel on saturday, the 1V4+ and 2V4+ (A8+ split) will be traveling to the University of Washington to race at Head of the Lake. This is a 5k race that starts in Lake Union and ends in Lake Washington by the UW boathouse. We would love the see the support in Seattle as well as we take on the fastest crews in the Nation! Our race starts at 9:30 am. Enjoy the intensity of rowing through the cut!

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Sep 27 2013

Friday Workout

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Hey everyone,

Great job yesterday with the group workout. We are seeing a lot of promising athletes this year and a lot of great coxswains! Today we will be meeting at Carver Gym by the bike racks in between SMATE and Carver. The practice today is at 5pm, bring your running shoes and proper rain workout clothes. We are excited to see everyone out there again today, we are looking at a very promising group and we hope to see every single one of you stick it out for the entire year. See you guys today at 5pm.


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Sep 23 2013

Info Meeting Wednesday AW210 @7pm

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Hey everyone,

Just a reminder that we will be having an informational meeting for EVERYONE interested in our team on Wednesday, September 25th, in Academic West 210 at 7pm. This is where you will gather most of the information about us and what we do. I hope to see A LOT of faces at the meeting! We are all getting pumped for an extremely competitive season and a lot of fast new rowers. See you all tomorrow at the info fair by the rec center and at our meeting on wednesday. Thanks.


-Joe Gregersen
WWU Men’s Crew Captain
(206) 437-3931

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Sep 18 2013

Vikings season starting soon!

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Hey everyone!

I hope everyone had a great summer and worked out hard. As many of you know, our season is starting very soon! Get ready because starting next week we will be having a few land practices and meetings so that we are ready for our first practice on the water, September 28th. Here are a few important upcoming dates:

September 23rd and 24th: Sport Club Info Fair (@ Wade King Rec Center)

September 25th: Informational Meeting for ALL interested in rowing this year (@ Academic Instructional Center – West Wing (AW) 210 from 7pm-8pm)

September 28th: First water practice (@ Lakewood)

So for all those who are interested in rowing for us this year, swing by the Sport Club Info Fair and come talk to us! We will be handing out fliers with the meeting time on it (Frazier 4 @ 7pm) and you can meet some of the guys!

It is IMPORTANT to know, you DO NOT need to have any rowing experience to join our team.

Our team is built primarily off of guys with no pre-college rowing experience and our amazing coaches turn us into championship rowers. If you aren’t able to make it to either of the two info fair days, feel free to email me at See you guys soon, we are hoping to have the biggest turnout yet! Every year our team is getting bigger, faster, and more dominant!

-Joe Gregersen
WWU Men’s Crew Captain


From Bow to Stern (L to R): Chris Swanson (F), Johnny Bartich (S), Brayden Jacobsen (F), Carl Smith (S), Nate Thies (Sn), Joe Gregersen (J), Zak Balonick (J), Nolan Shinn (J), Isabel Vassiliadis (F)

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Sep 18 2013

Racing on the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia PA

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Hey all,

I apologize about not following up after our Varsity 4 traveled to Philadelphia for the Dad Vail regatta but school was hectic and after that it slipped my mind. Following our victorious NCRC Championship, the Varisty 4 (Joe Gregersen, Nate Thies, Carl Smith, Zak Balonick, Isabel Vassiliadis) flew across the country to race at a national championship, the Dad Vail Regatta. Meeting them out there was a brand new Vespoli 4+, purchased by the team earlier that spring. After going for a few practice rows in the new boat, the V4 was getting better acquainted and familiar with the new boat and beginning to feel a little more comfortable. The structure of the event had heat races, semi-finals, and the grand final. Each race, teams had to place top 2 in order to advance. The V4 took their lane at the starting line on the day of the heat races and when the flag dropped they held nothing back. They took a close 2nd place after a rocky race but they advanced to the semi-finals. Adjusting to a new boat is not easy and the V4 was hoping for a better race the following day in their semi-final race. On the warm up to the semis, races were delayed, due to course malfunction, for nearly 50 minutes. They started their race, had a great jump immediately off the line but the extreme wind and currents led the next lanes boat directly into the side of our V4. The race was restarted, it was a clean start but a rocky race. Unfortunately the V4 did not advance to the grand finals after finishing in a disappointing 4th place. Based on overall times, the WWU V4+ took 12th out of 58 schools competing in the men’s Varsity 4+ race. The team is hoping to return next year and give everyone a run for a podium finish.

Thank you all who support us every year and make rowing possible and enjoyable!


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May 06 2013

2013 NCRC Champions!

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Western Washington University Men's Crew

The Vikings had a very strong showing at the 2013 NCRC Championships held on Lake Stevens, coming away with the team points title for the 2nd year in a row.  The team points title is a testament to the hard work that every rower put in over the course of the year and their contribution on race day. Results of individual boats below:

V8 – 1st

JV8 – 5th in V8 final

V4+ – 1st

JV4+ – 1st

Vltwt4+ – 2nd

N4+ – 4th

N8 – 2nd (2 boat race vs. UPS)

While most of the team is finished for the season, the V4+ is making the trip to the Dad Vail National Championship regatta on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA; the largest collegiate regatta in the country.  Racing is held May 10-11, with heats on Friday and semi and grand-finals on Saturday.  The athletes making the trip are (from bow to stern): Isabel Vassiliadis (cox), Zak Balonick, Carl Smith, Nate Thies, and Joe Gregersen (stroke).  The team last made the trip to Vails in 2008 where their V4+ narrowly missed making the grand final. The Vikings are looking to better that performance this year and put a boat in the grands, placing top 6 out of 52 crews entered in the varsity heavyweight 4+ event. Go Vikings!

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