Hall having a ball as part of U-M’s rowing team

When he picked up a pamphlet about the University of Michigan crew team during his senior year of high school, Riley Hall never imagined it would spawn such an obsession. Hall, a Grand Haven grad now in his senior year at Michigan, is a four-year member of the Wolverines' nationally-ranked crew team. He's been racing with the team's top boat, the Varsity 8, since his sophomore year, helping Michigan win three consecutive American Collegiate Rowing Association national championships.
Matt DeYoung
Apr 12, 2012

Hall and fellow GHHS graduate and Michigan rower Alex Vander Meulen will enjoy a homecoming of sorts this weekend as they lead the
Wolverines onto Spring Lake for the Lubbers Cup Regatta.

“I had grabbed a brochure and a poster at Grand Haven from the coaches here, so I knew what was going on when I got here,” Hall said. “Then I got approached on campus by the freshman coach, and she asked me to come down to the boathouse, so I went and checked it out.”

Hall earned a spot on the team as a freshman, then quickly moved up the ranks.

“I sit 5-seat in the Varsity 8, which means I’m in the middle of the boat, what we call the engine room,” Hall said. “That’s usually the bigger guys who have the most power.

“The Varsity 8 is the top eight that our team has. It’s actually nine people — eight rowers plus the coxswain, the person who steers the boat.”

Hall was a three-sport athlete at Grand Haven. He played football, basketball and baseball for the Buccaneers, but none of those sports carried quite so much emphasis on the team as rowing.

“Rowing’s different than anything I’ve ever done,” said Hall, a mechanical engineering major. “It’s the ultimate team sport. There’s not one person who can dominate and win the race.”

Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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