Jan Jacobs, Jack Front and Jay Robinson face a 13-Mile race.
Three Detroit runners and an Ann Arbor tennis
player are competing in Venezuela this week
Special to The Jewish News
he Sixth Pan American
Maccabi Games began
this week in Caracas,
Venezuela. Four Michiga-
nians are among the
athletes from North, Central and
South America, as well as Israel and
The four Michigan athletes in-
clude a tennis player from Ann Arbor,
Wendy Stross, plus three half-
marathoners from metro Detroit, Jan
Jacobs, Jay Robinson and Jack Front.
Stross graduated from Ann Arbor
Huron High School in June. She was
the number one singles player on
Huron's traditionally strong varsity
team for three years. She was an All-
State selection each year, was an All-
American last season and has been
nominated for All-American again
Stross received a call from the U.S.
Committee Sports for Israel earlier
this year, asking if she would like to
apply for a spot on the Pan Am team.
"I'm very excited;' she said. "I've
never been this far away from home.
I think it's going to be a great ex-
perience. I can't wait."
This is Wendy's first Maccabi
event. She will attend the University
of Michigan on a tennis scholarship
for the next four years, then plans to
move on to something else. "I would
like to play college tennis and see how
that goes, but I think after that I
would like to just get a real job. Ten-
nis has been great, but I can't think
that's the kind of life I want to have!'
Jan Jacobs, who will compete in
the women's half-marathon (13miles),
originally applied for the 1985 World
Maccabi Games in Israel, but was not
selected. She was chosen as an alter-
nate for the Pan Am Games, then was
told in early June that one of the two
half-marathoners had withdrawn,
and Jacobs was on the squad. Her
reaction? "It was a shock," she said.
"I had pretty much decided that I
wasn't going to go, because it was too
hard to gear up with that question in
mind. So when they called, I hadn't
really been training. I'd been running
leisurely. And I happened to have
been extremely ill when they called.
I had a virus and I'm lying there and
they told me I made the team, and I
just went, 'what?' But I couldn't turn
it down. I just figured it would be that
much more of a challenge to try to get
ready in time and I would do the best
I could do."
Jacobs, 29, began running com-
petitively while in college, about nine
years ago. She now competes in
triathlons — grueling events which
involve running, swimming and
bicycling — and distance races. She
has run in two Boston Marathons.
She said the challenge of getting out
of her sickbed and getting ready for
the Pan Am Games appealed to her.
"I thrive on experiences like this."
Jacobs said, "I felt a little better
every day, a little stronger every day.
It's exciting, it's a real honor to the.
I have gotten a lot of support from my
friends, financial and otherwise, that
allowed me to go . . . my friends took
care of me!' The athletes must pay
their own way to Venezuela. "I've
always run recreationally, but with a
lot of enthusiasm. I look at this as an
opportunity and as somewhat of a
reward for all the time and energy
I've put into my running!'
Jacobs also anticipates a good
cultural experience in Venezuela
within the atmosphere created by the
gathering of Jewish athletes. "It'll be
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 51_