Wednesday, September 8, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - 7E
lowers go out
f way to punish
I1ves in practice
ily Sports Writer
To simply say the Michigan rowing
am finished its season fifth in the
ition for the second consecutive
ar at the NCAA rowing
pionships in Sacramento,
tW, would trivialize its experience.
"Any team in the building process
s to go through a year of ups and
wns," sophomore Kate Johnson
id. "This was ours."
Still in its infancy, the rowing team
:eived varsity status in 1996. The
tm has handled the important tran-
ion from club to varsity status with
se under coach Mark Rothstein's
i nce. Yet despite their relative
rience, the Wolverines attend-
nationals for the second year in a
in May, joining schools with
1l-established programs, like
inceton and Brown, and tough West
ast schools which have warm
father and endless access to water
an advantage for practices.
Despite proving once again that
y are one of the top teams in the
tion, the Wolverines' road to
t als was by no means easy. The
w g team has one of the longest
tsons of any varsity sport, compet-
for nearly eight months. Without
raining facility of their own, the
>verines spent much of their win-
practicing on ergometers in the
unheated visitor's locker room of
Michigan Stadium or in the hallways
of Yost Arena.
But it's not just the odd locations
that make rowing practices so hard.
"I may not be sure of many things,
but I promise that it is the most
painful experience you can imagine,"
senior Vita Scaglione said. The requi-
site mental toughness and grueling
practices leave no question about it.
Despite recent noteworthy recruiting
classes and walk-ons, these rowers
are a self-selected bunch. The team's
motto? "'Relentless pursuit,"' junior
Nora Obringer said.
Team members radiate dedication
to their sport and demonstrate a deep
care for themselves and their team-
"Not something necessarily found
on every team," Scaglione pointed
Their teamwork is crucial - after
all, "no one can row an eight-person
boat by themselves," said Obringer,
who describes rowing as "the ulti-
mate team sport."
She's right - everything one rower
does affects the others in the boat.
"It doesn't matter how strong or
fast you are if your rhythm is off,"
The team's persistence has earned
it national attention. While perennial
powerhouse Virginia earned the cen-
Michigan's rowing team finished fifth in the nation this season, but if hard work is Its own reward, the Wolverines accomplished far more than that.
tral region's slot at the NCAAs last
year, the Wolverines were not
alarmed - they knew their stellar
record made them a top choice for an
Sure enough, the Wolverines
caught the NCAA's eye and sent their
full team to Sacramento. The three
days of championship races were a
tough elimination process that culmi-
nated in a seventh-place finish for the
first varsity eight boat, third for the
second varsity eight and fourth for
the varsity four boat.
The year before, Michigan fin-
ished fifth in team competition
behind repeating champion
Washington and perennial power-
house Virginia, with both the first
varsity eight and second varsity eight
finishing fifth in their respective
races and the varsity four boat finish-
With the honor of being the first
women's varsity sport to win a
national championship for Michigan
still up for grabs, it looks like the
rowers have their work cut out for
"Keep your eyes on us," sopho-
more Kate Johnson. "We'll be mak-
ily Sports Writer
University of Michigan faithful were watching
Wtheir football team captured a Big Ten title en route
first national championship in fifty years. People took
tice as the underdog Wolverines skated to the CCHA
urnament championship last year.
Michigan fans even cheered on their Olympic swim-
ers as they captured several medals in the 1996 sum-
But another, often overlooked team has accomplished
Michigan's field hockey team was ranked one of the
k teams in the nation for the entire 1998-99 season.
M r a regular-season Big Ten championship in 1998,
e team placed second last season and fell to field hock-
powerhouse Penn State in the tournament finals.
All three Michigan coaches are former Olympians.
ssistant Tracey Fuchs is the most decorated individual
United States field hockey.
As former Olympians and as current representatives of
e U.S. team for the 1999 Pan American Games, Fuchs
d fellow assistant Peggy Storrar are only two of the
embers of this nationally recognized team.
Head coach Marcia Pankratz was also a member of the
and 1996 Olympic teams, and will coach the U.S.
r-20 national team this summer.
"What's wonderful about us being on the national
ams is that we can bring the newest tactics to
ichigan," Pankratz said. "We can utilize them for train-
g and techniques and have a team that is fresh and on
e cutting edge."
And with four top recruits coming in for the 1999 sea-
n, this cutting edge team can fight once again for a Big
The most heralded recruit, Jessica Rose, is rated as one
top three players in the nation. Rose committed as
h-school junior and Pankratz said she is "an amaz-
g commitment to the program."
Stephanie Johnson, Krista Meckley and Molly Powers
I display incredible athletic ability and are expected to
Intnued from Page SE
pact," Hanlon said. "This does not
can consideration of (women's
4sse and women's ice hockey) is
'We just found stronger cases for
ocer and water polo," he said.
fhe two new sports will have com-.
nod start-up costs of $215,000. By
er fifth year as varsity sports, they
il cost the Athletic Department a
sibined $1.25 million per year.
Both teams' coaches think their
a can be nationally competitive
p after they become varsity.
With soccer's status as the world's
ost popular sport and with 4,000
)th playing organized soccer in the
n Arbor area alone, the Athletic
eoartment has faced criticisms for
ars for not making men's soccer a
.r ity sport.
Title IX, the federal statute man-
ting gender equity in athletics, was
eri by many men's soccer fans to be
e, ajor stumbling block. A
letic Director Tom Goss said
e' introduction of creative roster
aagement policies has allowed the
iwersty to buck the natonal trend
'make men's soccer varsity.
"o ... give opportunities without
opping sports is an opportunity we
e'looking to continue."
Both sports will cost a combined
.L5 million per year in five years,
*all scholarships are fully phased
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Despite three coaches with United States Olympic team
experience and talent from around the country, the Michigan
field hockey team often gets overlooked in Michigan's busy
fall sports season.
make a strong impact on the 1999 team
Although the team lost star players in Amy Philbrook,
Lindsay Babbitt, Loveita Wilkinson, and Erika Lorenson,
the Wolverines return their second-leading scorer in Kelli
Gannon and their starting goalkeeper Kati Oakes - who
was one of the premier defensive players in the nation
Michigan also proved last year that it could play with-
out leading scorer Philbrook when she was out with a
fractured knee. Even without one of their star players, the
Wolverines were still able to defeat the top teams in the
conference and stay atop the Big Ten.
From the nationally recognized coaches to the nation-
ally recognized players who come to Michigan from all
over the world, this field hockey team is developing into
a Big Ten powerhouse.
"We have the championship attitude," Pankratz said.
"We recruit the best players and athletes from around the
world. We practice as hard as football and go for cham-
pionships just like the hockey team."
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