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September 15, 2004 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-15

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I

14 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Tanchon thankful for Supermom

By Tyler Nagle
For the Daily
Gatorade's latest advertising ploy to prove
itself as the one and only thirst quencher for
athletes is a mystery of sorts. The company
has created a commercial with various peo-
ple thanking an unidentified woman. Coach-
es, teammates, fans and even Michael Jordan
all give praise.
Most sports fans have probably seen it
by now. And who doesn't blush and giggle
a little bit when Nomar Garciaparra stares
deep into the camera and says, "Thank you,
beautiful."
After all that suspense, it is revealed that
the woman is U.S. women's soccer legend
Mia Hamm. And while Hamm certainly
deserves a great deal of credit for bringing
women's soccer to the forefront, perhaps
she's not alone. Take, for instance, the story
of Michigan women's soccer player Laura
Tanchon. Tanchon, a senior tri-captain, has
a mystery woman of her own to thank.
Tanchon's tale starts back in 1999 when
she was a sophomore at Dana Hills High
School in Laguna Niguel, Calif. In the mid-
dIe of the soccer season, she fractured her
ankle and was in a cast for several months.
After a long wait, doctors informed her that
she needed ankle surgery, leading to several
more months of rehab.
After so many soccer-less months, Tan-
chon felt "frustrated and demoralized."
"Soccer had been such a huge part of my

life before the injury that I was worried if I
didn't make a spectacular comeback, I'd be
considered a failure in many peoples' eyes,"
she said.
Such a tough injury and recovery forced
Tanchon to make a terribly difficult decision
- she quit her club soccer team and the sport
she loved and decided to focus on her high
school studies instead.
Enter her own personal mystery woman -
although her role in Tanchon's career doesn't
start here. This was the same woman who,
for years, had been signing Tanchon up for
teams, taking her to practice and cheering
her heart out at every chance she got.
Thank you, soccer mom.
Tanchon had countless trips to the doctors
and rehab after her injury, but she never went
alone. And she always needed help changing
her bandages and ice, sometimes even in the
middle of the night.
Thank you, uncertified nurse.
Tanchon was stubbornly saying she was
not going to play soccer anymore, even after
her ankle completely healed. For a girl whose
life had been filled with the sport since she
was eight years old, this was a huge and pos-
sibly irrational decision. Thankfully, her
mystery woman intervened.
"She constantly told me that soccer was
more than a sport, that it could possibly be an
education," said Tanchon.
Tanchon wasn't an easy sell.
"I was stubborn at first, then after a few
weeks of rehab I realized that she was right

and that there was no way I was going to do
all that work recovering not to play soccer
again."
After joining a local club team. Tanchon
continued to recover as her mystery woman
drove to and from the high school to get
missed schoolwork.
Thank you, level-headed guidance coun-
selor.
Since Tanchon got back on the field and
eventually made her way to Ann Arbor, that
same woman makes as many trips as possible
from California to watch games, continuing
to motivate the Wolverine midfielder.
Thank you, cross-country traveler.
Without her love, support and hard work,
Michigan women's soccer would likely be
without Tanchon, who coach Debbie Radem-
acher calls "a leader and an extremely hard
worker who leads by example."
Thank you, Laura's mother.
Thank you, Linda Tanchon.
Linda's work has not gone unnoticed.
Laura understands and appreciates every-
thing her mother has done and tries to thank
her the best way she knows how - on the
field.
"I play in an effort to pay her back and
hopefully make her proud," Tanchon said.
And while Gatorade may have left lesser
known, yet equally important people like
Linda Tanchon out of its commercial, it did
get one thing right by asking, "Is it in you?"
"It" was and is in Laura Tanchon - she just
needed her mother to bring it out.

RYAN WEINER/DAILY

Senior tr-captain Laura Tanchon has her mom to thank for a successful soccer career.

* MEN'S CRO5SS-CLJNTRY
Incoming tandem
gives hope to harriers

By Ian Robinson
For the Daily

After losing three seniors last
year, it would be expected that the
Michigan men's cross-country team
would decline. But this year's squad
has done the opposite. Two reasons
for the improvement are freshmen
Mike Woods and Victor Gras.
Woods - an Ottawa native -
placed seventh in the 2003 World
Junior Championships with a time
of 3:42.49 in the 1500 meters.
Gras - originally from France
- placed fifth in the Footlocker
Cross Country Championships in
the 1,500 meters.
Gras and Woods feel they have
adjusted well to living at Michigan.
They attribute their easy transition
to attending a training camp with
the rest of the team in northern
Michigan before the season.
In addition to training, Woods
said that he enjoyed playing volley-
ball and hanging out at the beach
during the camp. The pair enjoys
playing video games and listening
to music.
"(Woods) is a good friend. (We)
live in the same hall and the fresh-
men girls' track members are also
on the floor. They make it like a
family," Gras said.
With Mike hailing from Canada
and Victor from France, they often

speak French together.
"We say things to each other in
French so that other people can't
understand," Woods said. "Like
when we see a good-looking girl."
One part of college life that Gras
has not yet grown accustomed to is
the food.
"Dorm food is not good," he
said.
Woods and Gras are excited about
being on a strong team.
"Most recruits will make the top
seven, but on a great team like this,
it will be tough," Gras said.
With eight runners that have post-
ed mile times under 4:06, Michigan
is very deep. In cross-country, the
top five runners count toward the
team's score.
"The team is as strong as its fifth
man. If (Woods and Gras) are in the
top seven, it will make us a strong
team," coach Ron Warhurst said.
The Wolverines are preparing
for the Spartan Invitational in
East Lansing this weekend. It will
be the team's second meet of the
season.
The season opened on Sept. 4 at
the EMU Open, where senior Nate
Brannen led the way for Michigan
with a seventh-place finish. In his
debut at the EMU Open, Gras post-
ed a 13th-place finish with a time of
26:49. Woods has not yet run a meet
for Michigan.

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