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April 13, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-13

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Experienced rowers place emphasis on improvement .

By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer
Experience is the key to success. And
for the first varsity eight boat on the No. 2
Michigan women's rowing team, it is experi-
ence that has helped the boat earn its second
consecutive Big Ten Boat of the Week award.
Led at the helm by senior coxswain Tara
Medina, the boat consists of five senior row-
ers, including All-American Leah Ketcheson,
and serves as the role model for all of the
other crews on Michigan's squad.
"I think that this is probably the most expe-
rienced crew we have ever had," Michigan
coach Mark Rothstein said. "That goes well,
but at the same time there is a lot of competi-
tion. I think their experience will be helpful
and is an advantage, but it doesn't mean we
are going to be fast, and (the rowers) know
Along with experience comes a sense of
awareness. The rowers know one another
well enough to know just what buttons to
push to get the boat back on track if neces-
sary. Medina knows just what to say to get
her crew refocused and what to do to get

them to come back from behind to win as it
did Saturday against No. 6 Brown.
"We definitely have a lot of experience,"
senior Sarah Trownbridge said. "We also
have a lot of seniors and an excellent cox-
swain who has been doing this for years."
In addition to team chemistry, all nine
athletes bring a certain drive out to the lake
every day, knowing that there is always room
to improve and there are always technical
aspects they have to work on. While many of
the rowers have been in the same boat since
freshman year, they don't assume that past
accomplishments will insure future success
- and Rothstein expects nothing less of his
top boat.
"Last year was last year, and this year is
this year," Rothstein said, referring to the
boat's third-place finish at the NCAA Cham-
pionships last season. "Certainly, I feel good
about the crew's development up until now,
but we need to get a lot faster if we are going
to be successful down the road. And I think
our kids understand that, and they know they
have a lot of work to do ahead of them."
The first varsity eight is currently unde-
feated this season, yet you would never know

Michigan's first varsity eight boat remains undefeated on the year after wins against Michigan State and Brown last weekend.

it from talking to the crew. The list of rea-
sons to work hard throughout the season is a
long one, but the fact that they are constantly
pushed by improving opponents may be the
biggest reason.
"We have really great competition, and
that forces us to really get up for every race,"

Medina said.
Prior to each race, the crew sits down
together and comprised a list of goals for the
upcoming regatta. Although the rowers admit
that a win is nice, the list is usually focused
on technical aspects. During practice the
Monday after its race, the crew hones in on

the mechanics of its form and its synchroni-
zation; there is always something to improve
"We always have goals going into each
race," Trownbridge said. "They are usually
technical, and we just try to make sure we
improve on each race."

Golder disappointed with
Blue's early lack of focus

By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer
The plane skidded along the run-
way and came to a slow stop. Coach
Kurt Golder and his No. 5 Michigan
men's gymnastics team were back in
Ann Arbor after the team's disastrous
weekend at West Point for the NCAA
Championships. Driving home from the
airport, it was all clear to Golder how
the team slipped up this past weekend.
Even though he never mentioned any
lingering problems the team had with
its practice regimen during the season,
it was clear that the Wolverines' lack of
focus and training throughout the sum-
mer and then into the preseason caused
them to come up short in the postseason.
Michigan finished in third place at the
Big Ten Championships and then sixth at
the NCAA Championships.
With the cool spring breeze passing
through his car, Golder could only wonder
how he didn't see this coming at the begin-
ning of the season when the team was pre-
dicting winning a national championship.
"They weren't focused enough on the
right things," Golder said. "Many guys
were distracted with other priorities,
and they weren't training hard enough
throughout the summer. That's what hurt
us, and that's what caught up with us. We

didn't prepare well, and we didn't per-
form well, and that's when cutting cor-
ners catches up to you."
Golder eluded to the fact that while other
teams spent their summer in the gym,
working on their mechanics and tweaking
the routines they would later execute per-
fectly during the season, the Wolverines
were instead distracted, and that failure to
prepare came back to bite them in the rear.
While Golder understands the seniors'
discontent in never winning a national
championship, he knows they could have
trained harder despite the team's early sea-
son success. Golder felt that, after winter
break, the gymnasts came down with a
bad case of senioritis and never seemed to
recover, costing them their much-coveted
championship rings.
"They are very disappointed," Golder
said. "There is a legacy here at Michigan,
and they graduated without getting a ring.
The class that preceded them had two or
three of them, but it's the lack of prepara-
tion and the lack of focus. What are you
doing in August? Are you outworking all
of your competitors? Because they cer-
tainly weren't."
By the time Golder reached his drive-
way, he understood there was nothing
more he could have done during the season
to give the Wolverines that extra edge they
were missing at the NCAA Champion-

ships. As Golder put the car into park and
shut off the engine, he knew he had wanted
to see the team succeed and dominate their
competition, but that never happened. And
his six graduating seniors will leave Mich-
igan never breathing the air at the top of
the podium.
"I look at the difference between how our
team was training mid-summer compared
to the teams that dominated at nationals,"
Golder said. "I just don't think our focus
was on the target 12 months out of the year.
I can't require them to come to the gym. It's
voluntary practice from this point forward,
and, if they don't come, there is nothing I
can do and it's up to them."
Despite Golder's feelings about the
team's dedication, senior Eddie Umphrey
instead looked at the positive, recalling
the many personal goals he accomplished
while at Michigan - regardless of never
winning a national championship.
"I remember walking in here fresh-
men year and saying, 'I have to be an
All-American,"' senior Eddie Umphrey
said. "Then walking into this season, I
told myself I had to be an All-American
or my time here at Michigan has meant
nothing. I had just one shot to do it on
floor, and I just told myself I have to be
perfect, and I was. Then to end my career
with a bunch of Big Ten and NCAA med-
als - it's just a great feeling."

Senior Eddie Umphrey was recently named to the All-American team, despite his team's disappointing finish to the season.

Vice President for Student
Affairs is currently seeking
applicants for the DSA Student Advisory
Board. Several positions are available.
This advisory board will compliment
existing methods utilized by the Division
of Student Affairs to discern the needs,
concerns, and opinions of students.

Student Activities and Leadership office
and online at the Student Matters website
(www.umich. edu/~ovpsa/studentmatters).
Applications are due Thursday,
April [4 by Noon.
FO R M ORE IN FO RMATI ON or questions,
contact Jimmy Brown, Student Activities
and Lea dership, 22O5 Michigan Union,
763-5900 or jimbrown@umich.edu.

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