10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 27, 2005
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By Anne Uible
Daily Sports Writer
When Ryan Sterba was a freshman in high school, he
wrote a letter to the Michigan athletic department asking
them to consider adding soccer to its list of varsity pro-
grams. He never received a letter back, but the University
added the sport two years later - just as Sterba was mak-
ing college plans.
"As soon as we learned about his love for Michigan,
we knew we needed to have him," Michigan coach Steve
Burns said. "Sterba was a guy who you knew would bleed
for your team"
In 2002, Sterba signed with Michigan and saw his
dream become a reality.
"After the first game he played for Michigan during
his freshman year, he called me," Sterba's mother, Carol,
said. "He said, 'I was so excited to put on a Michigan uni-
form.' I know he thinks that even now as a senior."
The senior captain grew up in Westlake, Ohio, near
Cleveland. He got interested in soccer after watching his
two older brothers and sister play.
"Ryan lived and died soccer when he was younger,"
Carol Sterba said. "If he wasn't at his own practice, he
was running drills at his older brothers' practices or just
going outside to kick the ball around in the backyard."
Sterba grew up loving Michigan, which was odd con-
sidering both his parents attended Ohio State and were
avid Buckeye enthusiasts.
"Ryan wanted to go to Michigan since the day he was
born," Carol said. "Everything he owned had Michigan
written on it. We never really understood why."
Sterba admits it was because he wanted to cheer for the
team no one in his family wanted to win. He felt there was
something special about the Michigan tradition and thought
it was more dominant than the school "down south."
While Sterba's parents still won't deny their love for
Ohio State, they have made a concession for Ryan and the
Michigan soccer program.
"We won't bend when it comes to football though,"
Carol said. "The Michigan-Ohio State football game is
a huge rivalry in our family."
0 MEWS CROSS COUNTRY
calm attitude into
By Dan Feldman
Daily Sports Writer
Coming into the men's cross
country Big Ten Championships last
year, then-freshman Mike Woods
had high hopes. He was aiming to
win the Big Ten Freshman of the
Year award by being the first fresh-
man to finish that race.
The Ottawa native's goal was
understandable, considering that he
holds the Canadian Junior 3,000-
meter record with a time of 8:16.37
and that he posted a fourth-place
finish in the 2003 Canadian Junior
Cross Country Championships.
But things didn't work out the
way Woods had hoped.
He finished 23rd overall with a
time of 24:54 and was the second
freshman to cross the line.
"I was in position with a kilome-
ter left to get in the top 12," Woods
said. "Last year, I wasn't as fit and
as experienced in collegiate cross
Woods didn't get frustrated after
that race, and he isn't looking to
avenge last year's disappointment
Instead, he has taken the opposite
"Last year, I put a lot of pressure
on myself," Woods said. "I wasn't
relaxed for big races. This year, I'm
more relaxed and I'm more focused
on having fun. I'm just keeping
everything in perspective and hav-
ing a good time."
But Woods's calmed attitude
shouldn't be mistaken for a lighter
work ethic. He had been running
80 to 90 miles per week early in
the season before he lowered that
distance to prepare for the Big Ten
Things are looking even better for
Woods in this year's meet on Sun-
day. He finished 11th at the NCAA
Pre-Nationals on Oct. 15. His per-
sonal-best time of 23:58.1 was good
enough to earn the top finish for a
Big Ten runner in his race, besting
runners from Iowa and Minnesota.
"I really don't want to put too
much pressure on myself," Woods
said. "I'm going in staying posi-
tive. A top-five finish would be
great, and that would really set me
up for NCAAs."
The one thing that may slightly
concern Woods for the races in
Minneapolis is the possibility of a
"The weather is not too much of a
factor," Woods said. "I've run in up
to negative-40 degrees. If it rains,
it may affect me. The course will
be sloppier and slower. I'm more
of track runner, and a wet course
favors a longer-distance oriented
But Woods won't lose any sleep
over the conditions.
"Staying relaxed, running my
hardest, and do my best - that's all
I can do," Woods said. "If I leave it
all on the course, I'll be sitting in a
In accordance with his plan of
staying relaxed and having fun this
season, Woods went to the U2 con-
cert at the Palace of Auburn Hills
If it's a "Beautiful Day" on Sun-
day, don't expect Woods to "let it
get away" again.
Senior co-captain Ryan Sterba left his native Ohio to suit up for the Wolverines, even though both of his parents
attended Ohio State. Sterba scored two goals in his final game at U-M Varsity Field last Sunday.
Every year, during the final Big Ten football matchup
between the team, the Sterbas have a running competition
in the family. Whoever's team wins the game is permitted
to hang their school's flag outside the house for a week.
"I think we all get more competitive every year," Carol
said. "No one likes to see their team lose."
Since the Sterba's home is only a two-hour drive from
Ann Arbor, Ryan's parents have attended most of the
Wolverines' home games. The Sterbas were at Mich-
igan's last home game on Sunday against Wisconsin
when Ryan - in his final game on U-M Varsity Field
- scored two goals to give the Wolverines a 4-2 victory
over the Badgers. ,
"It was sort of sad to see him play in Ann Arbor for the
last time," Carol said. "The four years went by so fast. It
has been such a joy watching him play."
Burns admitted that he'll be sad to see Sterba move
on from the program and is grateful for all the work the
captain has put into the team.
"Sterba's greatest asset is his leadership," Burns said.
"When we recruit players we are looking for future lead-
ers, and Sterba is exactly the kind of guy we wanted. He
has helped make the team a success.'
As Sterba's final season with the Wolverines winds
down, he knows that the opportunities he has had and the
friends he has made at Michigan will stay with him for
the rest of his life.
"I've been able to be part of one of the most legendary
athletic traditions in the nation," Sterba said. "I wouldn't
have ever chosen any differently."
Andrews has speedy start to 'M' career.
By Katie Niemeyer
Daily Sports Writer
Stepping in as a defensive player can be dif-
ficult for any freshman. The position requires
being a vocal leader on the field, and it takes a
person who has earned the respect and trust of
But defender Skylar Andrews has made it
look easy. In her first season with the Michigan
women's soccer team, she has started 17 games
and made an immediate impact on the Wolver-
"She's intense, and she's very competitive,"
Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher said.
"She's a hard player - she tackles hard, she's
in the air, she's got good speed."
Whether or not Andrews would have the abil-
ity to contribute to the Michigan defense was
not much of a concern for Rademacher, who
knew Andrews had the training and talent to
compete at the collegiate level.
"We knew we needed to add some speed in
our defensive line," Rademacher said. "And she
had come up from a very good club team, so we
knew that she had good a prep career. And we
just thought she'd be a good fit for us."
Andrews was a two-time captain of the 2004
North Texas Regional Champion Dallas Tex-
ans, who competed in the national champion-
ship finals in 2004.
Though Skylar is new to collegiate athlet-
ics, her father, Lo Andrews, is no stranger to
the demands it entails. He played basketball for
Oklahoma State from 1979 to 1983. Andrews
was encouraged to attend her father's alma
mater, but she chose Michigan instead.
"I'm not gonna lie," Andrews said. "I did
get a little pressure, but my dad was really
understanding. And I knew I wanted to go to
a big-time school, and Michigan is a big-time
Andrews believed that Michigan had a lot to
offer her, including a combination of great aca-
demics and competitive athletics, and she knew
the reputation a school like Michigan carried.
Plus, Michigan gave Andrews the opportunity
to come into a program and contribute imme-
"Since I've come to Michigan, I think my
confidence has just grown," Andrews said.
"And being able to play against big-time players
in the Big Ten and being able to compete with
them and play on their level has really given me
the confidence to know that I can defend them
and I can beat them."
Though Michigan is a long way from Dallas,
she still feels connected with her family - she
talks to her mom almost daily and her parents
have made it to a few games this season.
"My dad plans 'business trips' that just hap-
pen to correlate to our schedule, so I have been
able to see them a lot this season," Andrews
The experience Andrews has gained this sea-
son has improved her on-field decision-making
and consistency, and Rademacher anticipates
more of the same in the future.
"The sky's the limit for her," Rademacher
said. "It will be great to work with her in the
offseason and work on different aspects of her
game. Even physically, we can deepen her fit-
ness base and get her even stronger and fast-
er. And I think she's going to improve every
Andrews has stepped into a difficult role as
freshman, but in 17 games she believes she has
become a vocal leader of the defense and has
established herself as a physical presence on
And she only hopes that, as her collegiate
career progresses, her maturity and experience
will make her an even greater asset to the Wol-
TOIMU UGM Z/Dily
Skylar Andrews has started 17 games for the Wolverines in her first season in Ann Arbor.
The Dallas native's father played basketball for Oklahoma State from 1979 to 1983.