The Head of the Charles drew almost 300,000 people to Cambridge,
Mass. last Saturday – almost three times the crowd at the Big
House. Sure, Michigan seniors Katie Reynolds and Heather Mandoli
enjoyed their time at the Head (as the race is known), in fact, the
Wolverines placed ninth overall in the women’s eight race. But
these two feel it is much more exciting to row for Michigan in the
spring.

The fall season is not as competitive, and results in the races
are not as important as they would be in the spring. The regattas
are more of a way for the team to work on its technique and have
fun. It’s a practice season in which the team gets to jell and work
to be in sync for the spring season.

This Saturday, the Wolverines get another chance to practice
their technique at the Head of the Elk in Elkhart, Ind.

When the races do count, Reynolds and Mandoli are more than
excited for it. Last season, they led Michigan to a Big Ten title,
and both earned second-team All-Big Ten and Collegiate Rowing
Coaches Association All-Central Region.

As two of only six seniors in a squad of 35, their focus this
fall is to lead by example, work hard, have a positive attitude and
have fun at the same time.

“Since it is my last year, I would love to defend the Big Ten
championship and finish my college career as national champions,”
Reynolds said.

“I’m looking for my best year at Michigan. It’s been an amazing
experience so far,” Mandoli agreed.

That national championship run has to begin with waking up for
5:45 a.m. practice. The motivation behind doing it everyday for
four years is the satisfaction of having done so much, so early
before anyone else wakes up. Thirty-three other girls heartily
agree, creating an instant friendship between them. That is
important in order to succeed – all eight women need to trust each
other all the way to the finish line.

The coaching staff has also been there for support. Reynolds and
Mandoli consider coaches Mark Rothstein and Emily Ford to be
friends they can talk to about anything. Mandoli considers Michigan
a second home, almost forgetting that she’s from Canada, and the
coaching staff has helped both of them cope with missing their
family. Both girls attribute their success to the staff.

“Both Mark and Emily are amazing,” Mandoli said, “We have an
amazing team of coaches. This is the best coaching staff of any
team in the nation.”

After graduating from Michigan, both plan on moving to London,
Ontario, together and attending grad school at Western Ontario
University. There they will continue rowing and attempt to earn a
spot on the Canadian National Team and qualify for the 2008
Olympics.

 

 

 

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