When graduate student Lindsey Stephenson was given a second
chance she didn’t know that it would bring her to
At this time last year Stephenson was graduating from Columbia
University and would have been competing for a second consecutive
trip to the NCAA championships if a knee injury hadn’t forced
her to sit out her entire senior season. This week she will be in
Austin, Texas, competing in the javelin for Michigan at the NCAA
championships that she was unable to participate in just last
Stephenson was accomplished on and off the field, making the
Academic All-Ivy League and First-Team All-Ivy League teams in both
her sophomore and junior seasons. After graduating, she could have
left track and field behind. But she didn’t — there was
something missing: a team championship.
Because of her injury, Stephenson was able to get a medical
redshirt, giving her another year of eligibility.
Stephenson had several options, but after competing in the Ivy
League and with a degree in her pocket, she was looking for an
opportunity to win.
“I was looking for a school that had good sports and good
academics,” Stephenson said. “(Michigan) had a one-year
masters program in education and its track team was going to win
the Big Ten. Coming from a team like Columbia, we didn’t win
anything. It was so individual. I thought it would be cool to win a
Big Ten championship.”
And Stephenson did just that, earning the gold medal at the Big
Ten championships with a personal-best throw of 165’9”,
which helped Michigan capture its third consecutive Big Ten team
In fact, Stephenson has been on a roll of late. She won the last
four events she entered. Last week she had a throw of
162’00” which was good enough for first place at the
NCAA Mideast Regional.
Now, Stephenson will focus on the NCAA championships, which has
been her ultimate goal all along.
“I want to make the finals, which would make me an
All-American,” Stephenson said. “All year I’ve
been practicing for just one event.”
With her final career meet coming this week, and the completion
of her master’s degree later this month, Stephenson says that
despite her short stay in Ann Arbor, the town and school have made
a big impression on her.
“I actually don’t want to leave now,”
Stephenson said. “It was tough when I first got here because
you don’t know anyone. But with the team, I got to know a lot
of people, and I like it a lot now.”
Stephenson has competed in sports all of her life and was a
three-year letter winner in track and field, basketball, soccer and
softball at Hamburg High School in New York.
This past summer Stephenson captained the United States Under 23
Rugby team as well.
Stephenson is also a sports fan, and the large amount of
spectator-sports at the University helped her get acclimated and
gave her an experience she didn’t have at
“I’m a big sports fan in general,” Stephenson
said. “Football season was awesome.”
After finishing her political science degree at Columbia,
Stephenson enrolled in a one-year masters program in the School of
Education. The specialized program centers on curriculum
After an athletic and academic career that has brought her to
two NCAA championships and earned her two degrees, the end of
Stephenson’s journey has brought her somewhere she never
could have imagined going.
Five michigan women’s track and field members
qualify for the NCAA Championships
Along with Lindsey Stephenson, four other members of the
Michigan women’s track and field team will compete at this
week’s 2004 NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas.
Melissa Bickett: The senior quad-captain will make her
third consecutive trip to the NCAA Championships, competing in the
Elizabeth Boyle: Boyle will be the first Wolverine ever
to compete in the pole-vault at the NCAA Championships.
Lindsey Gallo: The senior ran a 4:11.27 in the
1,500-meter race to win the Mideast Regional, just 0.06 seconds shy
of a Michigan record.
Carly Knazze: The quad-captain finished fifth in the 200
meters at Regionals, good enough to qualify for her first
individual competition at the NCAA Championships.