Coming from tiny Cold Springs, Minn. — population 3,000
— sophomore Amy Schmucker has found a home at Michigan, and
on the women’s golf team. But she never would have come to
Ann Arbor if not for a twist of fate.

Coming out of high school, Schmucker had signed a letter of
intent to play for the University of Minnesota. But she was put in
a difficult situation when budget cuts forced the school to
eliminate the program.

Left with no team to play for, Schmucker turned to a friend
— fellow Minnesota native and current Michigan captain Laura
Olin. The two had met while playing junior golf, and Olin brought
Schmucker’s case to Michigan coach Kathy Teichert.

“My parents told me about the Minnesota team, and I
thought, ‘What is Amy going to do?’ ” Olin
said.

In the end, everything worked out. Schmucker is now preparing to
make her 24th consecutive start for the Wolverines as they travel
to Purdue for the Lady Boilermaker Invitational this weekend.

But in the beginning, Schmucker faced a difficult transition
from small town to college campus.

“I was incredibly home sick when I first came here,”
Schmucker said.

“But what’s really nice about being an athlete is
that, when I came, I had 11 automatic friends on the team. What I
love about this team is that we take really good care of our
freshmen. The first month I came to school, someone called me every
single night to see if I didn’t have a ton of school work to
do, to see if I wanted to go out, so that I wasn’t just
sitting in my room, missing home.”

Olin has become one of Schmucker’s best friends. They
spend summers playing golf back in Minnesota, and Schmucker even
has her own room in the Olin family home.

After Olin’s brother graduated from college and moved out,
short visits often extended to week-long stays, with Schmucker
taking up residence in the vacated room.

“Amy is definitely my closest friend on the team,”
Olin said. “I always look to her for advice. That’s why
it’s great that we can play tournaments in the summer. I can
look at her and she’ll say, ‘You’re just taking
it back too far.’ In the middle of the summer, its
huge.”

Now that she has adjusted, Schmucker has fallen in love with
Michigan. For someone who once thought she would never leave her
home state, she says fate has played a great role in how her life
has unfolded.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Schmucker said.
“So I guess that really worked in my (favor).”

“I think it was definitely a blessing in disguise,”
Olin said of the circumstances that brought her friend to
Michigan.

On the bubble for the NCAA Tournament, the Wolverines have just
two tournaments left to earn a berth — the Lady Boilermaker
Invitational this weekend and the upcoming Big Ten Tournament April
23 through 25.

This weekend at Purdue, Schmucker and the Wolverines will face a
field of Big Ten teams, including Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State,
Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Minnesota, which was reinstated
after a one-year break, will also compete.

After two weeks of practice, Schmucker is confident that
Michigan can give a strong performance this weekend.

“Ideally, I would like to see us finish in the top
three,” Schmucker said. “I don’t think there is a
team in that tournament that we can’t beat on any given day.
Everyone has been working really hard, so I think that this should
be a really good tournament for us.”

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