FRIDAY, MARCH 09, 2012
For JU women, opener is another step in the process
It has been a while coming, but this weekend the JU women’s rowing team can get out of practice mode as they travel to Hontoon State Park near DeLand, Fla., to meet Temple and Stetson.

Coxswain Savannah Rice will lead the women’s 8 which will have Emily Close, Cat Plesko, Whitney Mathews, Jordyn Clary, Joanna Zachowski, Macee Dioneda, May Mosier and Abby Sierigk aboard.

In the women’s 4, April Beck, Whitney Abshear, Samara Generals and Serena Summerfield will join coxswain Jordan Heylock.

“Everyone is pretty excited to finally get the racing under way,’’ coach Kris Muhl said. Practice began about two months ago. “We’ve been hit with a lot of injuries this year so not everyone is traveling.’’

Muhl said the team is looking at the initial race as a gauge for the remainder of the season.

“Temple is strong and we will see Stetson again at the end of the month when we race UCF (Central Florida) in Orlando.’’

Muhl has been instilling ownership and accountability to the team and looks to stay focused on that this weekend.

“We want each race to be better than the last just as each stroke should be better or good as the previous,’’ he said. “And, of course, you have to focus and finish the stroke you’re on before you can take the next.’’

Muhl will continuously analyze the team’s performance, this week and beyond.

“To analyze improvement between races, we look to see if our puddles are further to the stern and if people are making and holding technical improvements as we gradually bring up our stroke rates over the next couple of months,’’ Muhl said. “The puddles are the key indicator of boat speed and overall improvement.’’

The focus, he said, needs to come from within.

“We have to keep the focus internal,’’ he said. “What are we doing to get better, stronger, and faster? We row our race, get down the course as fast as we can and use the teams on the course at the same time as motivation.’’

- Jim Nasella