Michigan Flywheel: Path to Boulder

by | May 25, 2011, 8:00am 0

Kim Culpan gets up.

After finishing tied for 11th at Nationals with a roster of only 13, Flywheel knew they could only get better and became excited for the 2010-2011 season. It started off in the fall with the most amount of rookies at tryouts that Flywheel has ever seen. Because of the bigger-than-normal pool, Flywheel was able to carefully select extremely talented and athletic rookies. Michigan traveled to CCC in the fall and finished 2nd after narrowly losing to UNCW in the finals. It was during this tournament that Flywheel saw the possibility of a great team in the works.

The nation did not necessarily have its eyes on Flywheel because of the lower placement at Nationals the previous year. However, Michigan knew that they were full of potential and the ability to become a great team. The Michigan Indoor Tournament was a good time to get a sense for the team’s possibility after beating Regional rivals Northwestern, Indiana, and Michigan State. Michigan also turned to Cross Fit workouts to ensure each member of Flywheel was going to be in exceptional shape and be mentally and physically strong.

Pres Day was a roller coaster for Flywheel. The first day saw Michigan beating 2010 quarterfinalists UCLA and then having an extremely close game with the 2010 3rd place finishers of Wisconsin. However the next day saw Flywheel drop all of their games to UNC, UCSB, and Sonoma State. Not wanting to leave California with a lot of losses, Flywheel regrouped and beat Arizona and Carleton to take 9th overall.

Bailey Torvinen does something ridiculous

Flywheel’s potential was starting to peak through but it was not fully visible. At Easters, Michigan won some important games but also lost some big ones against Iowa, Wisconsin, and Iowa State. Even though Flywheel finished 6th they were not at all happy with the results. They knew they could be better and stronger than they were showing.

It was at this point that the intensity and focus turned up. Flywheel knew that if they wanted to be a national contender, they had to begin acting like one. Flywheel started getting together 3 times a week for practice, once a week for a mini-practice, and once a week for a track workout. On the two days off from practice, Flywheel saw teammates outside of practice such as at the library, at other teammates’ houses, or at random activities. Flywheel became overloaded with Flywheel, but in a good way. The chemistry could be seen at practices with each practice becoming more intense and focused.

Becky "Bemu" Malinowski d's up.

Centex was going to be Michigan’s last shot to prove themselves to the nation, and that is what they did. They came in as the 3rd seed in their pool but ended up finishing first by beating UBC, Wisconsin, and Carleton. Michigan was able to advance to quarters after beating Women Scorned of Iowa State in the first game on Sunday. However, a disappointing loss to Iowa on universe point knocked Flywheel out of the championship bracket. Not letting that affect them, Flywheel was able to show its strength and beat both Stanford and Washington to finish 5th overall.

It was finally time that Michigan Flywheel started showing that they were a team worthy of respect across the nation. After sweeping both their Conference and their Region, Flywheel is looking strong coming into Nationals. But this road was not easy. Michigan Flywheel had to overcome many obstacles including getting acquainted with a new coaching staff, key players leaving the team mid-season, and the less-than-ideal weather conditions that the Midwest brings. Since Regionals, Michigan has been out of school so all of Flywheel’s attention has been on practice and Nationals.

Flywheel believes there is nothing standing in their way of performing well at Nationals. Look for Flywheel to turn some heads in Boulder over Memorial Day Weekend.


Notable Players:

Captains: Anna Maria Paruk (senior) and Paula Seville (Junior)

All Region nominees: Becky Malinowski (senior), Kim Culpan (senior), Vicki Chang (junior), Kelsey DeLave (junior), Paula Seville (junior), and Anna Maria Paruk (senior)

FOTY nominee: Theresa Zettner

Callahan Nominee: Becky Malinowski

Flywheel after their victory at Regionals

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