Between the Bars

Dec. 8, 2004

Bruins,

I'm fired up for two reasons: First, I get to offer to you my very first installment of the Between the Bars. Secondly, season is almost here!!! That's right, very soon you will be able to see for yourselves what your national champions are bringing to the playing field in 2005. I'm sure that you would love a little preview, a little fly on the wall look at what Maloney's final year, and what Tasha Schweikert's first year will bring. Read on.

As you know, we are in a rebuilding year. Having lost so many brilliant veterans last year (dry your weepy eyes), we are now looking to our freshmen to contribute much more than previously. While our freshmen are outrageously good, elite athletes, they are still freshmen: They will be taking their first finals soon; they sleep in the dorms and eat dorm food; they have never competed in the NCAA Finals, never mind Pauley or Utah; and now they have the challenge of becoming the most consistent performers they have ever been, with, not 40 hours per week of training, but with the maximum allowed, 20 hours of training per week. Training fewer hours per week was a challenging adjustment for our freshmen. Fortunately, after a couple of midterms and papers, Tasha, Jordan, and Lindsey now celebrate efficient workouts, and they are becoming leaders in the college training game. It looks like they are on their way to mastering this part of our rebuilding year challenges. The next subject to master will be competition and the long competitive season.

As the season looms closer, we are getting the feeling that our three freshmen like competition. We have had 2 intra-squads so far, with one more to come on Thursday, December 9. While the formats of the first 2 intra-squads did not include full routines, the freshmen have proven fiery and ready when it's time to go to battle. To ensure their health, we held back the reigns in the early pre-season on Maloney, Richardson, and Tedmon; the thoroughbreds, however, are pulling hard now as the opener in Utah is right around the corner. Sophomores Ashley Peckett and Lori Winn have struggled with some illness and nagging injuries. However, when they have been able to train 100%, Peckett and Winn have continued to demonstrate why they were such an integral part of championship number five last year. Courtney Walker, another sophomore, has healed from an injury sustained last season. Walker is steadily improving, showing moments of greatness and furthering our depth. We are very hopeful of another walk-on* success story, as Michelle Selesky has been a soldier every day in the gym and has made huge strides. Because of her clean lines and crazy power, a little more experience and consistency will land her solidly in the line-up. So, with our next intra-squad happening tomorrow, Miss Val, Marshall, and I are eager to see what our new team will do with the added pressure of full routines and the first competition being less than one month away.

Of course, everyone wants to get the inside scoop on the new floor routines. What has Miss Val come up with this year? Will it be as good as last year's? How can she keep reinventing floor choreography? Well, I won't give away the ending to this story, but I will say that this year is completely different: Expect what you don't, get just what you want, and take another look - it will take more than one viewing to appreciate it all.

Chris Waller

*Remember, the first 10.00 posted by a Bruin was by a walk-on athlete, Amy Thorne, in 1993.

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