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Sunday, June 16
The Indiana Daily Student


Back of pack hopeful about race day

Experience lacking in women's final row

The final row in the 2001 women's Little 500 is no different than the final rows in the men's race; most of the teams in the back of the pack lack experience. This row is no different. The final qualifier lost a team member two days before qualifications, and another squad hasn't raced since 1997.\nNo. 28 Teter 3:40.00\nWith rookie week underway, the Teter team was not sure whether it would be able to produce a team for this year's Little 500. But with two mid-week additions, the team was completed: all freshmen, all rookies.\nWith no experience and no coach, freshmen Amanda Elmore, Felicia Hernandez and Alison Kotek and sophomore Bri Kovac have been forced to put their skills together more or less on their own.\n"With two of us joining in the middle of rookie week, we missed some of the clinics that the other teams had," Elmore said. "We've had to do our best to pick up the exchanges and pack riding together."\nDespite its lack of experience, the team said it feels good about its abilities.\n"All of us are pretty good athletes and we work well together," Elmore said. \nAfter having difficulties in their first two attempts at qualifying, the girls slowed down to be sure to qualify. Disappointed by their placing, the team is looking forward to the race experience.\n"We are just happy to be out there," Kotek said. "We felt we could have done better in qualifications. But our goals are just to get out there and do our best with our exchanges and pack riding."\nNo. 29 Alpha Epsilon Phi 3:58.15\nSenior Sandi Shulman, sophomore Stacey Decter and freshmen Cathy Feldman and Marisa Kravitz are all rookies and had one focus for this race: having the name of their sorority on the team list.\nThey did that, for the first time since 1997.\n"We are looking at this year as a transition year where our sorority can finish having gained experience that will help our house come back with a stronger team next year," Shulman said. "We are excited that all the girls in the house, especially the seniors, are getting an opportunity to experience Little 500 with a team before they graduate."\nAssembled in mid-January, the team did not begin to train until a few days before rookie week. But the riders came a long way before entering qualifications.\n"We were definitely nervous about the track conditions, since it seemed as if many of the experienced riders were having trouble," Shulman said. \nThe team suffered a fall in its first attempt and slowed things down for its second to avoid injuries. With its time of 3:58.15, the squad qualified in the next-to-last position, but said starting position is no concern.\n"We are not as concerned with where we qualify or how we perform in the different Little 500 events as we are with just participating in general and getting our sorority involved," Shulman said.\nNo. 30 Sigma Delta Tau 4:57.50\nBetween changing riders, changing coaches and losing one appendix, the Sigma Delta Tau Little 500 team has battled through many complications to take the field this year. \nJuniors Katy Abramson and Megan Herman, sophomore Amy Hoffman and freshman Laurel Wood compose the final roster for the team. Earlier this year, the sorority's hopes for a team in this year's field looked dim. Just a month and a half ago, Herman underwent an appendectomy, jeopardizing her ability to ride. With Herman in question, two teammates quit. But Herman, with one year of Little 500 experience under her belt, pushed her recovery and the team recruited two riders to complete the team. \nHerman returned to training just two days before qualifications, where the team, under the guidance of its coach, simply made sure to qualify. Taking their time, Sigma Delta Tau finished in the No. 30 spot, leaving its riders less than excited.\n"We played it way too cautiously," Herman said. "But we are going in with the mind-set that we can't do any worse."\nWith a new coach and a competitive mind-set, Sigma Delta Tau is hoping its ability to overcome will help improve upon its qualifications. \n"We've stuck through a lot of complications and shown determination," Herman said. "We're shooting to stay with the lead pack and hoping to finish 23rd or higher, and we believe we can do it"

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