Posts by: "Dave LeMieux"

Shawn Cheshire (left) and Mackenzie Woodring

Just days before the team left for RIO, U.S. Paralympics announced tandem cyclists Mackenzie Woodring and Shawn Cheshire will join the squad for the 2016 Games after all.

Despite meeting the U.S. team’s selection criteria months ago, “Mac & Cheese” were initially left out of the Games due to International Paralympic Committee limits on the number of athletes each country is allowed to enter.

U.S. Paralympics announced on Saturday that an additional 22 Americans would be among the 267 athletes who will replace suspended Russian athletes at the RIO Paralympics.

“There are no words….feeling thankful and determined,” Cheshire said in a Facebook post Saturday, shortly after the announcement.


Shawn Cheshire (left) and Mackenzie Woodring

By Monday, the duo was in California for a mini-training camp before leaving for RIO.

Woodring, from Lowell, is a Paralympic veteran who won a pair of Golds in Beijing. Cheshire, a blind athlete from Camillus, N.Y., is making her Paralympic debut.

The duo swept the time trial and road race at USA Cycling’s Paracyling National Championships in June, then scorched the U.S. Paralympics Cycling Time Trial in July. The two have won 9 straight national championships together.

Paralympic road cycling events are scheduled for Sept. 14-17.

Ann Arbor’s Emily Brunemann continued her rise up the FINA/HOSA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup rankings with 5th in Lac Megantic, Canada on Aug. 13.

Emily Brunemann U.S. National Team & Club Wolverine

Emily Brunemann

Brunemann now sits 4th in the overall standings with two races left on the 9-race World Cup calendar – Oct. 9 in Chun’an, China and Oct. 15 in Hong Kong.

Brunemann’s 2:13:29 at Lac Megantic in southern Quebec near Maine, was 2:32 off the pace set by winner Arianna Bridi of Italy.

Brunemann has moved from 20th to 4th in the season standings with Top 5 finishes in the last two World Cup races. She was 2nd on July 28 in the race in Lac St-Jean, Canada.

It was a bittersweet day for Mi women rowers in RIO on Thursday as Flint’s Ellen Tomek and Jackson’s Grace Latz faltered in the finals while Ann Arbor’s Grace Luczak and boatmate Felice Mueller powered into today’s pairs medal row.

Ellen Tomek

Ellen Tomek

Grace Latz

Grace Latz

Grace Luczak

Grace Luczak

As happened in the heats, Flint’s Tomek and boatmate Meghan O’Leary, of Baton Rouge, La., couldn’t recover from a poor start in rough water and trailed the field to the line in the double scull medal row.

Latz and her quad scull boatmates made a solid race of it, but couldn’t close on the leaders after coming off the start in 5th.

Ann Arbor’s Luczak and Mueller, from Cleveland, powered past the South African boat into 2nd in the final 1,000 meters of their pairs semifinal to record the second-fastest medal row qualifier, a 7:20.93. Great Britain won the heat in 7:18.69.

Luczak and Mueller turned a nearly 2/10ths of second deficit into a nearly 3-second margin over the South African boat at the finish. Luczak brings three World Championship Golds with her to RIO. A 2007 graduate from Ann Arbor Pioneer, Luczak earned a degree in human biology from Stanford.

After finishing 5th in the double sculls in Beijing, Tomek missed the London Games. The Luke M. Powers High grad began rowing in 2002 while earning a degree in Economics at the University of Michigan. She pulled stroke oar for the U.S.’s double scull silver medalist boat at the 2015 World Rowing Cup II in Varese, Italy.

Latz, a 2006 graduate of Jackson Northwest High with a degree in international and environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin, won a Gold and Bronze at the World Championships.

Canton’s Allison Schmitt put the U.S. women’s Gold-medal winning 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay 1/100th of a second off the lead with a fast first leg on the way to earning her 8th Olympic medal in her 3rd Games on Wednesday.

Allison Schmitt

Allison Schmitt

It’s Schmitt’s second medal and 1st Gold in RIO. Schmitt earned Silver in the 4 x 100 free relay by putting the U.S. team into the finals with a solid swim in the heats.

Schmitt’s opening leg in Wednesday morning’s 4 x 200 qualifying heat gave the U.S. a nearly 1 ½ second led her teammates would carry to the finish. Schmitt was the only member of the U.S. team to swim both the heat and the final.

It took a massive anchor leg by Katie Ledecky in the final to make good on the virtual first-place tie Schmitt had staked out for the U.S. Schmitt’s 1:56.21 opening 200 meters was second on the U.S. team only the Ledecky’s closing 1:53.74.

Wednesday’s Gold gives Schmitt her 4th in three Olympics. She added her 3rd Silver earlier this week in the 4 x 100 free relay prelims and also has two bronze medals.

Click here to read ESPN Senior Writer Bonnie D. Ford’s coverage of Schmitt in Wednesday’s 4 x 200 final.

Perhaps the most decorated swimmer ever from Michigan, “Schmitty” battled depression following a wildly successful Olympics in London where she took 5 medals: Gold in 200-meter free, 4×200 free relay and 4×100 medley relay; Silver in the 400 free and Bronze in the 4×100 free relay. She now has 8 Olympic and 3 World Championship medals. The 2008 graduate of Canton High has a degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia.


While the U.S. women’s Eight grabbed headlines by blasting their way straight into the medal row, Flint’s Ellen Tomek and boatmate Meghan O’Leary were grinding their way through the field into the double sculls final.

Ellen Tomek

Ellen Tomek

Miscues left Tomek, 32, and O’Leary, from Baton Rouge, La., trailing the field in their heat by half a minute on Saturday and relegated them to the second-chance repêchage.

They powered into in the semifinals as repêchage runners-up on Monday, finishing 6/100ths of a second behind winner Germany.

Midway through their semifinal on Tuesday Tomek and O’Leary slid backwards into 5th, two spots out of the final, before a furious, all-out surge pushed them into 3rd by an invisible 5/100ths of a second ahead of New Zealand.

After finishing 5th in the double sculls in Beijing, Tomek missed the London Games. The Luke M. Powers High grad began rowing in 2002 while earning a degree in Economics at the University of Michigan. She pulled stroke oar for the U.S.’s double scull silver medalist boat at the 2015 World Rowing Cup II in Varese, Italy.

The women’s double scull medal row is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Thursday. Cancellation of today’s events may delay the medal round.

%d bloggers like this: