May 10, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Michelle Lazorchak can’t let her competitive spirit rest. It turns out that three years of college volleyball – the first two at John A. Logan College (2010 and 2011) and a third at Murray State University – weren’t enough.

After taking a full year to recover from torn ligaments in her ankle, the Marion native pursued a new venture – rowing.

Having completed her degree in animal science with a specialization in equine management, Lazorchak followed her heart to Purdue University, where she began competing in the club sport of rowing.

“The coaches there told me I might have a future in rowing, so I arranged a meeting with Jen Floyd-Kaido, an Olympics athlete in Indianapolis,” Lazorchak said. “She competed in the 2008 games in Beijing. Jen was good enough to set up a workout plan for me to follow at the Indiana Rowing Center, where I worked out two-to-three times a day for about six days a week.”

“I found that rowing is one sport that works well for tall people like me,” said Lazorchak who eclipses the 6-foot mark.

Lazorchak said there are two different types of rowing – sweeping, which involves one, two, four, or eight people per team and one oar per person.

“Sweep rowing is all they do at Purdue,” she said.

The second form of rowing is called sculling, which involves one, two, or four persons and two oars each.

“One-person or single sculling is what I am doing at this time,” Lazorchak said. “I started competing in the event last summer and won a couple of regattas. Having success early was just the push I needed to continue.”

As recently as last month, Lazorchak travelled to Sarasota, Fla., where she competed in the Olympic trials in the 2,000 meter sprint sculling event.

There, the former Vol spiker placed sixth out of 11 participants, not too shabby a finish for a relative newcomer to the sport.

“Only the first-place finisher (the reigning Olympian, Floyd-Kaido) advances to the Olympics, but it was a great experience for me,” Lazorchak said. “It’s certainly the biggest athletic stage I have ever performed before. And because things went so well for me, others have noticed. I have several offers to compete with various rowing groups.”

It should be noted that Lazorchak won the Women’s Open Division of the CRASH B’s World Indoor Rowing Championship in Boston at the end of February. She went up against 171 competitiors and 3,200 athletes worldwide.

Her time of 6 minutes, 43.1 seconds covering the 2,000 meter course was more than 11 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

Michelle is the daughter of Steve and Diane Lazorchak.