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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Skater stands tall among competition

In the sport of women’s short track speed skating, the average athlete height is between five foot three inches and five foot five inches.  Junior Erin Bartlett, a USOEC athlete out of Lakewood, Ohio, is a giant in her sport towering over her competition at 5-foot-10-inches.  In her skates it adds another four inches; putting her at six feet, two inches.

Bartlett wasn’t so tall when she first started skating at the age of six. She didn’t even like skating when her father got her into the sport.

“I didn’t like it at first, because I wasn’t very good at it. My dad pushed me to do my best even though I didn’t like it, and now I am where I am because he pushed me,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett was participating in a beginners skating class when her father got the idea. Over in the adjoining rink to her skating class, he saw a speed skating practice and saw how much potential there was for growth in the sport.

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Bartlett started competing less than a year later in speed skating.

“I started competing at seven at local meets that everyone can go.  I competed in my first nationals when I was 11, in the pony age groups,” Bartlett said.

It wasn’t until she started lifting weights at age 12 that she started seeing the fruits of her labor and truly started to love and appreciate the sport.

“I started growing as an athlete, my times started getting better and I started beating girls I couldn’t beat before.  My hard work was paying off and I got motivated to keep working harder, that’s when I started really liking speed skating,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett was even beating women from the USOEC while she was in high school.

“I saw the older girls at the USOEC and how hard they worked, but I was beating them and not working half as much.  It was huge motivation to see that I was beating the girls at that level,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett almost didn’t make it to the USOEC, the spot she was going to take filled up last minute with a skater coming out of retirement.  She was originally going to train in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the national team, though not as a member.

“I had living arrangements and everything set up, then they e-mailed me a day before my high school graduation that I had been accepted into the program. Four days later I moved to Marquette to start training,” Bartlett said.

That was a very quick move for her and not a lot of people can handle that much at once.  Teammate Sarah Burg commented on how impressed she was with Bartlett staying focused and being able to balance school and skating and moving with such a small adjustment period.

“She has grown a lot since she got here; it takes everyone a few years to adjust.  She always works hard and puts 100 percent into everything.  She matured and was able to balance school, college life away from home and skating successfully,” Burg said.

Bartlett knew coming up here what she had to work on.  Her height could be harnessed as a great source of power and decrease her times.  She admitted to not quite yet having enough strength to get that extra reach with her legs, but she and her coaches are working towards that goal with every drill at every practice.

“I don’t have the pelvic strength yet to dig and use that.  When we do dry land I try to focus on fully extending my legs so that I could use more of my legs.  It would get me a lot further than I am right now.

“There’s no one I can really look up to in the women’s division , so it’s all me right now,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett was a competitor at the Olympic Trials last year in Marquette.  Due to a fall in the middle of the event, she didn’t do as well as she could have.

“I fell and hurt my back and scratched from one of the races, then skated terrible after that.  This year, I placed tenth at American Cup I, my goal was to place top 12.  I have a feel now of what I need to work on in order to meet my goal this year of making national team,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett doesn’t let anything ever get her down and she is always there for her teammates when they need her.

Teammate Brett Perry is grateful that he can rely on Bartlett and could not imagine how practices would be without her.

“She’s always there for us, supporting us when we are having a bad day at school or practice.  It wouldn’t be as fun without her, there would be a lot missing. She adds so much to our team,” Perry said.

Bartlett was on the 2008 Junior World Team and is looking to make this year’s national team.  The next step to this goal will be her competing at the American Cup II Nov. 6 and 7 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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