By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
EDMOND, Okla. —
Enid’s Michaela Stam was awarded the Presidential Award at the recent athletic banquet at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.
Stam is the daughter of John and Mary Stam, of Enid. The award was for her commitment to athletics. She is a member of the UCO rowing team, which is tied for second nationally in Division II. She also is ranked high academically as a nursing student and active in community events, mostly medical related.
Stam is captain of the Varsity 8 boat, which will go to the national finals. A senior, Stam walked on last year and was placed in the novice boat and moved into the Varsity 4 boat. This year, she was moved to the Varsity 8 boat and made captain, said John Stam.
Also in the Varsity 8 boat are Jenna Goodner, of Medford, and Rachel Kliewer, of Ringwood. Stam had never rowed before last year.
She is a 2008 graduate of Oklahoma Bible Academy, where she participated in cross country and track. She attended Northern Oklahoma College then UCO.
Michaela Stam said Oklahoma is becoming nationally known in rowing.
Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and Oklahoma City officials put a lot of effort into the downtown facilities, she said.
“Rowing is the hardest physical exercise I’ve ever done. It’s very, very hard. If you don’t row, you don’t realize that. It’s kind of unappreciated,” she said.
Stam has been bitten by the rowing bug and would love to continue rowing after graduation.
“If I can’t join a rowing team, I will jump on that torture device the erg, because it’s such a great piece of equipment,” she said.
The erg simulates being in a boat on the water. She gets up about 5 a.m. and drives from Edmond to downtown Oklahoma City to the rowing facility.
“I love being on the water in the morning, it’s very therapeutic,” she said.
Stam’s job is to “stroke the boat,” or be the lead oar following the coxswain chant. She and her rowing partner set the pace, which the rest of the crew in the boat follows. They currently are tied with NOVA University in Florida for second place nationally.
“We will find out May 20 if either boat 8 or boat 4 will go to nationals. At this point at least 8 will go, so Jenna and Rachel get to go. We want the whole team to go because you can’t win nationals without it,” she said.
Many people in Oklahoma don’t know much about rowing, but Stam believes with the amount of international competition that is coming to Oklahoma City, the popularity of the sport will grow.
As she learned about rowing, Stam said she realized it is hard work to get the boat moving, but that is not the only concern. Rowers must focus on more than working with the legs and arms, they also worry about how they are sitting in the boat. “You can’t move around because it will make the boat move,” she said.” It’s a challenge and I love it. It keeps me sane in nursing school.”