April 2017

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Page 120 of 128

121 F or Taylor West and Hannah Bluder, black and gold has always run in their blood. Both grew up as Hawkeye fans. Now, as freshmen, the rowing program has offered them an exciting new way to be part of the Hawkeye culture they know and love. West, raised in Iowa City, Iowa, has been around the Hawkeyes as long as she can remember. Her father, Doug West, is an athletic trainer in the athletic department. She has memories of bus rides with the track and field team, and she remembers the times she spent around Hawkeye coaches and student-athletes. e University of Iowa was always in the cards for West. "I have been a Hawkeye fan for as long as I can remember," said West. "I've grown up around athletics and I grew up in Iowa City. "I only looked at Iowa and one other school, and I didn't even apply to the other school. I knew that I wanted to continue wearing the black and gold. I'm studying sport and rec and hope to have an opportunity to work in the athletic department in the future." West learned about rowing from Iowa assistant coach Jeff Garbutt, whose son went to the same high school as West. Garbutt knew of her background playing soccer and running track and cross country. Based on her background, he suggested she look into rowing at the collegiate level. Once West joined the team, her experience at Iowa was changed forever. "Rowing has made my experience at Iowa a hundred times better," said West. "I am not a sorority girl, so to have 70-some teammates is pretty cool. We get to travel and do all sorts of things that most college kids don't get to do. It's fun to hang out with everyone all the time." Bluder, daughter of Iowa head women's basketball coach, Lisa Bluder, had a very similar experience growing up. "I have been a Hawkeye fan since I was four," said Bluder. "I've been around my mom's teams over the years. I've grown up with them." Bluder was always passionate about basketball. She looked at several smaller schools to play basketball, but eventually decided she wanted to stay at Iowa. Growing up as a Hawkeye, Bluder attended various Iowa athletic events. It was her mother who initially helped Hannah become interested in rowing. "When I was younger, we went to a few regattas," said Bluder. "We would spend a lot of time at other events, not just basketball, so I knew about the rowing team." Being a student-athlete at Iowa has been an incredible opportunity for both girls. "It's cool," said West. "I never take it for granted. It keeps me busy, but it keeps me focused. I know that if I have two hours to study and do homework, I need to make it happen." "It's really cool," said Bluder. "I'm excited to compete this spring because I didn't think I was going to be able to compete at this level. I love the Hawkeyes." APRIL SCHEDULE April 8 Big Ten Double Dual Ohio State, Rutgers April 29 at Princeton Syracuse, Penn

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