Badger Sports Roundup, July 8

Badgers ink defenseman; former UW rowers headed to Greece; Olympic swimming trials update

Badgers grab new defenseman

The UW men's hockey team has signed another defenseman to its roster, helping to replenish a blue line that must replace five Badgers from last season.

Josh Engel, who played with the U.S. Hockey League's Green Bay Gamblers during the 2003-04 season, will join the Badgers for the upcoming season. Engel will bring experience and talent to the ice—as a Gambler, he had 16 points on four goals and 12 assists last season and played in all 60 games.

Wisconsin has combed the Gamblers' roster several times in recent years, bringing hockey talent south from Green Bay. Incoming recruit Kyle Klubertanz was Engel's teammate last season and A.J. Degenhardt, Adam Burish, Dan Boeser and John Eichelberger all spent time with the Gamblers before coming to Wisconsin.

Boeser, Adam Wozniewski and Jon Krall all completed their eligibility last season and fourth-year junior walk-on Chris Julka elected to hang up his skates. Sophomore Tom Sawatske left the Badgers in search of more playing time and was picked up by the USHL's Lincoln Stars.

Beau and Matt go to the Olympics

Beau Hoopman and Matt Smith, two former UW rowers, have been named to the U.S. Olympic Team and will travel to Greece this August, according to USRowing.

Hoopman, who rowed at Wisconsin from 1999-2003, will participate on the men's eight squad while Smith will row with the lightweight four team. Former Badger rower Matt Imes will be an assistant men's rowing coach at the Games.

Hoopman has already known international success, winning gold medals at the 2002 Under-23 World Championships in the men's eight and at the 2004 BearingPoint Rowing World Cup in the men's four.

"I'm happy," Hoopman said. "I'm trying to keep it on the down low because we still have to race. This is just the first step. We have a good chance to do really well. We have a bunch of good guys in the boat so we will see what happens."

Smith, meanwhile, has competed at the international level as a four-time U.S. national team member. He is also a captain in the Army and part of the Army World-Class Athlete Program, a program that is designed for Army soldiers and officers who could potentially make the Olympic Team.

"It was a long year and a lot of tense times, but I think it is a great honor and a testament to Coach Chris Clark and the University of Wisconsin," Smith said.

With Hoopman and Smith on the Olympic team, the Badgers have had at least one alumnus in the last 10 Olympic summer games, dating back to 1968.

"Of the two guys I've coached in the past 10 years, if I had to pick anybody that would be the right combination of physiology, mental discipline, training integrity and competitive spirit it would be Beau and Matt," Clark said. "They are first among equals and pound-for-pound the two best I've coached. They are the most driven to be Olympians, which is a pretty important factor. Obviously we are excited."

Wisconsin swimmers fall short on second day of trials

Senior-to-be Carly Piper proved she is one of the best swimmers in the country but did not quite make the Olympic cut. Piper finished sixth overall in the 400 freestyle in a time of 4:13.03 but USC's Kaitlin Sandeno won the event in 4:08.07 and grabbed a spot on the Olympic team.

Junior Amalia Sarnecki failed to advance to the semifinals after placing 18th in the preliminary round of the 100-meter breaststroke. She finished in 1:11.78. Senior Tim Liebhold finished 24th in the 100 backstroke in 57:75, but he did not advance to the next round of competition. Dale Rogers, who exhausted his eligibility last spring, finished in 14th place in the 200-meter freestyle. His time of 1:50.95 was not fast enough to advance him to the finals.

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