The Wolverine

August 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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freshman in 2015. The outside hitter eventually improved those numbers to 512 kills, 34 assists and 318 digs by the time she was a senior. Skjodt's 512 kills in 2018 stand as the fifth most in a single season in Michigan history, while her 1,395 to- tal kills are the seventh most ever at U-M. The individual accolades began rolling in for the Indianapolis native after her junior season, landing on the first-team All-Big Ten squad each of her final two years on campus. She was also a third-team All- American in 2017 before being bumped up to a second-teamer in 2018, and was an AVCA All-North Region selection from 2017-18 as well. Skjodt concluded her Michigan career in 2018 by serving as a team captain and helping lead the Maize and Blue to a 24-10 record and an appearance in the NCAA Regionals. — Austin Fox WATER POLO ALI THOMASON (2013-16) The 5-9 Thomason was known for her ability to get shots off despite being draped by two or three de- fenders, and she was as strong de- fensively as she was offensively. In fact, she scored only 57 goals in her first two seasons before new coach Marcelo Leonardi decided to use her on both ends of the pool and more on offense, citing her ability to cover a lot of water and put pressure on of- fensively and defensively because of her athleticism. Thomason scored 58 goals as a junior. A year later, she became the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) MVP when she set the Mich- igan record for single-season goals with 94 and led the Wolverines back to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 for the first time since 2010. The three-time All-American was the 2016 CWPA Scholar Athlete of the Year, CWPA Player of the Year and CWPA Championship MVP. She was also a two-time All-CWPA first-team selection. She ranks among U-M's career leaders in goals (third, 209), points (fourth, 307) and steals (third, 210), and holds the records for the most goals (28) and points (42) by a Wol- verine at the CWPA Championships. — Chris Balas WRESTLING KELLEN RUSSELL (2008-12) The 141-pounder from New Jersey was a two-time national champion — one of just six in school history to win multiple crowns — and is also the Wolver- ines' most recent grappler to claim NCAA gold. After a mid-career redshirt due to a staph infection that required two surger- ies, Russell returned to win a national title in 2011 with a 38-0 campaign — one of just three perfect seasons in program history with at least 20 matches — and repeated as the champ the following year. He also earned All-America honors by placing seventh at the weight in 2009. He was not only responsible for three of the team's eight All-America honors from 2009-14, but he was the school's first four-time Big Ten champion, becom- ing just the 11th to do so in the sport's toughest conference. The 2011 and 2012 Michigan Male Athlete of the Year went 134-12 overall to tie for eighth on U-M's all-time wins list and rank second on its career win percentage ledger (.918). Russell is now working to help other Wolverines reach the same heights he did. Next season will mark his eighth as a U-M coach, the fourth as a full-time assistant. With his help, the team has placed among the top 10 at four straight NCAA Championships. — Ryan Tice AUGUST 2020 THE WOLVERINE 35 PHOTO BY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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