first_img Published on November 14, 2013 at 1:00 am Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 The ice hockey team was going home.The long six-month season had come to a close with a loss to Mercyhurst in the College Hockey America tournament, and everyone just wanted to get on the bus and go home.Everyone except Julie Bengis.Instead of returning to Syracuse to begin the offseason, Bengis packed her bags, headed to the airport and flew to South Carolina to meet her other teammates, the SU rowing team.“I had about two hours,” Bengis said. “There was the championship game for ice hockey on Saturday night. On Sunday morning I flew out to meet the team at Clemson.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen one season ends for Bengis, another begins. The sophomore first came to Syracuse to be the starting goalkeeper for Syracuse, but will be on the bench as the third-string goalie when SU (6-4, 2-0 CHA) takes on No. 10 Mercyhurst (6-4-1, 1-1) in Erie, Pa., on Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.It was Bengis’ high school coach Garrison Smith who phoned SU’s rowing coach Justin Moore to suggest he look into Bengis for his team.Moore coached Smith when he was a rower at Yale, and his reference piqued Moore’s interest. Bengis was a member of the top varsity eight at Kent High School, which was ranked third in New England.Soon after Smith called, Moore contacted Paul Flanagan, the SU ice hockey coach, and asked if he could reach out to his newest student-athlete and gauge her interest. Flanagan was all for it.But before anything was final, Bengis had to try out for the team’s third varsity eight. There was no guarantee she would make the team, but excited by the chance to compete, she wanted to give it a shot.“There were women who did make the third varsity eight, and women who didn’t make the third varsity eight,” Moore said. “And Julie made it. She beat people out for her seat.”Bengis became a rare breed of Division I talent — a two-sport athlete. But when she got on the bus in Clemson to meet her practice with her new team, they were a bit confused.“None of the girls knew who I was,” Bengis said. “They thought I got on the wrong bus. It was hard integrating myself on that team, but they’re a great group of girls and I’m so happy I went with it.”Bengis said that they all became friends on that trip, spending hours talking after practice. The rowing team plans to make a team trip to Tennity Ice Pavilion to cheer on their springtime teammate.Things are going well for Bengis. She’s a good athlete, well liked, has good grades and has a chance to be SU’s starting goalie next season. But behind all of that, there is still the concern that playing two sports might not be a viable option for four years.Smith, her high school coach, was both an ice hockey athlete and rower at Yale. He’s done it before, and in the hopes of excelling in the latter full time, he had to drop the former.Bengis faces a similar situation, one that forces her to miss all fall rowing practices and the spring ice hockey practices.“I could imagine as long as Julie is playing hockey, she will be able to compete and row at a certain level and will be successful to a point,” Smith said. “But if she’s not rowing in the fall and rowing in the winter, it might be hard for her to make a varsity eight.”For now though, Bengis isn’t forced to choose, and is enjoying every minute of the two-sport experience.“Hockey is my first love,” Bengis said. “Where I am right now, the coaches are giving me the opportunity to do both, so I don’t see I wouldn’t take that opportunity.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *