High school athletic rivals now teammates in Rio

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WOOD) – Two athletic rivals in high school are now teaming up to row for gold in Rio.

Ann Arbor native Grace Luczak is back with her 2011 world record partner Felice Mueller, preparing for women’s pairs at the Summer Games.

“We’re really excited to get back together. We know that the world is going really fast and we’re just going to go faster,” Luczak said.

Meanwhile last month, Jackson native Grace Latz said goodbye to her mother and hello to Team USA’s training center, where she will prepare for her first Olympics. Latz will compete in quadruple sculls. The next time she’ll see her mother is the closing ceremonies in Rio.

Latz, 28, got a late start in rowing; her first competition wasn’t until her freshman year at Wisconsin. However, she’s no stranger to the Olympics.

“We always watched. I remember watching gymnastics and running in front of the TV,” Latz said.

Her dad, who traveled for work, also had a hand in her Olympic dreams.

“He went to Salt Lake City and got Olympic gear, and I was in college rowing with this Olympic fleece,” Latz recollected.

Before finding their rhythm on the water for Team USA, Luczak and Latz were going head to head at Pioneer and Jackson Northwest.

“Grace Latz and I played each other in high school in volleyball so we were like against the net, because we were both middle blockers, face to face. We didn’t know each other then,” said Luczak.

Now they will compete for the same team.

“Rowing is an amazing sport. It’s the quintessential team sport – you have to work together. If you’re not on the same page, you’re going to go nowhere,” said Luczak.

Latz will hit the water at Lagoa Stadium in Copacabana Aug 6; Luczak’s heat begins a day later.

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