“Thank God for peer pressure,” the Wisconsin women’s crew team must be thinking.It was on the encouragement of her friends that Sarah Wrenshall decided to take up rowing in high school, and last year’s Big Ten Freshman of the Year hasn’t looked back.”In high school, all my friends were doing it. I was a swimmer, and I quit swimming, and I just went and joined them,” Wrenshall said. “I guess they peer-pressured me into [rowing].”Wrenshall, now a sophomore, spent most of last season on the novice eight, a squad that finished the season undefeated. For the Big Ten Tournament, though, Wrenshall moved up to varsity.After contributing to the Badgers’ success in the Big Ten, Wrenshall also helped the team earn a very surprising and impressive second-place showing in the NCAA Central-South Regional regatta and stayed on as the team posted an eighth-place finish at the NCAA championship, the team’s highest finish in several seasons.Building on her success from last season, Wrenshall has faced a whole new list of challenges this season, including continuing the jump that comes with moving from novice to varsity. So far, Wrenshall has transitioned very smoothly.”It’s a difficult transition to go from your novice year to your first year as a varsity, and the challenges are a little different for everybody,” UW head coach Bebe Bryans said of the jump.Though competing as a varsity member is difficult enough, Wrenshall must do so with the burden of living up to the expectations that come with being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, an award no Badger had ever received previously.”I tried not to think about it coming into the season, but it’s obviously there,” Wrenshall said. “There is an expectation to prove myself, that I deserved the award, and I have to keep working hard. It makes me want to work harder, though, I want to show everyone that I earned [the award].”Bryans understands the difficulties of having added pressure, but believes that Wrenshall has done a good job of dealing with them.”She had very high expectations of herself, but it’s almost like starting over again when you join the varsity squad, and that’s what she’s done, and she’s really progressing every day,” Bryans said.The Badgers will compete Nov. 12 in Charlottesville, Va., as part of the Rivana Romp, but will not compete again until early April. The break between seasons can be difficult on some rowers, but Wrenshall views the offseason as an added opportunity to improve, and to ensure she and the team are in peak shape for the important postseason tournaments that take place in spring time.”You just have to keep your eyes on the prize, and really focus on what you want to accomplish,” Wrenshall said of training in the offseason. “Your competition is doing the same thing, so you have to keep up, and go even harder. We really want to go out and be able to beat the East Coast teams, the Ivy League schools, and training in the off-season is important if we want to make that happen.”Only a sophomore, Wrenshall has high expectations of herself and the program over the next few years.”It’s really exciting, [the team] is building up, and we can definitely improve our rankings and become a real powerhouse,” Wrenshall said. “I have a lot to work on; the higher level you get to, the more you need to learn, so there’s a lot of room for me to improve. But I’m a hard worker, I work as hard as I can, and I’ll come to practice and just do my best.”Bryans knows how important Wrenshall is to the future success of the program, and is confident that Wrenshall will emerge as a leader and star of the team.”Both physically and in the leadership role, her personality and her energy and her spirit bring a real liveliness to the team, and everyone really enjoys being in her boat,” Bryans said.