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January 25, 1967 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1967-01-25

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Gin ermen
By BOB McFARLAND Kutschinski, all of whom will get
It's been a long time since the their first shot at varsity com-
words "American record" were petition on Saturday, in addition
uttered within the confines of to letterman Alex McDonald from
Yost Field House in reference to Kingston, Jamaica.
the Wolverine cindermen. Inaugural
To be exact, the last Michigan Kearney, Reynolds, McDonald,
squad to set such standards was and Kutschinski will aim at the

in 1952, when the Wolverines, led
by Don McEwen, cracked an
American indoor record in the
distance medley relay, smashed
the world mark outdoors in the
same event, and set an American
dirt track indoor record for the
880-yard relay.
But Michigan track coach Don
Canham opened the possibility of
another record-setting season yes-
terday when he said to a group of
Wolverine middle - distance run-
ners,''Maybe we'll even go for the
American record later on."
Soph Support
The thinclads that lend cred-
ence to such statements include
the core of a varsity squad that
placed fourth in the Big Ten in-
doors and tied for third outdoors,
plus a sophomore crop that rates
as one of the best in Michigan
A quintet of cindermen, four
sophomores and a junior, will
make up the relay combination
that could fell some of the big
marks in collegiate track. The
group includes Tom Kearney, John
Reynolds, Taimo Lips, and Ron
~ -, - ~

Yost Field House two mile relay
mark in their inaugural attempt.
Canham plans to alternate Reyn-
olds and Leps in the number two
slot until he determines the best
combination. Some of the best'
track teams in the East, including
Villanova and Fordam, will re-
ceive a glimpse (hopefully from'
the rear) of the Wolverine two
mile squad on Feb. 10 in New York.
Whichever four finally run,'
Canham says, "We'll have a hell
of a two-mile relay team."
The class composition of these
five men is indicative of the over-3
all team, as only six seniors ap-
pear on the 50-man roster. Cap-1
tain Jack Harvey leads the old-
timers, holding the indoor and out-
door Big Ten shot put records. His
longest heave to date is 58'71/2".
He has long hovered just under
the 60-foot barrier. "If hedoesn't
break it, I'll be disappointed,"
Canham remarked yesterday.
Senior Sprinters
Two other seniors, Carl Ward of1
gridiron fame and Dave Cooper,
will spreahead the Wolverine
sprint effort. Ward has a :06.2,

eyes on some of these boys fromt
the time they were sophomores in
high school. Then, there were
cases like Leps whose brother,
Ergas, is a former captain of a
Michigan track team," he con-
Bull Market
"We were very fortunate. Your
recruiting efforts often run in
cycles just like football. With this
group, there's some overlapping in
events, but when they're good, you
don't complain about that," Mar-
tin concluded.
As another example of the fine
quality of the sophomores, the
fact that they broke six freshman
records outdoors stands in their
credit. Turning in one of the most
notable performances, Kutchinski
clicked off 660-yards at a 1:17.5
pace, :0 1.1 better than the varsity
record held by McDonald,
Frosh Fell Mark
Running exhibition in a dual
meet with Indiana last winter,
a quartet of Kearney, Jim Olson,
Reynolds, and Kutchinski made
a successful assault on the Yost
Field House record in the excellent
time of 7:37.9. Olson has since
transferred to Kansas.
Kearney's specialty is the glam-
our event of American track, the
mile run. He has already covered


{ Hunt, a high jumper who has leap-
ed 6'74" and copped the Big Ten
outdoor title as a sophomore, they
add necessary depth.
Jim Dolan, who is rounding in-
to shape after a leg injury last
fall, is slated for competition in
the two mile. Another medal win-
ner in the Western Conference in-
door championships, Ken Coffin,
is a competent mile-half mile man.
Placing fifth in the indoors and
third in the conference outdoors,
s weight-man Steve Leuchtman has
tossed the iron ball 55'2", and will
combine with Harvey to give the
Wolverines, a one-two punch in
that event.
Other juniors of note include
hurdlers Nelson Graham and
Woodie Fox,
Balanced Conference
With talent like this, it's diffi-
DAVE COOPER cult not to be optimistic. But
there is a catch. The quality of
60-yard dash. Pole vaulter? Carl Big Ten track improved suddenly
Watkins, who upped the freshman all across the board, not just in
vault standard to 14' even. Long- one locality. Canham listed Iowa,
distance runner? Steve Bishop, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and
former Michigan state high school Minnesota, along with the Wol-
champion in the mile. Hurdler? verines, as contenders for the Big-
Larry Midlam, who holds the frosh Ten team title.
120-yard high hurdles mark. The Michigan cindermen might
A strong junior bloc provides even consider this a building year
the icing on the cake. Led by Rick . . a record-building year.




the 1760-yard course in 4:12.5 this
season, the Michigan indoor record
being 4:09.4.
In almost every department, the
sophomore contingent has a stand-
out. High jumper? Gary Knicker-
bocker, who has cleared the bar
at 6'8". Sprinter? George Hoey,
the younger brother of Marion
Hoey, and a :06.2 speedster in the

$1.00 members

$1.25 others




to his credit in the 60-yard
along with a third place
in the Western Conference
meet last year, Cooper
tfifth place in the outdoor

Merical Repeats Same Miracle Pattern:
From Squad Stand-In to Standout

championships with a :09.8 clock-
ing in the 100-yard dash.
Grabbing the conference 1000-
yard run crown indoors and tak-
ing fourth in the 880 outdoors,'
Jim Mercer will compliment his
younger counterparts in the mid-
dle distances. A :48.1 quarter mile
performance, second best in the
Big Ten fresh air meet, adds
weight to the credentials of still
another senior, Bob Gerometta.
'Sophomore Power' I
"Sophomore power" will be more
than just a slogan for the Mich-
igan cindermen, however. Assist-
ant coach Dave Martin, explaining
the recruitment success that
brought such a bevy of good per-
formers to Ann Arbor from the
class of 1969, remarked, "They just
fell in, really. We would have had
to recruit nationwide to find an-
other group of boys equal to those
which we attracted from Michigan
and neighboring states."
Martin added that "we had our



cattle the family raised. "It wasl

The story of the understudy who a long time ago, but I can still re-
gets the "big break" and steals member taking three hours to milk
the show is one of the legends in the cows, even with a machine,"
show business. he laughs.
In sports, too, can be found the When Merical was ten, the fam-
benchwarmer- who gets the key ily moved to another farm closer
pinch hit, the sub whose 30-foot to the big city-Des Moines, that
shot wins the game in the last is. There he found himself in a
second, or the sprinter who volun- routine typical to most farmers''
teers to run the mile and cops kids - up for chores, catch the
first place. school bus, back for more chores,
To these can be added the story then off to eat.
of senior wrestler Burt Merical, "But I had it easy," he says. "I
who has performed the come-off- was the baby of the family, so I
the-bench routine twice now. was spoiled by my two brothers
For his first year and a half and my sister. But as I got older,
on the Wolverine squad, the Des I got bigger than everyone, in-
Moines, Iowa, grappler saw little cluding Mom and Pop, so no one
1 frAA'17ih MP th n"

Actually, wrestling isn't exactly
a novel undertakingl in the Meri-
cal family.
According to Burt, "A cousin of
my great uncle, or something like
that, was the world heavyweight
wrestling champion, back when
such a title meant something and
the pros still wrestled scientifical-
ly. Of course, the pros are a big
joke now," he continues, "but I
still like to watch 'em. You can
learn some new holds if you pay
close enough attention."
All This and a Title, Too
Burt was fairly active in high
school in the.extra-atheltic events.
President of the student council,
member of the all-city student
council, member of the senior class
executive board, delegate to Hawk-
eye Boys' State . . all these and
number two, too-in his class, that
i is


action. Rick Bay, now assistant
wrestling coach, remembers Meri-
cal as a sophomore. "I was cap-
tain of the squad then, and we
really had depth, with four Big
Ten champs. Burt was just an-
other member of the team at the
"But," he adds, "he's sure come
a long way since then."
Lucky 'Break'


fooied witn me ten.
For his freshman year in high
school, Burt didn't even consider
wrestling - mainly because his
school didn't have it. He did, how-


ever, go out for track, baseball
and basketball, gaining varsity
letters in the first two. "'Thai
wasn't exactly too great a feat
either," he declares. "I mean, with
11 guys on the squad, you get to
Mlay a lot"




Composer wants to know the score on '67 compacts


I'm a well-known composer, and I need a new car..
The trouble is, I'm just too Bizet to pick one out. And
what's more, many of the new cars I see are Offen-
bach in the garage for repairs. But I do have a good
friend who is pleased with his new '67 Dodge Dart.
He was given an excellent deal and Berlioz any
moneyon it. My Bach is to thawall. Can you help me?
My advice is that you let yourself Ravel in the enjoy-
ment of driving the sporty, all-new Dart for '67.
You'll find its Liszt price is a lot lower than you'd
expect. And even though it's longer outside and
bigger inside this year, Dart's still an easy car to

Merical, who normally wrestles On the Move
in the 145-pound division, was After his freshman year, the
given his chance when Jim Kam- family moved again, this time into
man, his roommate the past three Des Moines proper. Entering Des
years, injured his knee. Though Moines Technical High School
Kamman was holding down the ("one of the bestter in the nation,
157-pound division then, Merical according to official school prop-
more than held his own in the aganda"-B.M.) he went out for
heavier category, winning all of baseball again, and wanted to go
the last six matches that year. out for basketball.
"That wasn't so great, though," "But I was too short for the
he declaims. "While all of those caliber of ball they played," he
boys were good, none were out- remembers. "I couldn't swim,
standing. I mean, I didn't exactly either, so I decided to try wres-
upset anyone." tling. My parents were against it
This year, starting in his nor- at first, mainly because they didn't
mal 145-pound class, Merical has know too much about the sport,
become a mainstay of the squad. but now they're behind me all the
His match record to date stands way."
at 7-1, including a championship
in the Midlands Open, -
As implied earlier, this wask
Burt's second time around for the '
sub-to-leader role. "In my sopho-
more year in high school, I started
in exactly one meet," he recollects.
"The junior year wasn't too much_
either, but my senior year I took
the state title at 145." BOBBY JOE HILL, the sharp-
The reason for the big surge? shooting guard who helped waltz
"Well, I'd say it was because I was Texas Western to the national
j given the chance towrestle more
often. The more I competed, the basketball championship last year,
more confidence I got. It's that ended his college career yesterday.
simple." School officials announced that
Corn 'Husky' Hill failed during the first se-
But the reasons for Merical be- mester to make the grades neces-
coming a wrestler were not that sary for him to maintain his
simple. He was born on a 200- academic eligibility. Hill averaged
acre farm in the midst of the 15 points a game last year but
Iowa plains, and devoted much of was hitting at only a 4.9 ppg clip
his time to the grain and dairy for this season.


, When he won the state cham-
y pionship and maintained his high
t academic average, his high school
, wrestling coach, Don Ellingson,
who once wrestled at Iowa State,
realized that he had hot property
on his hand. He went to Iowa
City, where Michigan was meet-
ing Iowa, and talked to Coach
o Cliff Keen about his prize pupil.
Keen was impressed, and soon
thereafter a scholarship came'
, Merical's way.
"You know," muses Burt, "Il
wasn't even thinking about college
too much until I won the state
title. I guess I procrastinated a lot
then. It's a good thing Coach Keen
talked to me then, or I may never
have attended a good school."
Merical is in the School of Busi-
ness Administration, and plans to
do gradaute work here. "Actually,
I guess I made a mistake not do-
ing my undergraduate work in

something else. 1i wantu a oroaau

education, and my best bet would
have been to have gotten a liberal
arts degree . . . and then go to
Bus Ad grad school.
Terminal Sport
"The one trouble with wrestl-
ing," he adds, "is that it's a term-
inal sport. After graduation, that's
it as far as competition goes. So
I suppose I ought to really consider
wha happens after 'school.
"But here, too," he smiles, "I'm
a procrastinator. I haven't even
really thought about my draft sit.
And for the benefit of the ac-
tiyists on campus, what are his
views on the draft? "I believe in
universal conscription, girls in-
cluded," he states. "There should
be some sort of lottery for every-
one when they turn 18. Of course,
if there were no wars we wouldn't
need the manpower, and then
theretcould be another method of
Merical has lived the past three
yea's with fellow wrestlers Kam-
man and Bill Johanneson (last
year's captain and now coach at
Melvindale) and a guy named Rick
Kurtzman. "Really," he said, "you
might put that I live alone with
five dogs." When asked to explain,
he replies, "Well, there's Shane,
our German shepherd, and Tiny,
the springer spaniel, as well as
those other three guys."~
As for the future, Merical does
look ahead more than he would
have us believe. "I'd like to meet
my old coach's school sometime
before I graduate."
But Michigan doesn't even have
Iowa State scheduled this year.
"Oh, we stand a pretty good
chance of meeting them in the
nationals," he remedies.
The nationals . . . that's pretty
far, even for someone who has
come up to a starting role twice
from the boondocks. Great Uncle
umpteen times removed would be



TOM TRESH, butfielder for the
New York Yankees, inked his con-
tract yesterday to become the first
if last'year's last-place Yanks in
the fold.
* * *
former St. Louis Cardinal great,
assumed duties as general man-
ager and vice-president of the club
yesterday. Musial is the Cards'


third general manager in the last
four years.



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