FEBRUARY 22, 1967
THE MICHIGAN DAILY
PAGE SIX THE MICHIGAN DAILY WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1967
Big Eight and East-Big
Ay BOB LEES
The big day was approaching
The anticipation, the anxiety,
all were coming to a climax.
As the Saturday morning sun
rose, every sports fan was getting
ready for the Big Game-the sec-
ond State vs. 'U' meet.
All over town the banners were
up, and the arena had been sold
out for months. The cameramen
checked their equipment; if past
performances were any indication,
today's statewide television broad-
cast would have the biggest rating
of the year.
After all, this was the year's
biggest college wrestling meet.
In Oklahoma, where the grap-
pler reigns supreme, the fans pack
the sports palaces of perennially-
powerful Oklahoma State and Ok-
lahoma to watch these two gar- getting more than a 12-stitch porters, the Engineers do not to-
gantuans meet, and usually defeat,
some of the best competition in the
wrestling world. And when they
meet head-to-head, the state goes
For another dash of wildness,
the pic'ture shifts clear across.the
country to the industrial town of
The scene is Grace Hall on the
campus of Lehigh University. The
date is Friday, January 13, and
like most college campuses on a
Friday evening, the students are
queueing up to get tickets. They've
been there since 3 p.m.
Earlier in the day, as the ex-
citement was growing and the
crowd was increasing, the force of
the mob had shoved a young stu-
dent through the glass doors of
the arena. Only quick action from
the campus police kept him from
wound in his arm.
But now the doors are opened,
anld the crowd surges into the
hall to watch their nationally-
ranked heroes engage in the then
number two-ranked Cyclones from
Iowa State-in the biggest grap-
pling event in the east.
The match is close, but with
about a minute to go in the 177-
pound the crowd suddenly catches
the victory fever. I
"WE'RE NUMBER ONE! WE'RE
NUMBER ONE!" they chant de-
liriously. And when the final bout
ends the crowd spills out to the
mats to give the victors a shoulder
ride to the dressing rooms.
That weekend, Lehigh's student
paper, The Brown and White, runs
an extra. Bannered across the
front is the simple declaration,
"WE DID IT!"
Unfortunately for Lehigh sup-
day enjoy the number one spot
so loudly proclaimed. But, along
with their opponents that night in
January and the two Oklahoma
schools, the grapplers from Penn-
sylvania have maintained a long
Year after year, these four in-
stitutions and their neighbors in
the Great Plains and on the east-
ern seaboard are the real power-
houses of collegiate grappling.
And, as in basketball and foot-
ball, powerhouse wrestling attracts
people-lots of people. "Our arena
is supposed to seat 6000," declares
Oklahoma State coach Myron
Roderick, "but 8500 cram in some-
how for the Oklahoma meets.
Nielsen and Co.
"This year's statewide TV hook-
up is the third we've had, and
each time we get more viewing
power than any other sporting
event in the state.''
Oklahoma's 5500-seat hall sells
out for most of its meets, too;
while at Iowa State, which can
accommodate 7000, a full house
is a common sight. Lehigh's Grace
Hall holds capacity crowds for
every meet; what's more, the over-,
flow fills adjacent gymnasiums
where packed crowds view the hap-
penings on closed circuit televi-
The basic ingredients for such
successful programs, of course, are
winning teams and the tradition
associated with them.
According to Roderick, "Our
tradition carries over into our
recruiting. Oklahoma boys see our
past record, and know that we've
been tops for a long time. They
want to be part of this heritage."
Pride Cometh Before the Fall
Oklahoma's T om m y Evans
agrees. "We only have about 50
high schools in the state with
wresling programs. But each one
of them has a good coaching sys-
tem. These high school boys are
proud of their wrestling prowess;
the sport means something to
"Each town, every school has its
tradition of good wrestlers, and
the boys want to continue their
activities in schools whichhave
their own , history of winning
teams, especially the ones in their
Iowa State's Harold Nichols
makes a strong case for his state,
too. "You'd best believe wrestling's
a strong sport in Iowa," he pro-
claims. "The state tournaments
here show us an awful lot of ta-
lent, and we're proud to say that
we get most of 'em."
But tradition isn't the only rea-
son that these powerful schools
do so well in attracting talent.
"We actively recruit as many
boys as we can,' Nichols says, "and
many of them are out-of-state
boys. Most of the time we'll go
and talk to a boy right after his
And the incentive?
"Well, we carry twelve boys on
full scholarships," explains Nich-
ols, "and we let the recruits know
The Oklahoma schools, too, rely
heavily on scholarships in their
recruiting programs. Oklahoma
pays the way for about 20 grap-
plers; State does the same. "And
don't you believe Nichols when he
Lehigh also, of course, schedul-last time Iowa State met Michi-
ed Iowa State this year, and next gan was eight years ago," he com-
year will engage Oklahoma. plains, "but it's even worse with
Big Eight vs. Big Ten Michigan State. Every year they
Iowa State sticks basically to the schedule the State College of Iowa
Big Eight for her opponents. "But -not exactly the cream of the
the competition is really strong in .wrestling world-and we keep on
the league," according to Coach ;asking them at least to stop here
Nichols. Oklahoma State agrees, just once. But they keep putting
staying mainly in conference, too, it off."
although next year they meet two Coach's Work Is Never Done
Big Ten teams-MSU and North- Yet whomever they meet there
western. is no doubt that these schools
But when it comes to rough op- display in their lineups the great-
ponents. Oklahoma's Evans minces est proportion of wrestling tit-
no words. "Year after year," he ilists--and it doesn't come natur-
declares, '"we wrestle the tough- ally. For the coach of a power-
est schedule in the nation." In house team, the job of recruiting
addition to Big Eighters Iowa State never ends.
and Oklahoma State, next year Harold Nichols, for example,
they will again meet top-ranked 1would love to take a day off to
Michig'an State, Lehigh and Penn see his alma mater, Michigan, in
State, another long-standing east- see his al m ate .
ern power. "We'll take on anybodyi the big tussle with State.,
who wants to meet us." challenges "But it's no use," he laments.
Evans. "Our state tournaments start that
Dig Up the Hatchet very day, and I'd risk too much
by not even seeing the first rounds.
But the Oklahoma coach has a It's a big grind at times.
bone to pick with other grappling "But it'd be a hell of a bigger
coaches. "We're not expecting to
have too good a team next year," grind if we weren't a winner.
he claims. "but we're still meet- And it would be a hell of a
ing all those strong boys. Other thing if any of these schools ever
schools never schedule decent op- came out not a winner.
ponents unless.they know for sure
that they'll have a damn good BS
bunch themselves. .i Te S"dig
b "Take MSU's Penninger, for ex- W L Pet.
ample. He never wrestled both Ok- Indiana 7 2 .778
lahoma schools in the same year Michigan State 6 3 .667
before this season. But now that Iowa 5 4 .556
he's got a top-ranked squad, he Northwestern 5 4 .556
comes right on down here, beats Wisconsin 5 4 .556
us, and ties State. Who knows if Ohio State 5 5 .500
we'll ever see' them again once Illinois 4 5 .444
this group graduates?",Purdue 4 5 .444
The other coaches concur on Minnesota 3 7 .300
this point. "Because Oklahoma MICHIGAN 2 7 .222
State is always a winner," as-
serts Rodericw, "we have trouble YESTERDAY'S RESULTS
consistently scheduling top teams.' Minnesota 88, Iowa 86
Nichols is more specific. "The Wisconsin, 110, Northwestern 94
Yo jiro Uetake
says '12' for Iowa State," laughs a major in phys ed or recreation
Roderick. "He's got a few more for our athletes. And when you
stashed away somewhere." I
. Lehigh, of course, has the same'
type of strong tradition going for
her in her recruiting drives, but
the monetary inducements differ
somewhat. "We operate on a need
basis, just like the Ivy League,"
says Engineer coach Gerry Lee-
man. "In other words, a boy gets
no money until he demonstrates
need through the College Scholar-
ship Service in Princeton, N.J. If
he needs help, we can give him
only as much as his need dic-
tates. No more."
In addition, Lehigh is the only
small private university in wres-
tling's top 10. "We're basically an
engineering college," asserts Lee-
man. "We don't have anything like
take freshman classes of 800, it's
pretty hard to hide a boy who's
admitted just for athletics."
In the past few years, schools
have been ranging far afield in
their quest for talent. For exam-
ple, Oklahoma State's three-time
NCAA champ at 130 pounds, Yo-
jiro Uetake,hails from the state-
ly halls of Gummaken, Japan,
An added incentive for boys
wishing to attend these schools is
the quality of the competition they
meet. "There are plenty of top-
flight schools around here," says
Leeman, "and we schedule most
of them every year: Army, Navy,
Pitt, Penn State and Syracuse, toj
name a few."
Mixers, Teas, Dinners
The World .t
SPRINTS TO TOP:
Th rough Competition
By GRETCHEN TWIETMEYER
When people call you "Snake"
affectionately instead of as a
dirty epithet, you know you've
Tom O'Malley, runner-up in the
NCAA 100-yard butterfly last year,
only needs to make himself visible
to justify the appellation.
Besides, his friends assure you,
he is the funniest guy in the world,
he's the best dancer in the world,
he's the life of any party. And his
face must be made of rubber be-
cause he can make such wierd con-
However, with all these assets,
O'Malley was a relative nothing
until his NCAA victory. Starting
as a "fair" butterflier in high
school and an untendered, ordin-
ary Michigan tanker, O'Malley
earned himself national notice.
And now, in a sense, he's made
Throw Him In, Watch Him Swim
His swimming career started
when he was three years old, In
Hawaii, when O'Malley's father,
a very good swimmer himself, de-
cided his son should be seaworthy.
But snake developed little more in
the pineapple state than an af-
finity for big waves (and surfing),
since he moved to Arlington, Vir-
ginia, as a gradeschooler. It wasn't
until he was 11 that he started
For Snake's first two and nine-
tenths years at Michigan, he was
an also-swam. He shook his head,
"Until you've proven yourself, you
don't get much attention. Gus
concentrates most of his energy
on the guys he knows will come
through for him."
But as befits a deserving soul,
he got his chance at the Big Ten
meet in his junior year. Ken
Wiebeck had been sick that week
and O'Malley, with Carl Robie's
help prodded Stager into letting'
him swim in his place.
From then on, his status was
assured. After his impressive
showing, he was, as he grinned,'
'a king, a god, and all of a sudden
people were looking up to me and
counting on me to come through
Sprinters Fink Out
Obviously his achievement was
the result of work, but unfortu-
nately, work combined with the
most exasperating word in Stager's
vocabulary, "sprinter," has a
slightly different meaning for the
A sprinter, almost by maxim,
cannot be tired, has to be keyed
up and in top condition, because
he is under intense stress all
through the race. And if he has
been swimming- too hard too soon
before the race, his times will gen-
erally be slow.
This has been a problem for
Stager, who believes in condi-
tioning for his distance swimmers.
His sprinters just wouldn't pro-
duce when he tried the same tech-
nique on them.
Another problem is that sprin-
ters, more than the other swim-
mrs, are at their peak only for a
very short time, and this time is
usually late in the season. Which
means they are sluggish during
the dual meet season.
In this sense, O'Malley is a
sprinter's sprinter. If his output
were ploted on a graph, there
would be a horizontal line with
an abrupt upward swoop at the
Snake has the drive to be a
good sprinter. He looks at swim-
ming this way: "I think everyone
strives to be good at one thing,
and swimming was something I.
had the ability to do well. But once
I graduate from Michigan, I'll
just have to drive to be good at
O'Malley is nebulous about what
that something will be. Currently
he is a history major, because he
likes history. He sees the serv-
ice as his immediate future, and
possibly graduate school after that.
Cracks Them Up
He, like almost all Michigan
swimmers, finds his time pretty
well divided between books and
swimming pools. But he'll .always
take time out to be entertaining.
"He'd be a great actor, or come-
dian," chuckles Russ Kingery.
"Besides being hilarious, he's
also completely spontaneous," gig-
gles a female friend. "Once, when
I did something silly, I turned
around to find him rolling on the
ground in convulsions."
O'Malley's enigmatic mixture of
seriousness and clown may never
be deciphered. Once, in freshman
English, his teaching fellow made
a few comments about a Huxley
essay that he couldn't tolerate.
In retaliation, he wrote an es-
say that won him a Hopwood
award and waived him from an-
other required English course.
Kingery speculates philosophic-
ally, "Deep down, the Snake is a
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