Friday, 4 p.m.
The Michigan Daily
Thursday, November 17, 1988
vs. Ohio State
Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena
M' has reason
to look ahead to
'They got great team unity. They
came in here, and they wanted to win
this tournament really bad. They
were all ready to go. I mean, you
walk into their locker room, and they
'iad stuff all over the place. They had
'Michigan is going to do it,
Michigan is going to dethrone Iowa.'
They gave them a run for their
- Wisconsin wrestler Jeff Jordan
after the Big Ten tournament last
March at Crisler Arena.
BY STEVEN COHEN
If the Michigan wrestling team
was hungry last March, it is
absolutely famished now.
Last season's sixth-place finish
nationally and narrow loss to Iowa in
the conference tournament has led to
high aspirations. The entire team is
working toward two major goals: the
Big Ten championship and the
Like a young Michael Jordan who
just realized he could dunk and
couldn't wait to perfect the reverse
and tomahawk jams, the Wolverines
are eager to start slamming their
THE WOLVERINES' first
official meet is Saturday at the Ohio
Open in Dayton, Ohio. While the
wrestlers would like to perform well,
they have their sights set on bigger
things than an early season
Their high expectations are
merited. Led by returning All-
Americans John Fisher, Larry
Gotcher, Joe Pantaleo, and Mike
Amine, the team has the most
returning NCAA championship
points in the nation.
Amateur Wrestling News has
ranked the Wolverines No. 1 in the
nation. In addition, Iowa, winners of
the last 14 conference titles, lost its
three most dominant wrestlers: Brad
Penrith, Royce Alger, and Mark
Sindlinger, due to graduation.
"Our goal is not just to win the
Big Ten title or to have a good
season," said Michigan coach Dale
Bahr. "Our goal is to win the
national championship. It's like what
Larry Gotcher said to me the other
day. He said, 'Coach, you know we
have got a great chance to win the
national championship, and that
doesn't happen every year."'
THE LAST time the
Wolverines had four All-Americans
was 15 years ago. This year,
Michigan hopes to seize the
moment. The team's dedication to
excellence has shown in practice and
is evidence of their desire to set
themselves apart. The squad is filled
with early risers who run four days a
week at 6:30 in the morning.
In addition, several Wolverines
wrestled in tournaments and in
Olympic training camps over the
summer. Fisher, Pantaleo, Mike
Amine, Fritz Lehrke, and Justin
Spewock were all impressive during
their summer vacation. This has
served to instill a certain
apprehension in other teams about
"I think (other coaches) look at
our team and say they don't have a
real weakness," said Bahr. "They're
thinking, 'Watch out for Michigan.'
Everyone else is taking the summer
off, and our kids are working hard."
Mike Amine said: "The team is
really motivated. It seems like
everyone is willing to pay the price,
and that's everyone - even freshmen
PANTALEO said: "We have the
talent. We proved that last year. We
Michigan's wrestling team, which finished sixth nationally
last season returns All-Americans (from left to right) John
Fisher, Joe Pantaleo, Mike Amine and Larry Gotcher. The
Wolverines hope to climb to even greater heights this year.
have a great chance. The key to any
successful team is staying healthy
and having guys wrestle at the right
The Wolverines are working to
meet both of those criteria. The team
has a rigorous training program in an
attempt to find places for their 10
best wrestlers for its first true test,
the Las Vegas Classic, on Dec. 2 and
The Wolverines, with
heavyweight Bob Potokar and the
four returning All-Americans, each
ranking in the top five nationally in
their respective weight class, will
field a solid cast from top to bottom.
A sixth Wolverine, Sam Amine,
is expected to be ranked in the top
five after defeating the fourth-ranked
wrestler last week at the Eastern
"We think whoever is starting for
Michigan is going to be very
representative," Michigan assistant
coach Joe Wells said.
on mat, in life
BY STEVEN COHEN
Last Friday, Francis Bentley, the longtime wrestling coach at Flint
Northern High School and the former coach of Wolverine stars John Fisher
and William Waters, was inducted into the Michigan Wrestling'is
Association Hall of Fame.
Judging by his accomplishments - a 215-41 coaching record and 20 city
championships - it is easy to see why. He coached the first all-Black team
to win a Michigan state championship in 1963.
But the measure of a person is not only determined by wins and losses
and state championships. Those who know Bentley, now the athletic director
at Northern, know he is special for more than just his coaching talents.
THOSE IN EDUCATION who have trouble relating to students
would find a role model in Bentley who has related to students through
diligence, devotion, and compassion.
"I think when you put a lot into a sport, you get more things back then
what you put in," Bentley said.
If the admiration of those around him is a measure, than Bentley is
certainly correct. "In all of Flint Northern, he was the one teacher everyone
respected," said Fisher.
Northern Principal Marvin Pryor said: "He's a tremendous, tremendous,
person. He is totally dedicated to the young people. He's done so much for
them, particularly William (Waters). His wrestlers love him. I hear it time
and time again. They have tremendous respect for him ... He didn't just
forget about them when they graduated."
FISHER AND WATERS, two of Bentley's 15 individual state
champions, are still close with him. When Waters, currently a graduate
assistant coach, took a year off from Michigan in 1985-86, he lived with
"He isn't my legal father," Waters said. "I just call him it because he's
been there for anything I've needed, anytime. He's given me guidance since
high school. He's helped me out in every phase of life."
Michigan coach Dale Bahr said: "He's a guy who never had a family in
Flint. A lot of people shy away from the inner city, but he's related well to
most of the kids. A lot of the kids at Flint were like his extended family. He
treated them like they were his sons. He demanded respect, and in turn, they
respected him because he respected them."
Though most of the other white citizens in the neighborhood near the
school have moved, Bentley has never found reason to leave the area where
he has spent the last 32 years.
"There should be more teachers who live in the areas which they teach
in," Bentley said. "Some of these people just commute and do their job
without really getting to understand the kids and situations."
THE KIDS AND SITUATIONS have changed considerably in
Flint, but his approach hasn't. In 1956, Bentley's first year at Northern, the
school was 20 percent minorities. Today the school is 83 percent minorities,
"I think you have to respect athletes as people and what they're trying to
do, " Bentley said. "To be successful, the team has to believe in a coach, but
they have to satisfy themselves first to be successful at anything."
Fisher has known Bentley since he moved next door to him when he was
five years old. Bentley got Fisher started in wrestling when he was in
elementary school. Later, Fisher starred for his Black Cats wrestling
program. See Bentley, Page 11
CLASS OF 1989.
The Air Force has a special pro-
gram for 1989 BSNs If selected,
you can enter active duty soon
after graduation-without waiting
for the results of your State Boards.
To qualify, you must have an overall
2.75 GPA. After commissioning,
you'll attend a five-month intern-
ship at a major Air Force medical
facility It's an excellent way to pre-
pare for the wide range of experi-
ences you'll have serving your
country as an Air Force nurse of-
ficer For more information, call
MAJOR CRAIG KUHNS
- --- -r
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