Lehrke scores points
*to being team
Thursday, January 25, 1990 - The Michigan Daily - Page 9
Swimmers face State
by Jeff Sheran
Daily Sports Writer
Fritz Lchrkc claims he's nothing
special when it comes to leadership.
But maybe that's part of why he is
The 190-pounder holds one of the
tri-captain positions on the Mich-
igan wrestling team, but has his
own view of what a leader should be.
"My freshman year, there was a
guy Ray Yerkes. He didn't talk
much, but when he spoke, he had a
lot to say, and he was right," Lehrke
Three years later, Fritz finds
himself in Yerkes' position. He ap-
proaches his job by executing such
duties as chauffeuring younger wrest-
lers in need of rides, carrying the
equipment bags, and other thankless
Included in his duties are ribbing
his teammates, providing comic
relief, and alleviating the pressure of
competing, in the Big Ten.
But Lehrke adds still more to the
Wolverine squad. While Ycrkes
lettered for the Wolverines, he did
not excel on the mat in the same
capacity that Lehrke has.
The Rothschild, Wisconsin
native compiled a 30-16-2 record last
season for Michigan, placing fourth
at the Big Ten Championships., and
advancing into the third round of the
This year, Lehrke is undefeated in
dual meets at 7-0, and sports a 26-6
overall record. He boasts a national
ranking of sixth. Unlike other top-
ranked wrestlers, however, Lehrke
claims he is not a gifted athlete.
"I had-to bust my butt just to get
even with these guys," he stated.
"Other guys work that hard to keep
their weight down, but I do it to
keep up my ability."
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by Jeni Durst
Daily Sports Writer
In the state of Michigan blue and
green just don't mix.
Wolverine blue and Spartan green
And even though MSU will only
slightly challenge the Michigan
women's swim team this Friday in
East Lansing, competition against
State is serious business.
"I don't care whether it's
tiddledywinks or needlepoint, if
you're competing with Michigan
State you know you're in for a
strong swim meet," Michigan coach
Jim Richardson said. "We're going
to go up there and swim with the
same attitude- we swam against
"Most of our swimmers know
the girls from Michigan State
because they swam with them or
against them in high school. Those
are the people that you want to do
your best against."
The strong rivalry will enhance
the already existing team closeness
which has played such an important
role in the Wolverine's success so
"One of the differences between
this year and last year is that our
team this year...is a much closer
team," Richardson added. "There's
just a lot more confidence and a W~t
more determination as unit."
Senior co-captain Amy Hotg
agrees with the positive chang.
"The upperclassmen...really hell
the freshman this year and that's
where the team unity has come:.i.
We react better as people to peop.
That's the difference."
All rivalry aside, the Wolverirrs
plan to use the Spartans as one mare
rung on the ladder leading to thur
ultimate goals. I.
"This team really has some
important goals internally...to wn
Big-Tens again and finish in the t>
ten in NCAAs," Richardson
explained. "I know I don't sound like
it over the phone, but I'm excited "r
this group. They've got tie
opportunity to do some very special
The Michigan team will have 4o
kick it up a notch to accompliah
those goals. They face two tough
competitors in Ohio State and
Minnesota, both within the next tvo
weeks, while the Big-Ten and
NCAA Championships loom not
very far in the future.
But this weekend they wil
concentrate on letting the Spartans
know that it's not easy being green
when blue comes to town.
Fritz Lehrke (190 lbs.) maintains a riding time advantage against Illinois' Matt Bernstein last weekend. He
defeated Bernstein, 18-7, for one of his 26 victories this season.
Lehrke's reputation as a tireless
worker also contributes to his
leadership qualities. What spawned
his work ethic was an incident
involving his older brother, Eric.
Eric reached the finals of the
1982 Wisconsin State Champion-
ships and Fritz, then an eighth-
grader, viewed him as having reached
the epitome of high school
wrestling. Naturally, he expected
Eric's arm to be raised in the end.
Fritz then watched his brother
lose a 1-0 overtime decision.
"That loss hit me hard," he said.
"From that point on I realized to
never let it come down to that.
Always be up by a point."
Three years4ater, Lehrke won his
match in the state finals to give his
high school the state championship.
Lehrke extends his work ethic to
all aspects of his life, whether it be
the sparring room or the classroom.
He holds a 3.0 grade-point average in.
the School of Physical Education,
where he majors in kinesiology.
Aware of the criticism athletes
sometimes bear for taking easier
courseloads, Lehrke asserts that such
stereotypes belie his academic career.
"True, I may not know micro or
macroeconomics, but those guys
wouldn't love Physiology 101,
"Fritz is the ideal student-
athlete," wrestling coach Dale Bahr
added. "There's a right way to do
things, and a wrong way to do
things, and he does things the right
After graduation, he
gain acceptance into a
school to become a
"Over the years, with all the
injuries I've had, physical therapy
gives me a chance to give something
back," Lehrke explained.
Lehrke's career goals are
indicative of the way he successfully
intertwines athletics and life, with-
out losing sight of what is
His greatest asset as an athlete is
not his humor or his work ethic, but
his ability to turn his frightening
intensity on and off, according to his
father Fred, who also served as his
high school wrestling coach.
"As much as he wants to win, he
always maintains his composure. He
understands that wrestling is a sport
- he plays rough, but he plays
clean. And you don't have to be a
wrestler to be his friend," Fred
As the head coach at D.C.
Everest high school, Fred introduced
his younger son to many respected
names in wrestling at an early age,
people who have had a great influ-
ence on Fritz. Among these family
friends are current Ohio State coach
Russ Hellickson, and Mitch Hull,
who is now the head coach at
Hull asserts that Lehrke simply
knows how to act. "He has such
great perspective on things; he plays
down his successes because he
knows they're only fleeting.
"Fritz can be so intense about
winning, and not hate the other
team," Hull added.
Sure, Lehrke has his quirks. For
instance, he developed a somewhat
unpleasant habit in high school of
spitting into his singlet during his
matches, to avoid constantly walk-
ing over to the bench.
This season a rule was passed
disallowing such conduct, requiring
spitting to be done into a designated
bucket. Unable to break his habit,
however, Fritz forgot the rule and
was penalized a point during a match
at the Ohio Open.
He lost by a point.
by Eric Berkman
Daily Sports Writer
Things are looking up for men's
track coach Jack Harvey as his
Wolverines head into Friday's
Western Michigan Invitational at
Kalamazoo. After a strong showing
in last weekend's Michigan Relays,
Harvey sees good things for his
"As a team we're looking pretty
good right now, probably better than
I expected," Harvey said.
Harvey plans to run basically the
same lineup he used last week, a
sign that the team may be settling
down into a consistent rotation.
There are, however, two exceptions.
First, high jumper Brad Holwerda, is
resting this weekend after an
impressive performance in the
Michigan Relays. In addition,
Track coach optimistic
running back/sprinter Allen Jefferson
will run this weekend.
"Allen's going to run the sprints
for us, so we should be a little
stronger in that area.," Harvey said;
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