Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Sports Monday- January 27, 1992
'I just want to keep
improving. Ijust need
to keep working on
- Phil Tomek
'M' to challenge Big
Wolverines strong at almost every weight class
.No regrets here
After four years, Tomek
ready for best season yet
by Tim Rardin
Daily Sports Writer
Four years ago, Phil Tomek was a senior at Central High School in
Wheaton, Ill: He was well on his way to his second high school state
freestyle title and a career record of 72-7-2. As such, Tomek was heavily
recruited in the Big Ten, including perennially top-ranked Iowa.
But he eventually decided on Michigan.
"When I came to Michigan, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to be
here," Tomek said. "But after the first day or so, I called my dad and told
I him that I was sold and that this was really where I wanted to be."
The rest, as they say, is history.
Tomek, now the lone senior starter for the young Wolverines, has
compiled an impressive 72-34-4 record as a heavyweight thus far,
including an 11-4 slate this season. Last year, Tomek finished fourth in
the Big Ten and qualified for the NCAAs. This season, though plagued
with injuries all year, his expectations are higher.
"I'm still in the process of trying to swing back into shape, but I
think the injuries will help me focus on what I need to do in the second
half of the season," Tomek said. "I'm looking to win the Big Tens this
year and of course, I'm also striving for the NCAAs. I just want to keep
improving, and as long as I do that, I'm confident that I'll reach my
Coach Dale Bahr has seen that improvement in Tomek over the years.
"He's getting better every year," Bahr said. "He sometimes has a
tendency to change his game plan during a match if it's not working for
him. He's doing a better job of deciding how he's going to wrestle
someone and sticking to it. He definitely gives us a solid finisher in close
Recalling his first year in Ann Arbor, Tomek knows that malking the
transition to college may have slowed his progress on the mat.
"Time management was definitely the biggest adjustment for me,"
Tomek noted. "I think being lost in the shuffle and trying to find my
place has taken me this long. Aggressiveness has come as I've gotten back
to the way I wrestled in high school, and that was just going after it. I
just need to keep working on channeling that aggression."
As the youngest of six, much of that aggressive nature was likely
kindled while competing with his brothers and sisters.
"I come from an extremely competitive family," Tomek said. "My
sister was a starter on the women's national soccer team, my brother
wrestled at Northwestern for four years, and my dad even played soccer
internationally. I think that has helped me a lot."
Now, with that transition behind him, Tomek can concentrate on his
final season as a Wolverine, which includes helping younger wrestlers
not make the same mistakes he did.
"He knows what to expect," Bahr said. "Phil can say to some of the
younger wrestlers, 'Look guys, just take each match as it comes.' He has a
great knowledge of the program which is nice for the younger guys to
True frosh Adam Tournier, also a heavyweight, is one of those
"Phil brings a lot of leadership because he's in his fourth year here,"
Tournier said. "He has showed me a lot as far as wrestling technique and
things of that nature. He's helped me out a great deal in making the
transition into college wrestling."
After this season, though he will have finished his last year for
Michigan, Tomek's wrestling career will hardly be over.
"I'll finish my fourth year of eligibility this year, but I'm going to
come back next year, and in the winter term I'll take some classes to
strengthen my major and possibly take some graduate courses. After
that, I'll be training for the 1996 Olympics. I'm just hoping to take
wrestling as far as I can."
Looking back now, the entire Michigan wrestling program is
certainly glad that Tomek liked it in Ann Arbor that first day. In fact,
the only people that are probably not happy about Tomek's decision are
those Big Ten coaches who missed out on him four years ago..
by Shawn DuFresne
Daily Sports Writer
Dale Bahr is in the midst of his
14th season as coach of the Michigan
wrestling team. He is the second-
winningest coach in the school's
history, and this year's squad, with
consistently strong performances in
eight of 10 weight classes, has al-
ready added substantially to his vic-
"Our guys may not be the
highly-recruited ones, but they are
very high in character and we get the
best out of them," Bahr said.
The team is inexperienced at 118
pounds, the lightest competitive
weight class. Rookie Dan Leemaster
and redshirt frosh Matt Stout share
the top spot for the Wolverines, but
both have been struggling this sea-
son on and off the mat.
"Dan has a hard time getting
down to weight, and Matt is too
small," Bahr said. "I wish I could
take five pounds off Dan and give it
Although Leemaster won the
starting job this past weekend, Bahr
plans to use both of them at one
time or another during the season. If
Leemaster can stabilize his weight
and remain effective, Bahr will stay
with him, but he also feels comfort-
able starting Stout.
Junior Jason Cluff has a solid
hold on the Wolverines' 126-pound
"This is his third year starting
for us, and he has had the type of sea-
son we have expected," Bahr said.
"He is a consistent winner."
Although the squad is strong at
these two weights, the team's true
strength begins at 134 pounds.
All-American Joey Gilbert
headlines this weight class. At one
of his NCAA matches last year, the
explosive Gilbert combined with
Iowa's Tom Brands to score a total
of 52 points in seven minutes. The
Michigan's James Rawls controls MSU's Jay Helm in his 10-4 decision in Michigan's victory last Tuesday.
Michigan co-captain ranks third in
the nation at 134.
"Joey is the most exciting
wrestler we have," Bahr said. "He is
always going for more than a regu-
lar decision to put a lot of team
points on the board."
Junior James Rawls controls the
142 spot for the Wolverines.
"He has outstanding athletic
ability and has the potential to be an
All-American," Bahr said. "The
only drawback he has is that he
doesn't have the killer instinct that
a Gilbert might have. He has a ten-
dency to get the lead and sit on it."
Redshirt frosh Mike Ellsworth
provides the depth at 142 that Bahr
would like the team to develop.
At 150 is redshirt sophomore
Brian Harper, who won the Wash-
ington state title as a sophomore in
"He and Lanny (Green) are the
hardest working guys on the team,"
Bahr said. "He consistently lifts on
his own time in addition to the team
Last year's NCAA Freshman of
the Year at 158 was Michigan's Sean
Bormet, who came within one match
of All-American status last season.
"He's a quality athlete and the
biggest pinner on the team," Bahr
said. "He operates better when the
pressure is off or he feels he is the
Jesse Rawls, Jr., begins his
Wolverine career following in not
only the footsteps of his brother,
James, but also his father, who was a
Big Ten Champion and two-time
All-American for Michigan.
However, he is making his own
path at 167. Bahr expects an impres-
sive season from Rawls, who fin-
ished second at the junior nationals
last year and was a state champion in
"He's tall and lanky for 167, but
he has an excellent attack at the
legs," he said.
At 177 stands All-American
Lanny Green. The Wolverine co-cap-
tain also earned first-team Aca-
demic All-American honors last
"In 30 years of being involved
with wrestling, I've met very few
people like Lanny," said Bahr, who
pointed out that Green joined the
team three years ago as a walk-on.
"He's very goal-oriented in
wrestling and in his studies. He'll
study until midnight, wake up at 6
a.m. to lift on his own, and then run
at 7 a.m. with the team.
"Although his opponent may be
a better athlete, (Green) can wear
Redshirt frosh Jehad Hamdan
struggled early on at 190, but has
improved in the past few matches.
Heavyweight Phil Tomek is the
only senior starter on the squad.
Since the Las Vegas Classic in early
December, he has lost only one
match. An NCAA qualifier last
season, Tomek is small compared to
"He has a tendency to self-de-
struct because he'll change his game
plan in the middle of a match," Bahr
said. "If he can stay solid, he can be a
factor at the Big Ten
(Championships) and NCAAs."
The No. 9 Wolverines, who
finished second to Iowa at the Big
Tens Championships last year, have
a 7-0-1 dual-meet record thus far.
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Wolverine Brian Harper decisioned Michigan State's Tom Neu, 12-5, in
ninth-ranked Michigan's 38-3 romp over MSU Jan. 21 at Cliff Keen Arena.
onEEETWTHE~mi~lWOLVERINSWINDESPITE EARLY SETBACK
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by Tim Rardin
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan wrestling coach Dale
Bahr might have been a little wor-
ried when, 1:56 into his team's meet
at Northwestern, the ninth-ranked
Wolverines trailed 6-0.
Wildcat 118-pounder Jeff
Mirabella pinned Dan Leemaster for
the early lead. But Michigan won
eight of the ensuing nine matches to
trounce the Wildcats, 29-12.
Still, Bahr was displeased with
the meet's first outcome.
"I was disappointed at 118 to be
leading and seemingly in control of
the match, and then get pinned,"
Bahr said. "Dan's really starting to
come around and I think he
definitely could've won."
At 126, Wolverine Jason Cluff
came from behind to nip North-
gan. All-American Joey Gilbert
(134) pinned Jeff Ballvanz for his
fifth fall of the season, and James
Rawls (142) scored a major decision
over Brian Burgess, 18-7.
The highlight of the day for the
Wolverines came at 150 pounds, as
Michigan's Brian Harper, ranked
ninth in the country, faced Paul An-
dreotti, who is No. 5.
What was expected to be a close
match turned into a blowout, as
Harper whipped Andreotti, 15-4.
"Brian did everything right,"
Bahr said. "It was a great, great
match for him."
'I really needed this
win to keep me
Sean Bormet (158), also ranked
ninth in the country, decisioned
Dave Blanke, 7-3. Jesse Rawls, Jr.
(167) and ninth-ranked Lanny Green
(177) decisioned their opponents, 6-
5 and 5-3, respectively.
The Wolverines suffered their
only other defeat of the day at 190
pounds. Michigan's Jehad Hamdan
was pinned by Northwestern All-
American Matt Case.
"There was a lot of action in the
first period," Bahr said. "The mo-
mentum went back and forth several
times, but Case finally rolled
through and pinned Jehad."
Phil Tomek (HWT) finished
strongly for the Wolverines, scor-
ing a decision over Eric Stroner, 7-2.
Despite being away from home,
Michigan may actually have had a
crowd advantage in Evanston.
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