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January 28, 1994 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-28

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 28, 1994

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'M' grapples with falling rankings

Expectations great for
Blue men's tennis team

By DAVE SCHWARTZ
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
What does 61-5-1 mean?
It may look like a mixed-up locker
combination to many, but for the 15th-
ranked Michigan wrestling team, those
numbers represent its career record
against Northwestern.
The Wolverines (0-2 Big Ten, 5-4
overall) will look to make it win No.62
when they wrestle the Wildcats (2-1-1,
3-1-1) Sunday.
At the beginning of the year, this
match looked liked just another road
event on the long schedule.
However, considering the Wolver-
ines' recent struggles (2-4 in their last
six matches) and the fact that the Wild-
cats are ranked No. 23 in the nation,
this weekend becomes extremely im-
portant for Michigan.
Injuries continue to hamper the

Wolverines. At 177 pounds, Kevin
Williams will wrestle for the in-
jured Jesse Rawls, Jr. (infected
knee).
Despite heavyweight Steve King's
week-old ankle sprain, Michigan coach
Dale Bahr expects the senior to be
ready by Sunday.
"We're going to use Steve this
weekend," Bahr said. "His ankle
will be sore, but he's going up
against Hugh Williams who hasn't
wrestled at all this year because he's
on the football team. He's a big kid
who should tire quickly."
Along with this matchup, Bahr feels
the Wolverines have an advantage at
four other spots.
"Right now we're stronger at 142,
150, 158, 190 and heavyweight," Bahr
said. "So that's five matches rightthere,
and hopefully we can get a sixth one or

a pin from Sean (Bormet) or Steve."
Northwestern's strength resides in
the lighter weight classes. Jeff Mirabella
(118) is 13-3 this season and Tony
Pariano (134) is 13-2.
"We've been looking forward to
this match because it'll give us a
chance to see how our team stacks up
against some of their big guns," North-
western coach Tim Cysewski said.
"If we're going to have a shot, our
first four wrestlers have to set the
tone."
The matchup at 167 could be one
of the most interesting of the day. The
Wildcats' Rohan Gardner is No. 8 in
the country with a 14-5 mark.
He'll go up against Michigan's
Chad Biggert, who has improved of
late.
Despite their recent setbacks, in-
cluding a drop from No. 4 to No. 15
in the team rankings, the Wolver-
ines remain optimistic about the
future.
"The kids are in a good mental
state of mind," Bahr said. "We've
really picked it up with condition-

Williams

ing. We just have to keep working
and make sure we're wrestling good
by the time Big Tens and NCAAs
roll around."
Based on the schedule,
Michigan's chances of a better fin-
ish appear pretty good. The Wol-
verines wrestled nine matches in 15
days during January.
February sees Michigan involved
in just five matches, four of which are
at home.

FOREIGN RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES
BOLIVWA , CHILE, CHINA
Minority Undergraduates and Graduate Students
Informational Meetings
January 31st 1:00 - 2:00 and 4:00 - 5:00
300 North Ingalls, Room 1000

By JILL FISCHER
and KATY TURNER
FOR THE DAILY
The 1994 Michigan men's tennis
team is already well on its way to a
winning season, according to its coach,
Brian Eisner.
Of course, with eight letterwinners
returning to the team, the anticipation
and expectation of success are high.
Although last season's team was fre-
quently plagued with injuries, this year
looks to be more hopeful.
Provided that everyone is healthy,
Michigan has a real shot at becoming
the class of the Big Ten.
The Wolverines compete tomor-
row against Northern Illinois at the
Liberty Sports Complex.
The Huskies are led by former
Michigan assistant coach Tim Mad-
den, providing an interesting opponent
for the Wolverines.
At No. 1 singles, senior captain
Dan Brakus is both the inspirational
and competitive leader of Eisner's
squad.
Currently ranked No. 18 in the
United States and No.2 in the Midwest
among collegians, Brakus' experience
will be a huge asset to his team this
year.
"Dan Brakus is really as good a
player as there is in the United States,"
Eisner said.
After Brakus, four other key play-
ers give the Wolverines much needed
depth.
Sophomore John Costanzo, who
played No. 2 singles last year behind
Brakus, has seen limited playing time
this year due to a neck injury.
However, he has "tremendous tal-
ent," according to Eisner, and will see
much competition this spring provided
his injury is taken care of.
Grady Burnett, ajunior, played No.
4 singles last year. Eisner believes

Burnett's play over the summer and
this fall hashelped his game immensely.
While not having as strong a fresh-
man season as he hoped, Ann Arbor
native Peter Pusztai has showed dur-
ing the last month why he was a two-
time Michigan state singles cham-
pion in high school.
Pusztai is a shot-maker and very
quick. Eisner believes there is no limit
to his potential.
The fourth key player on this team
is junior Adam Wagner. He was in the
top 15 in the nation as a sophomore.
Eisner considers Wagner and the oth-
ers very capable players.
"These four players could play in
any position," Eisner said. "We could
get great effectiveness."
An eligibility technicality has lim-
ited the playing time of No. 6 player
Geoff Prentice, a solid performer from
last season.
Eisner hopes Prentice will be able
to return to the team soon. In the
running for the remaining spots will
be fifth-year senior Mike. Nold and
freshman Chris Wyatt, who have both
seen lots of action so far.
The other two additions to this
year's team are freshmen Brad Kramer
and Andy Yani. Kramer is the reigning
Illinois state high school champion and
is an outstanding player and has al-
ready seen action this fall.
"Yani is very, very strong," Eisner
said. "He hits with a great deal of
velocity, is a good athlete, and is
improving every day."
Team morale is very high and there
is much excitement about this year.
"I would like to feel that certainly
we are one of the best teams in the Big
Ten," Eisner said. "We are very, very
hopeful that provided we don't get
any more injuries and keep everyone
playing, we have ashot at winning the
Big Ten."

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