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March 18, 1994 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-18

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 18, 1993

Michigan rattles top three, makes history.
Women tumblers host George Washington in final meet of the season

By MELANIE SCH UMAN Colonials' 186.431 composite score Michigan State was the final time the

Just four short weeks ago, the
Michigan women's gymnastics team
accomplished something no previous
squad before it had done in school
history. The Wolverines earned the
No. 4 ranking nationwide.
Ironically, at the beginning of the
season, one of Michigan coach Bev
Plocki's "realistic goals" was to finish
the season among the Super Six elite
teams in the country. And now, one
week before the Big Ten
Championships, the Wolverines enter
their final competition of the regular
season ranked No. 3. This feat marks
the first time in ten years the top three
teams -Georgia, Utah and Alabama
- in the NCAA have relinquished
their stronghold.
Despite the loss of senior Wendy
Wilkinson, the team is very healthy
and very enthusiastic as it gears up to
finish the 1993-94 season in a manner
indicative of the rest of this campaign.
In fact, the women are hoping to go
out with style and break a school
record on home turf Saturday night at
Cliff Keen Arena.
George Washington (21-6) jour-
ney to Ann Arbor to compete in the
teams' first-ever meeting. The

puts themi nto te i o. tregIonai seea
in the Southeast Conference. Like the
Wolverines, the Colonials, No. 41 na-
tionally, will attempt to improve their
average this weekend.
"That's the nature of our sport,"
George Washington coach Margie
Cunnigham said of her teams efforts to
overcome a slow start this season. In
last week's North Carolina State meet,
George Washington recorded its high-
est score of 188.15 this season.
"Were trying to hang in there,"
Cunnigham said. "We have a lot of
aches and pains."
The Colonials, ranked in the pre-
season top-20, are down to a squad of
nine led by senior Nicole Bronner.
Their most consistent all-arounder, she
has an average score of 37.408, and a
season high 38.00.
However, Bronner falls quite short
of national No. I all-arounder,
Michigan's Beth Wymer, who's best
score is 1.544 higher than the Colonial
Wymer and her teammates have a
checklist for this dual meet - to hit
all routines, increase the confidence
level and gain momentum heading into
postseason competition.
Last Sunday's meet against

woivernes coui restupanau i i ac
during routines. Now, they hope to
come out strong on the vault, carrying
them through the meet en route to a
new school record.
"They have a lot of enthusiasm
right now," according to coach Bev
Plocki. "We're going to be doing the
same routines we've been doing all
year. It'sjust amatterof intensity level."
Emotions will be a factor tomorrow
evening, especially because this last
meet is at home. The Wolverines have
only been at Cliff Keen on four other
occasions this season, and sophomore
LiLi Leung believes that it is to
Michigan's advantage to finish.
"Our last home meet is dedicated to
the seniors," Leung said.
Senior Wilkinson, who attempted a
comeback last weekend, reinjured her
knee, but remains with the team in full
"Being able to compete again at
the last home meet (Michigan State),
I have no regrets," Wilkinson said. "If
it wasn't for this group of people I'm
working with, I don't think I would've
tried to do bars."
Berman cited Wilkinson as a great
motivational factor and fellow senior
Nicole Simpson agreed that herexperi-

ence and attitude are beneficial to the
team's performance.
"One of Wendy's best roles on the
team is motivating everyone,"Simpson
said. "She's very experienced with the
gym ... every little bit helps. The gym-
nasts give a buddy kind of encourage-
ment. It gives you the extra push."
But all the emotions are not
necessarily positive ones.
"It's going to be hard because more
than anything I'd like to compete."
Wilkinson said of her mixed emotions.
"I'm glad I got to be a part of such a
great team."
"It's been a long time, there's a lot
of memories," Simpson said."I's sad
to know it's all over, but you know
it's coming."
Although the conference meet is
approaching fast (March 26-28) and
Regionals and Nationals loom in the
distance, the Wolverines know that
this weekend's duel is just as important
as any other.
"Everyone is looking forward to
it," junior Debbie Berman said. "I
don't think anyone feels like we're in
a rut right now (towards the end of the
season). At this point, workouts could
get monotonous, but they haven't. The
coaches are making a real effort
keeping us motivated."

Debbie Berman and the Wolverines host George Washington in the final
meet of the regular season. Their No. 3 ranking is the best in school history.

Freshmen provide lift for tankers

Despite coaching his team to a per-
fect regular season record, women's
swimming coach Jim Richardson ex-
pressed concern over the Wolverines'
chances for success in the postseason.
True, Michigan had won seven Big
Ten titles in a row and placed fifth in
last year's NCAA Championships.
And though the Wolverines have
the services of All-Americans like
Lara Hooiveld and Alecia
Humphrey, injuries have plagued
these and other star swimmers all
season. In the areas that Michigan
needed help the most, a quartet of
freshmen have shrugged off a few
jitters and a lot of fierce competi-
tion in order to keep the Wolverines
among the nation's elite.
All year long, Rachel Gustin,
Anne Kampfe, Jodi Navta and
Melisa Stone have given Michigan
strength in the sprints and depth in
the individual medley (IM) and
backstroke. All are competing in
this weekend's NCAA Champion-
At last month's Big Ten meet,
Gustin won the 200-yard IM, placed
second in the 200-yard breaststroke
and third in the 100 breaststroke. Stone
finished first in the 50-yard freestyle
and scored points in the 100-yard back-
stroke and 100 freestyle. She also was

part of the first-place 400-yard medley
relay (along with Gustin) and 200 med-
ley relay teams.
Kampfe, meanwhile, placed first in
the 400 IM, fourth in the 500 freestyle
and fifth in the 200 butterfly. Navta
also scored points for Michigan, mak-
ing the finals of the 500 freestyle.
Perhaps more impressive than the
points they've won is the fact that, in
several cases, they are the only
Wolverines capable of scoring points
in their events. The freshmen were
made aware of the added pressure on
them this season.
"The seniors that graduated left
really big shoes to fill," Gustin said.
"They won a lot of events and were
really fast, and that's been really hard
on (the freshmen).
"Obviously we can't just step in
and replace them because they added
a lot more to the team thanjust points.
But I think we've done as well as we
The "big shoes" Gustin speaks of
were left by Mindy Gehrs and Kirsten
Silvester. Gehrs was last year's 400
IM national champion, while Silvester
was one of Michigan's top relay
This year's squad is not expected
to match last season's fifth-place
finish at NCAA's, especially with
Hooiveld under the weather. The
newcomers, however, have certainly

picked up some of the slack.
Gustin has the Wolverines' top fin-
ish so far this weekend (sixth place) in
the 200 individual medley. Kampfe
raced in the 500 freestyle and finished
37th, Navta placed 19th in the 200 IM
while Stone took 15th in the 50 freestyle.
A possible explanation for the
freshmen's performance was the sup-
port they received from their team-
mates, a feeling not lost on Kampfe in
"It was really nice to race on a
team," Kampfe said, "because I've
never raced on a team before. It was a
lot harder and longer, but a lot more
Stone, who has emerged as
Michigan's top sprinter, also
commented on the leadership from
the team's veterans.
"Our freshmen class has been
really pushed and we've stuck together
well," Stone said. "But I think that the
rest of the team has helped by making
us feel comfortable and helping us
focus and get ready."
Perhaps the most telling example
of the team's supportive attitude was
in the 200 IM at the Big Ten's, a race
which pitted seven-time All-
American Alecia Humphrey against
the 18-year old Gustin. Humphrey
surged to a huge lead at the outset,
only to lose to Gustin in a photo finish.

Continued from page 10
his final layup to send the game into
The Wolverines helped the game
get into overtime with 20 turnovers.
"Turnovers are what allowed
(Pepperdine) to almost win," Fisher
The Kansas crowd also was on
Pepperdine's side. The fans, sparked
by Lopez's heroic performance and
the Waves' seemingly imminent up-
set, started the wave and booed Michi-
"I don't think they were booing
us," Fisher said. "I think they were
cheering Pepperdine."
Jones 45 6-9 3-5 1-3 6 4 15
O'Brien 16 0-2 0-0 1-1 1 0 0
Noether 39 5-11 3-4 2-6 0 4 13
Parker 35 3-8 3-3 0-1 42 11
Lopez 43 7-18 0-0 0-1 5 0 21
James 28 3-5 1-2 5-6 0 4 8
Brown 12 2-5 0-2 0-0 0 0 4
Vanderputten 7 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 2
Totals 225 27.59 1046 12.24 1615 74
FG%: .458. FT%: .625. Three-point goals: 10-26,
.385 (Lopez 7-17, Parker 2-7, James 1-1, Brown 0-
1). Blocks: 2 (Jones, Noether). Turnovers: 14
(Parker 4, James 2, Jones 2, Noether 2.
Vanderputten 2). Steals: 13 (Jones 5, Brown 3,
Lopez 2, James, O'Brien, Parker). TechnicalrFouls:
Rose 38 2-13 8410 2-7 7 2 13'
Jackson 28 5-7 1-2 1-2 3 5 11
Howard 39 12-17 4-4 4-9 1 5 28
Fife 38 2-5 2-2 2-6 3 2 8
King 39 4-7 4-4 2-5 2 0 13
Ndiaye 17 1-1 0-0 2-2 1 1 2
Saint-Jean 16 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 2 0
Bossard 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Crawford 9 1-2 0-0 0-2 1 1 3
Totals 225 27-52 19.22 13-36 1918 78
FG%: .519. FT%: .864. Three-point goals: 5-13,
.385 (Fife 2-4, Crawford 1-1, King 1-2, Rose 1-6).
Blocks: 2 (Ndiaye, Rose). Turnovers: 20 (Howard
7, King 5, Fife 3, Jackson 3, Rose 2). Steals: 10
(Howard 4, Fife 2, King 2, Rose 2). Technical Fouls:
Pepperdine .... 32 36 6-74
Michigan..... 39 29 10-78
At: Kansas Coliseum


Continued from page 10
The little guy heaved three-point-
ers left and right, pulling his team to
within one with under four minutes
left in regulation, then did the same
with 2:50 left to make it 64-63, Michi-
gan. Loping downcourt relentlessly,
Lopez annoyed the Wolverines like a
The majority of the arena chanted
"Let's go Waves," and did the wave,
droning louder and louder.
When the buzzer sounded, and the

Wolverines wiped their freshly-
shaven brows and hunkered off to the
showers, Juwan stayed behind to do
TV interviews.
They booed his every step. And
when he was finished, they booed
some more.
Is this bothering anyone? It should
bother all of you.
As Steve Fisher said, "We're not
coveting any type of 'bad boy' im-
Unfortunately, that image is cov-
eting Michigan. And like that damn
noise, it just keeps going and going
and going....


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