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February 13, 1995 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-13

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The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 13, 1 - -

* BIGGERT
continued from Page 1"
to face my oldest brother Jon. It was
just me and him and my other brother
Todd. We went crazy. You can just
imagine what we did."
An empty home only fostered the
rivalry which would develop between
Chad and his brothers.
"Jon used to beat the hesl out of me
and Todd," he continues. "Jon is four
years older than me, so that was big,"
he says, measuring a two-foot height
difference with his hands. "It defi-
nitely brought out some aggressions
in me that needed to be channeled
toward a sport."
Juniorhigh school provided
Biggert with his first experience in a
contact sport: soccer. But instead of
S playing a clean game, he perpetually
found trouble. "I was getting red
cards," he says. "It was for a good
cause, though, because I was protect-
ing my teammates. But from there, I
knew I was going to have to switch to
something else and I did."
That something was wrestling.
Watching Biggert wrestle, one sees
his daring, combative nature display
* itselfain flurries. There is no stalling;
he is constantly trying to build a big
lead. No matter who is in front of him,
he pounces upon every opportunity.
"You just have to wrestle the
body," he says. "I try to wrestle the
same type of match every time out."
By taking advantage of any given
situation this season, Biggert tends to
establish three- or four-point leads.
This allows him to relax as the match
*progresses, and gives him the chance
to compile big scoring margins. "Once
you get that lead, it's great," Biggert
says. "When that score builds up, I
can open up. In tight matches, you
can't afford to do that because you
can't risk making a mistake."
Michigan coach Dale Bahr has

seen this no-holds-barred attitude in
Biggert develop noticeably this year
and has become extremely confident
in him. "He is a guy I can count on for
a win," the Wolverine coach says.
"His major decisions and pins have
been a great boost to the team."~
In the Wolverines' first Big Ten
dual meet of the season, against Illi-
nois, Michigan trailed by 11 points.
Biggert encountered difficulties with
Illinois senior Charles Gary, falling
behind in the match, 4-2.
Biggert then proceeded to take
down Gary with only two seconds left
in the final period. With less than a
minute remaining in the overtime ses-
sion, he pounced on the Illini
wrestler's stance and took him down
for another two points and a 6-4 win.
Though the team eventually lost
the match to Illinois, Biggert's per-
formance left an impression on Bahr.
"Chad did a great job for us," Bahr
said after the match. "He put us in a
position to win."
That's because Biggert hates to
lose.
Of 38 matches this year, Biggert
has lost only five. He leads the team
with 33 victoriesgand provides the
leadership expected of a fifth-year
senior.
Yet in his first match of this sea-
son at the Las Vegas Classic in No-
vember, Biggert started the match
lackadaisically and lost. "I just
wrestled terrible," he says. "It was
such a (horrendous) loss. My oppo-
nent got me in some move for four or
five points, and I could not catch up.
It was such a terrible feeling."
At The Midlands Tournament in
Evanston, Ill., in late December,
Biggert lost to Michigan State assis-
tant coach Joe Pantaleo - a former
Michigan wrestler who is currently
training for the 1996 Olympics.
Biggert lost by a point.
"I wanted to beat him so bad,"

SPORTSMonday Profile
Name: Chad Biggert
Sport: Wrestling
Eligibility: Senior
' Year: Senior

Biggert says. "There's nothing better
than the underdog situation. I love
playing the role of the spoiler. I'd
rather be unranked and be the under-
dog than the ranked favorite. To me,
the rankings mean nothing."
That match didn't count toward
his NCAA record, but Biggert still
can't get over the fact that he lost
when he had the chance for victory.
"You can never get used to los-
ing," he says. "You never want to like
it. I always try to deny it. It's a terrible
feeling, especially in wrestling be-
cause you have no one else to blame
it on. No one else is out there to share
your loss with you so you can't ever
let it get you down. When I lose to any
opponent I look forward to wrestling
him again. It's kind of like a personal
revenge."
Bahr believes Biggert's desire for
retribution stems from the All-Ameri-
can candidate's wish to deflect the
pressure of being ranked. "Chad has
this refusing-to-lose attitude," Bahr
says. "It's not how bad you want to
win, but your refusal to lose."
Biggert is presently ranked No. 6
in the nation, yet upon the mentioning
of his senior-year successes, he im-
mediately becomes humble and dwells
on the ranking system.
"I try to not even think about the
ratings because you can't," he says.
"They don't mean anything, really.
It's just some pencil pusher that I
don't even know somewhere trying to
write down what he thinks the na-

tional tournament will look like in the
end."
But if the end of the season is
uncertain, the beginning of Biggert's
career was even more dubious.
During 1990-91, his freshman sea-
son, Biggert received his first oppor-
tunity to wrestle at the Big Ten Cham-
pionships in Madison. He served as
the 158-pound replacement for in-
jured future All-American Sean
Bormet. He won his first match of the
tournament.
"That was some experience,"
Biggert says. "It was a great time."
On the bus trip back from the
tournament, the Wolverines stopped
at Wendy's to eat and relax. Biggert
originally decided to skip the meal
and remained on board. However,
he did not sleep or catch up on his
homework. He increased his knowl-
edge in the field of public transpor-
tation.
"I was just chilling in the bus and
no one was around," he says. "So I
went up and sat in the ol' driver's seat
and proceeded to put that baby in
drive and started driving. I only drove
it 10 or 15 feet."
And then something happened
when he put the bus in reverse.
"I'm going in reverse and I heard
a door slam. I checked the rearview
mirror and all of a sudden I saw the
bus driver come flying down the aisle
from the bathroom," he says.
He immediately slammed the bus
in park and received a verbal lashing

from the driver.
"I told him I was just screwins
around and Ijumped out of that bus so
fast," he laughs, embarrassed.
Mi chi gan co-captain Jehad
Hamdan remembers hat day clearly.
"I think he just anted to see how
the thing drove," he says. "It was so
funny. I couldn't believe he did that.
It was no big deal because no one got
hurt.
"You can't say he's not aggres-
sive," Hamdan says.
Biggert did not, however, find his
aggression on that bus trip. During
his high school years, he found him-
self frequently in the fray. "I was
fighting constantly," he says through
a laugh. "I always knew what I was
getting into. That's what I do day in
and day out every day of the week. I
know how to use my weight to hurt
people. People just don't understand
that until they are there.
"In high school, you build your-
self a name through your sport. So
there was always some brawler from
another school who wanted to knock
me off of my pedestal. I never got
busted and I would never lose. I think
that contributed to my wrestling."
It surely did. His successes culmi-
nated in a Michigan state champion-
ship at 152 pounds and a perfect 46-0
record as a prep senior.
Yet those statistics failed to im-
press Bahr, who has been desensi-
tized by coaching 17 All-Americans
in 17 seasons at Michigan. "Winning
one state title isn't really all that
much," Bahr says. "Guys go through
and win two or three."
What has impressed Bahr and the
Wolverines since Biggert came to Ann
Arbor has been his improved work
ethic. Biggert will work on his skills
against anyone he can find. In prac-
tice, he battles with freshman sensa-
tion 158-pound Jeff Catrabone and
190-pounder Hamdan, an NCAA

qualifier.
"Chad came in here and 11adn'
done all that much," Bahr says,. "Hi
wasn't all that good a wrestler. But he
worked real hard because it Has real
important to him. 1 admire that."
Hamidan, a fellow Al l-American
candidate, agrees. But he also rel-
izes that Bi gert'sbhs reults
from the role of his siblings in shap-
"ng his life. "He is so competitive
because of those brothers," Hamdan
says. "He wanted to excel like them."
With this desire to perform well, it
is no wonder that Biggert's competi-
tive nature permeates his life,
"He is kind of like a blue-collar
athlete," Bahr says. "He goes in there
and gets the job done like what is
expected. I like that. He came in as a
nobody and has made a name for
himself."
Biggert says he inherited this phi-
losophy from his father, Joe. Though
he only saw his son every other week-
end at the trailer park, the elder B iggert
was always present to instill confi-
dence in his son. "There is one thing
that I have told him that I know sticks
with him," Joe says. "A winner never
quits and a quitter never wins."
That perseverance, which his fa-
ther instilled in him, is what causes
Chad to talk to himself. With his de-
sires set at becoming a Big Ten cham-
pion, an All-American and a national
champion, the short-term embarrass-
ment of being overheard mumbling is
a small price to pay.
"He's got the potential of being
the top four or five in the country,"
Bahrsays. "As long as he sIay:s healthy
and wins the close matches at the Big
Tens and Nationals, anythin c hap-
pen. He should set his goals as hig as
he can."
So on a cold, blustery day on central
campus, do not be alarmed if a babbling
athlete crosses your path. Simply ig-
nore him and keep on walking.

-Grapplers tie up No. 6 Golden Gophers

Daily Sports.
Awwww yeah.

By Tim Smith
Daily Sports Writer
It is said that a tie is like kissing
your sister.
In the No. 14 Michigan wrestling
team's 19-19 tie of No. 6 Minnesota
(3-1-1 Big Ten, 12-3-1 overall) on
* Saturday, however, the Wolverines
must have felt like it were smooching
a sister with a resemblance to Cindy
Crawford instead of one in the mold
of its mother.
A major underdog heading into
the match, the Wolverines (5-2-1, 7-
3-1) were simply hoping to avoid a
major embarrassment by the Golden
Gophers.
And having to go against five top-
ten-rated Minnesota wrestlers after los-
ing two of their best to injury - Jake
Young and Jesse Rawls Jr. - made the
Wolverines possible escape from em-
barrassment even less probable.
When the scoreboard had the Go-
phers leading 11-0 afterthree matches
with three top-five wrestlers still to
hit the mats, the Wolverines may have
wished that they had never even got-
ten out of bed on Saturday morning.
But then a funny thing happened.
Michigan started winning.
Heading into the heavyweight
match pitting Michigan's Airron
Richardson against Minnesota's No.
5 Billy Pierce, the Wolverine wres-
tiers had fought their way back and
put themselves in a position for a tie
or even to win.
And the freshman Richardson,
who has been put in numerous pres-
sure situations this season, responded
to the situation like a veteran.
Richardson took down Pierce in
the first period to take a 2-0 lead and
never looked back on the way to hard-
fought and dramatic 3-1 victory to
give Michigan the come-from-behind
tie.
"I went into this match expecting to

win," Richardson said. "A lot of people
don't do that when they look at the guy
and see what he's done in the past.
"I knew Icould take anyone down.
I knew I had the tools and the power
and strength to do it. I just had to put
it all together today and fortunately it
worked out."
It looked like the heavyweight
match would never even have the
chance to be of any importance when
the Wolverines fell behind early.
After 118-pounder Matt Stout lost a
heartbreaking 3-2 match to No.6 Bran-
don Paulson of Minnesota, the Wolver-
ines didn't come close to winning until
142-pounder Mike Ellsworth won by
major decision, 11-1.
Bill Lacure's 12-4 loss at 150 put
Michigan behind 15-4, but Jeff
Catrabone and Chad Biggerteach reg-
istered major decisions to pull the
Wolverines to 15-12.
Golden Gopher Brett Colombini,
rated second in the nation at 177,
defeated inexperienced Wolverine
Eric Zimmerman 14-4 to register a
major decision and give the Minne-
sota a 19-12 lead heading into the
final two matches.
What followed was what proved
to be one of the most crucial matches
of the day. Michigan 190-pounder
Jehad Hamdan, leading 10-6 with 15
seconds to go, fought hard for two
take downs in the final 15 seconds of
his 14-6 win to give the Wolverines
the much needed four point major
decision heading into the heavyweight
showdown.
"We needed major decisions to
have a chance to even come close,"
Michigan coach Dale Bahr said. "If
(Jehad) hadn't gotten that major, we
wouldn't have been in position to tie
and it might have taken some of the
edge off Airron trying so hard.
"When we were behind as much as
we were, it feels great to get a tie. Now

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we'll go down to Columbus with a great
feeling, and I think (the tie) will be a
great impetus to go down there and
really go after the Buckeyes."
And the Wolverines did just that
by using the momentum from the
meet to defeat No. 22 Ohio State 20-

12 on Sunday.
After losing three of the first four
matches to fall behind 9-3, the Wol-
verines won five of the last six, in-
cluding major decisions by Catrabone
and Lacure, to register the victory
over the Buckeyes (2-5, 14-9).

EARLY DEADLINES
due to Spring Break, 1995

PUBLCTI NDATE
Monday, February 27
Tuesday, Februray 28
Wednesday, March 1

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Deadline: March 1, 1995

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