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March 22, 1995 - Image 10

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-22

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ft~i Mwtc~mt d

Griffin named Player of the Week
Michigan softball's Sara Griffin is the Louisville Slugger Player of the
Week. Griffin was the Most Valuable Player of last weekend's Florida
State Lady Seminole Invitational. She threw three complete-game
shutouts, lowering her ERA to 1.25, and batted 11-of-24 with four doubles
and two home runs.

Page 10,
Wednesday
March 22, 1995

J

Unlikely
star will
get chance
at NCAAs
By Dan McKenzie
Daily Sports Writer
It is to swimming what the mara-
thon is to running.
The 1650-yard freestyle is an ex-
cruciating event that tests the endur-
anceofits competitors. However, when
Michigan swimmer Jan Wenzel takes
to the water to swim the event this
weekend at the NCAA Championships,
it will literally be his 15 minutes of
fame.
Wenzel is not the star of the Wol-
verines. In fact, three years into his
college career, this will be the first time
he makes the trip to the NCAAs with
the rest of his teammates.
These teammates include Olympic
silver-medalistGustavoBorges, world-
record holder Tom Dolan and count-
less other top-caliber athletes who have
represented their countries around the
world.
It is difficult to stand out from this
group.
"Iwas almostalwayson ateam with
people that were faster than I was,"
Wenzel says of his swimming career.
Compared to his teammates' biog-
raphies, Wenzel's career is undistin-
guished. His accomplishments are
mostly in thepersonal-victory category.
Wenzel took up swimming when
he was eight years
old after being en-
k$ couraged by one of
his swim class in-
structors. His pre-
f college career
reached its climax
when he and his
brother, whoiscur-
rently a freshman
at Ohio State,
Wenzel swam togetherdur-
ing his senior year
in high school.
"The coolest experience I had in
high school was being on a relay team
with my brother, my best friend and his
brother at the state championships,"
Wenzel says. "We placed fourth."
If Michigan seems to be an un-
likely choice for an athlete who didn't
dominate the high school competi-
tion, Wenzel has managed to fit in
well.
"My freshman class stuck together
more as friends than as competitors,"
Wenzel says. "I didn't feel real intimi-
dated."
"I don't think that he ever thought
he'd make it to NCAAs, and he did,"
Michigan coach Jon Urbanchek says.
"I think he had a great season freshman
year and he's definitely becoming an
outstanding swimmer."
This will not be the first time
Wenzel has taken part in a national
competition. He accompanied the
Wolverines to the U.S. Swimming
Nationals last year.
Before his NCAA qualifying time
at this year's Big Ten Champion-
ships, Wenzel's 16th-place finish in

the 1500-yard freestyle at the nation-
als was the highlight of his college
career.
"He's been to a national meet, but
not of this magnitude," Urbanchek
says. "But he's a hard working kid,
and he definitely put in 110% this
season."
Urbanchek was also quick to point
See SWIMMING, Page 10

Blue opens home season
'M' baseball set to take on Eagles at Fisher Stadium

By Ravi Gopal
Daily Baseball Writer
After a six-game road swing fea-
turing the likes of No. 2 Florida
State and last year's national run-
ner-up, Georgia Tech, the Michigan
baseball team is only too happy to
be back home again.
"We're very excited," senior out-
fielder Sean Coston said. "We're look-
ing forward to getting out on the field
and getting a win."
The Wolverines (6-11 overall) take
on Eastern Michigan (3-12) tomorrow
at 3 p.m. at Fisher Stadium in their first
home game of the year. The Eagles are
having their problems this year and
enter the contest on a four-game losing
skid.
But Michigan has had its troubles
as well. After destroying the Yel-
low Jackets, 27-5, in the rubber game
of a three-game set two weekends
ago, the Wolverines were swept by
Florida State this past weekend.
A combination of weak hitting
and inconsistent pitching was
Michigan's downfall.
"The (Seminole) pitching staff is
the best in the country," Freehan said.

"Jonathan Johnson, (Charlie) Cruz and
(David) Yocum (the three starters the
Wolverines faced) have a combined
(ERA) of under 1.5."
Although Michigan was battered in
Tallahassee, the Eagles' pitching staff
doesn't look to be as formidable as
Florida State's.
Eastern Michigan boasts just one
pitcher, ace reliever Steve Herbst,
with an ERA under five (1.59). The
Eagles' workhorses, Ben Simon,
Dan Tobias and Mark Rutherford,
have ERAs of 5.01, 5.60 and 8.14,
respectively.
Eastern Michigan's pitching might
be just what the doctor ordered for the
Wolverines, who are batting a collec-
tive .251.
Outfielder Brian Simmons contin-
ues to lead the team in virtually every
offensive category. The junior from
McMurray, Penn. has a lofty .344 aver-
age to go along with six home runs and
24 RBI.
While Simmons and the Wol-
verines could tear up the Eagles'
pitching, Michigan's hurlers have a
chance to lower their ERAs tomor-
row. Eastern Michigan is batting a

.248 and has been outscored 156-
122 so far this season.
The bright spots of the Eagles'
lineup include the infield tandem of
shortstop Don DeDonatis and sec-
ond baseman Jeff McGavin, who
are batting .310 and .300, respec-
tively. Centerfielder Curtis Baker is 0
Eastern Michigan's power hitter. He
has three home runs and 26 RBI on
the season.
Baker and company could present
problems for the Wolverine pitching
staff.
In its past few games, Michigan has
been able to score first, only to watch
the other team come back. Opponents
are batting .323 against the Wolver-,
ines.
"We've got to pitch better early in
the ballgame," Freehan said.
The Wolverines met the Eagles once
in the exhibition season, giving both
teams a chance to scout out their oppo-
nents.
"We've seen them play and beat
them in Lakeland (in February),"
Freehan said. "Our concern is not the
other team, but what we do on the
field."

DOUGLAS KANTER/Daily
The Michigan baseball team plays its first home game of the year tomorrow.
Netters drnp three
mathesatBlue-
M aGray tunment

By Marc Ughtdale
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's tennis team
suffered a major setback this weekend,
losing three matches at the Blue-Gray
Classic in Montgomery, Ala.
The Wolverines lost to No.8 Texas,
No. 21 North Carolina and Nevada-
Las Vegas on consecutive days.
"It is the most difficult competition
that we've been in during the last four
years," Michigan coach Brian Eisner
said.
In the first match, the Longhorns
shutout the Wolverines, 4-0. However,
Michigan led in two matches that were
suspended due to rainy conditions.
At first singles, Texas' Chad Clark
outlasted Peter Pusztai in three sets (4-
6, 6-2, 6-4). In addition, the Long-
horns' first doubles tandem of Chad
Clark and Trey Phillips captured an 8-
5 victory over Michigan's John
Constanzo and Peter Pusztai. The Long-
horns' second doubles combination of
B.J. Stearns and Ernesto Ponce
struggled to a 9-7 victory over the
Wolverines' Arvid Swan and Geoff
Prentice.
Even though the overall result was
disappointing, the Wolverines felt that
they demonstrated their ability to play
with the best.
"We saw that we were in a position
where we were right there with a team
in the top 10in the nation," Eisner said.
"We're not saying that we should have
won the match, but the match was close
enough that we had a chance."
North Carolina then defeated Michi-
gan in the second match by a score of 5-
2. In the Wolverines' first of two victo-
ries, No. 1 singles player Peter Pusztai
rolled over the TarsHeels' David
Caldwell in straight sets (6-3, 6-2).
Michigan's Grady Burnett added a solid
effort in defeating North Carolina's
David Britt at sixth singles (6-4, 6-1).

We have not
played competition
like this in the last
three or four
years.7'
- Brian Eisner
Michigan tennis coach
"It was an extremely competitive
match," Burnett said. "It was a 5-2
match that came down to the last three
matches."
Some of the players also found the
loss to Tar Heels hard to swallow after
a 6-1 victory over No. 20 Minnesota
March 11.
"We're a better team than North
Carolina, but wejust did not capitalize,
although we all played good tennis,"
John Costanzo said.
The Running Rebels edged the
Wolverines, 4-3, in the third match. A
last-minute shift in Michigan's lineup
moved everybody up one spot and hurt
the team's concentration.
The Wolverines picked up three
singles matches in the losing effort. At
second singles, David Paradzik de-
feated Tim Blankton of Nevada Las
Vegas in straight sets (6-3,6-2). Burnett
prevailed over Rob Norton of North
Carolina (6-1, 7-6). Adam Wager
moved into the lineup at sixth singles
and beat Thomas Schrader of the Tar
Heels (6-3, 6-4).
Burnett emphasized the valuable
tournament experience for the players
returning next year.
"We have not played competition
like this in the last three or four years,"
Burnett said. "It gives the people here
for the next couple of years a taste of
the competition."

JONATHAN LURIE/Daily
The Michigan hockey team, the top seed in the NCAA West Regional, may have to play fourth-seeded Wisconsin
at the Badgers' home arena. Wisconsin is 16-4-1 this season at Dane County Coliseum.
No.1I leads 'M' down iyl oa

n college hockey, a No. 1 seed
in the NCAA Tournament
means that a team is one of the two
best teams in the nation. Theoreti-
cally, those two top seeds should have
the least trouble advancing to the fi-
nal game when they face each other
for the championship.
However, for the Michigan hockey
team a top seed has meant nothing but
trouble, and this year could be no
different.
The No. 1 Wolverines may face a
sizzling Wisconsin club on its home
ice in just the quarterfinals of the
tournament.
This season, the Wolverines com-
piled an impressive 29-7-1 record be-
fore the NCAA Tournament, and were
well deserving of the No. Iposition in
the West Regional that they received
Sunday night.
With the top seed comes a first-
round bye and a second-round contest
against the winner of the game be-
tween the region's fourth and fifth
seeds. According to those seedings,
the Wolverines shouldn't have too
much of a problem against the victor
of Friday's Wisconsin-Michigan State
game. But when Michigan takes the

The game will be held in Dane
County Coliseum - Wisconsin's
home arena - and should the Bad-
gers beat the Spartans, the Wolver-
ines would face a packed house of
rowdy cheeseheads cheering on their
team.
That environment could make the
Wolverines' first-game jitters seem
like a full-scale earthquake.
Some reward for a top seed and an
impressive regular-season perfor-
mance.
"When I fin-
ish higher than
you, and you're
playing at home
and I'm playing
on the road,
that's not right,"
Michigan coach TOMN
Red Berenson SEELEY
said. "(The tour- Seel
namentpairings) of Approval
shouldn't favor
the team that's a lesser seed."
The Wolverines beat the Badgers
earlier this year, 7-2, but that game
was played in St. Paul, Minn. - a true
neutral site where neither team had a
home-ice advantage.

Last year, Michigan was also
cursed by a No. 1 seed.
The Wolverines faced Lake Supe-
rior State in their first game of the
NCAAs and lost to the Lakers, 5-4, in..
overtime. Lake State was the No. 4
seed at the time--just like Wisconsin
this year - and went on to win the
National Championship.
Many people felt that the Wolver-
ines and the Lakers were the two best
teams in the tournament. Michigan
goalie Steve Shields went so far as to
call it the "national championship."
Regardless of how good last year's
game was, the bottom line was that
Michigan was a top seed but had to
play the best team in the tournament
in its first contest.
This year, the Badgers won the
WCHA Tournament, but that's not
why they are playing at home.
They are playing at home because
the selection committee "has an obli-
gation to do whatever they can to
enhance the draw," said Rick Comley*
chair of the committee.
And putting Wisconsin on its home
ice will definitely "enhance the draw."
The Wolverines deserve their top
seed, and they certainly shouldn't be

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