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February 12, 1996 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-12

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2B - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, February 12, 1996

'M' track gears up for Big

Tens in weekend meets

Men's track grabs first
place at Central Coliegiates

Women's track cruises
toward Championships.

By Avi Ebenstein
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's track team's
season is up and running and well on
its way to the Big Ten Champion-
ships.
The Wolverines took a step closer
this weekend in the Central Collegiate
Championships. Michigan finished first
in the 12-team field with a score of 136.
Eastern Michigan finished second with
121.5 points and Western Michigan fin-
ished third with 97.

"I think that there were strong perfor-
mances all around," Mortimer said.
"Scott MacDonald had a real break-
through."
MacDonald, a senior, missed much
of the earlier portion of the season
due to a stress fracture in his leg.
"We ran him on two relays and he
really helped us," Harvey said.
"Maybe he is almost ready for indi-
vidual competition."
Michigan is now ready to look to

The Wolverines
won the meet with
seyeral first-place
finishes. Junior
Kevin Sullivan
won the mile with
a time of 4:03.12,
senior Trinity
Townsend cap-
tured the 800 meter
with a time of
1:51.37 and John
Royce won the high
jump at a height of
6-feet-Il 1/2.
"The thing is,
most of our points
are from first

We have a few
guys who ... can
score a lot of
points. That is
what wins
championships"
- John Mortimer
Michigan track runner

the Big Ten tour-
nament in two
weeks. Sullivan
emphasized its im-
portance.
"For a lot of
guys, that is the
biggest meet of the
season. We're in
shape to do well,
but we aren't go-
ingtojust steal this
meet from anyone
else," Sullivan
said. "Illinois and
Wisconsin will be
tough, and Ohio
State will have
home advantage."

By Jeremy Horelick
For the Daily
After its weekend meet at Illinois, the
Michigan women's track and field team
can almost taste Big Ten champagne.
The Wolverines welcomed the non-
scoring event as an opportunity to gear up
physically and emotionally for the Big
Ten Championships two weeks from now.
Michigan coach James Henry viewed.
the meet as a dress rehearsal for his squad.
He hoped to qualify as many athletes for
the NCAA indoor nationals as possible.
With the scoreboard off and the pressure
slightly relaxed, four athletes met the
provisional standards necessary to com-
pete in the NCAAs in March.
Senior All-American Courtney
Babcock was one offiverunnerstoqualify
in the 5,000-meter, cruising to a 16:24.82
first-place finish.
Sophomore pentathlete Tania Longe,
who two weeks ago at The Michigan
Intercollegiates qualifiedprovisionally in
the 55 hurdles, set a career-best in the
triple-jump at41-feet-11/2 Saturday. With
that effort, Longe shattered the school
record she set two weeks ago in Ypsilanti
by more than a foot, earning another spot
at the NCAAs next month.
"The end result was good, but during
the meet I felt bad," Longe said. "I felt
fatigued, and because of that I lost confi-
dence in myself."
Several athletes, including Longe, have
been battling the flu recently. With the
Big Ten Championships approaching, the
team's health has become aprimary con-
cern for Henry.
Judging from Michigan's performance
this weekend, nobody would guess that
the flu bug has slowed the team at all.
Sophomore Pauline Amill's career-best
time of 9:42.22 in the 3,000 was good
enough for second place and a spot at the
nationals. That mark was three seconds
better than that of teammate Michelle

Slater (9:45.33), who finished third in the
event and also qualified for the NCAAs.
In addition to Babcock, Longe, Arnill
and Slater, freshman Angie Staniferturned
in an impressive performance. With her
career-best time of 1:33.46 in the 600,
Stanifer notched first place and set a Big
Ten season record. When the conference
championships roll around, Stanifern
well be the top seed in the 600, an evet
excluded from national competition.
"Angie has been improving all year
long," Henry said. "(Her performance)
was a pleasant and welcome surprise."
Despite the numerous individual per-
formances this weekend, it may have
been the overall team effort that gener-
ated the most excitement. Michigan's
distance medley crew ofBabcock, Slater,
junior Lamika Harper and freshman0
rah Hamilton combined for an 11:31.10
third-place finish, good enough to meet
provisional standards.
This event, more than any other, helped
bring the squad together. Team spirit is
often overlooked in a sport that glorifies
personal achievement. If the Wolverin'es
harbor any hopes of a Big Ten crown,
maintaining this camaraderie will be in-
strumental.
"This whole weekend was good te -
bonding," Slater said. "This gives ,u
good preview (for the Big Tens)."
"This meet was a higher level of com-
petition," Longe agreed. "We needed that
before the Big Ten (Championships)."
Henry's enthusiasm is more teni-
pered. He believes that the team mpust
continue their goal of stepping up each
meet. A non-scoring meet such as this is
designed for experimentation; it is used
to see what works and what needs
provement.
"At a dress rehearsal, the paying cus-
tomers aren't there," Henry said. "I wanted
people to get on stage and practice their
parts."

places," said Michigan coach Jack
Harvey. "We need those to win the
Big Ten."
Freshman John Mortimer agreed
with his coach.
"We have a.few guys who are very
talented and can score a lot of points,"
Mortimer said. "That is what wins
championships."
Michigan also posted some impres-
sive relay times. The Wolverines won
the distance medley (1:55.81) and the
4 x 400 mile relay (3:15.47).
"A lot of guys performed well,"
Sullivan said. "I was fairly pleased."
Mortimer also felt the Wolverines
put forth a strong team performance.

Harvey does not want to downplay
the importance of regular season per-
formances.
"We play at (Eastern Michigan) on
Friday, but that is just training for the
Big Ten meets," Harvey said. "Wis-
consin looks like the team to beat at
the meet. But we need better perfor-
mances to get to the NCAAs.
"We have two weeks to make any
final adjustments before the meet. We
will be pretty ready."
He added that Michigan's success
rises and falls with its brightest stars.
"Townsend, Royce, Sullivan and
Neal Gardner have to show up and
play well."

TONTA BUAD/DalJy
Tearza Johnson and her Wolverine teammates prepared for the Big Tens In a meet
last weekend in Illinois.

SBlue grapplers overcome Ohio
4, State with Richardson's win, 19-15.

By Jennifer Hodulik
Daily Sports Writer
Life in the world of Big Ten wres-
tling is like a box of chocolates.
In a conference in which every team
is ranked in the top 25, you never
know what you're going to get.
At least that was the case for Ohio
State last weekend.
After winning their most important
match of the year - an upset over No.
6 Penn State Saturday - the No. 18
Buckeyes (12-7-1 overall) fell to No.
15 Michigan (8-5-1 overall), 19-15,
yesterday at Cliff Keen Arena.
The Wolverines prevailed in a meet
that featured showdowns between some
of the Big Ten's marquee wrestlers.
In one of the key match-ups, Michi-
gan sophomore Jeff Catrabone (158
pounds) outlasted No. 3 Eric Smith of
Ohio State, 4-3.
The fifth-ranked Catrabone (34-4)
pinned top-ranked and defending na-
tional champion Ernest Benion of Il-
linois earlier this season. After these
important victories, it is likely that
Catrabone will move up in the
rankings.
"I should be moving up into the top
three positions," Catrabone said. "I'm
working my way up. I beat the de-

fending champion, Benion, and now I
beat No. 3 (Smith)."
The event was highlighted by a near
sweep of the Buckeyes by Michigan's
sophomore starters. Ohio natives Bill
Lacure and Airron Richardson also
turned in strong performances for the
Wolverines.
Another test of ranked competitors
pitted newly ninth-ranked sophomore
Lacure (150) against No. 6 Charlie
Becks. Lacure improved his record to
24-7 with a 7-4 decision.
In the heavy weight class, fellow No.
7 Wolverine sophomore Richardson
won in convincing fashion, 9-3, over
No. 12 Nick Nutter. Richardson is now
13-1 in conference matches and holds a
32-6 overall record.
Michigan jumped out to an early
lead behind an impressive perfor-
mance from freshman Chris Viola
(118), who knocked off Ohio State's
Shawn Conyers, 8-5.
After sophomore Brandon Howe
(126) defeated Mike Glane, the Wol-
verines posted a 6-0 lead.
But Michigan freshmen Corey
Grant and Jeff Reese dropped the next
two matches at 134 and 142, respec-
tively, evening the score, 6-6.
Lacure and Catrabone followed

with victories. But after the Bgck-
eyes' Will Knight (167) pinned sopho-
more Josh Young, the meet was knot-
ted up again, this time at 12-12.
Michigan senior captain J.esse
Rawls Jr., No. 4 at 177, then pushed
the lead-to 16-12 after scoring a 14-3
major decision over Eric Odita.
After his victory, the Wolverit
did not relinquish the lead again...
However, the meet came down to
the last match. After Lanre Olibisi
fell to Anthony Gary at 190, Michi-
gan relied on Richardson's win over
Nutter to pull-out the victory.
Although Big Ten competition. is
tight, Catrabone likes the Wolverines'
chances heading into the conference
tournament in March.
"When you get to the champi.
ship events, it's all individual,"
Catrabone said. "If we can get three
or four champions and a couple plce
winners, we have a good chanc of
winning."
Viola also cited Michigan's grow-
ing momentum as the end of the sea-
son draws near.
"I think we're picking things up and
getting ready for one last push," Viola
said. "We had a lot more intensity to
meet than we've had in the past."
Michigan's upcoming schedule fea-
tures more ranked opponents in No.
11 Wisconsin, No. 7 Minnesota and
No. 12 Indiana.

KRISTEN SCHAEFER/Daily
The No. 15 Michigan wrestling team overcomes No. 18 Ohio State. 19-15. with a win in the heavvweight class. Airron

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