The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 15, 1996 - 9A
Wrestlers to face conference's best
By Will McCahill
Daily Sports Writer
'Tis a weekend to try a team's mettle.
The Michigan wrestling team heads into the
next-to-last weekend of regular-season compe-
tition facing two highly ranked opponents.
The No. 15 Wolverines (3-2-1 Big Ten, 8-5-
1 overall) welcome the 1lth-ranked Wisconsin
Badgers (3-2, 10-2) to Cliff Keen Arena tomor-
row night before traveling to Minneapolis to
face the No. 7 Golden Gophers (9-6-1, 1-3).
The weekend promises to put Michigan's
stamina and preparation to the test, not to men-
tion its heart. The Wolverines are on atwo-meet
win streak and have won three of their last five.
The marquee matchup in both meets will
certainly be the final contest - the heavy-
Wolverine sophomore Airron Richardson
heads into the meets ranked seventh in the
nation and tied for third in the Big Ten. The two
men in his way this weekend, however, just
happen to bethe same two who are ranked ahead
of him in the conference.
Badger senior Jeff Walter, No. 4 in the nation
and second in the league, is first on Richardson's
docket. This season, dual-meet outcomes have
often hinged on the heavyweight bout, and
Michigan coach Dale Bahr does not anticipate
this one being otherwise.
"We may have to beat Walter (to win the
meet)," Bahr said, "so it might come down to
Airron's match again."
In Minnesota's Billy Pierce, Richardson will
face his toughest challenge this season. Pierce is
the top-ranked heavyweight in the country and is
undefeated in conference this year.
Walter and Pierce are just two of a total of
seven top-10 opponents the Wolverines will
face. Wisconsin brings No. 4 Eric Jetton at 126
pounds, No. 6 Kevin Wilmot at 167 pounds and
No. 7 Aaron Stark at 190 pounds, in addition to
Walter. For its part, Minnesota's lineup features
seventh-ranked Jason Davids at 142 pounds and
eighth-ranked Gerald Carr at 167, plus Pierce.
As usual, Michigan's lower weight classes are
a question mark, with the first few matches being
critical ifthe Wolverines aren't to be in a position
where they are forced to win - and win big -
in the second half of the meets.
Bahr is hoping Wolverine freshman Chris
Viola, at 118 pounds, will be able to build on his
strong showing Sunday against Ohio State, cit-
ing Viola's weight class as one of a handful that
Michigan must put into the win column against
The sophomore tandem of Bill Lacure at 150
pounds and Jeff Catrabone at 158 pounds must
perform at its usual high level in both meets, Bahr
said. Catrabone is a perfect 14-0 in dual meets this
season, and both he and Lacure are in the top 10
in their respective weight classes. Catrabone is
ranked fifth and Lacure ninth.
Wolverine senior Jesse Rawls Jr., ranked fourth,
is also being looked to- for a 'W' in both meets.
"Jesse, our captain, has to come through for
us," Bahr said.
Bahr also discounted any ill effects travel
might have on the team, as far as the outcome of
The coach said the miracle of flight will allow
the team to arrive in the Twin Cities a day before
the match, leaving time to recover from Friday's
match and prepare for Sunday's.
"I know (traveling) is more relaxing than prac-
ticing," he said. "We've been going through
some pretty intense practices."
Bahr said some of the Wolverines have even
commented that they were looking forward to
their matches, figuring they would have an easier
time hitting the mats in competition than running,
lifting and wrestling in their facilities in the
bowels of Crisler Arena.
"We only go for seven minutes in matches, but
you go two hours in practice, you're running,
you're lifting and everything else. So you look
forward to competition."
Brandon Howe and the wrestling team will be tested this weekend by the Big Ten's best as they
welcome Wisconsin to Cliff Keen Arena and then travel to Minnesota.
Women's track will use Eastern Michigan meet to prepare for upcoming Big Tens
By Jeremy Horelick
For the Daily
The last time the Michigan women's
track and field team traveled to Eastern
Michigan University, it ran off with
173 points, a first-place finish and nu-
merous record-breaking performances.
This week, the team returns to Ypsilanti
with a different focus.
With the Big Ten Championships
y a week away, the Wolverines seem
lesseager to dominate, and more inter-
ested in preparing for the conference
Consequently, several of the squad's
top athletes have been scratched from
this week's roster, having already
reached their desired performance level.
Many of these athletes', including se-
niorAll-Americans Monika Black and
*urtney Babcock and sophomores
Tania Longe and Michelle Slater, have
already qualified provisionally for the
indoor nationals next month.
For these athletes, the goal is to rest
and prepare mentally for the Big Ten
meet around the corner.
"The proven athletes have earned the
privilege ofresting,"coach James Henry
said. "But there are still things we need
Sne group that must step up at this
et is the throwers, namely senior
Jayna Greiner and freshmen Nicole
Keith and Stephanie Wigness.
"All three have the potential and abil-
ity to qualify for nationals," Henry said.
"I think this is the perfect type of meet
for them to accomplish this."
'But qualifying will be difficult with
so many teams on hand. In addition to
collegiate runners, the meet will in-
clude numerous track clubs and unat-
tached athletes running without any af-
filiation. All told, more than 30 squads
will be packed into Eastern's track and
Still, Henry insists, the atmosphere
will be laid back and relaxed, at least for
But not every outstanding runner can
afford to approach this weekend's meet
For senior sprinter Tearza Johnson,
this weekend means the chance to re-
establish her Big Ten dominance in the
200-meter. Johnson, who has spent most
of this season nursing a hamstring injury,
left the rest of the conference in her wake
last year en route to a Big Ten indoor title,
with a blistering time of 24.14 seconds.
"She's out to improve on her perfor-
mance and get her confidence up,"
Henry said. "We will definitely need
her contribution in the sprints so that we
don't get shut out by Illinois."
Johnson's attitude was slightly less
"I just hope to run a good race," she
Other runners seeking to peak before
conference competition include fresh-
man miler Katie McGregor and sopho-
more Pauline Arnill. McGregor, who
recently qualified for the U.S. Junior
National Cross Country Team, will have
to return to previous form after running
the 4,000 in Cincinnati last weekend.
Arnill, on the other hand, is looking to
follow up her impressive 9:42.22 time
in the 3,000 last week in Champaign.
Both runners will be joined in the
mile run by seniors Katy Hollbacher,
Jen Barber and Jackie Concaugh, as
well as junior Mara Guillemette.
Although the 600 is mysteriously
absent from this week's time schedule,
the event will be run at the conference
championships. In preparation, fresh-
man Angie Stanifer will run the 800.
While NCAA provisional qualifier
Black will skip out on the high jump
this week, freshman Nicole Forrester
and senior Beth Gould will look to
improve their performances in prepara-
tion for the Big Tens.
Not all events will center on indi-
vidual athletes, however. The mile re-
lay team of Sheryl Omar, Brandy Tay-
lor, Lamika Harper and Johnson hopes
to improve the Wolverine's best time of
3:48, with each runner shouldering 400
of the 1,600 meters.
But each team member, from the dis-
tance crew to the sprinters and jumpers,
will need to carry her load if Michigan
plans on grabbing the Big Ten crown.
If the team performs as well as it did
on its last trip to Eastern, the Wolver-
ines will be well poised to bring that
crown to Ann Arbor.
Top men rest while 200, 400 runners try to
By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
This weekend the Wolverines will take
on the field at the Eastern Michigan Uni-
versity Classic - at least some of them
With the Classic coming a week before
the Big Ten Championships, Michigan
men's track coach Jack Harvey isn't tak-
ing any chances. He plans to sit out most
of his top runners, in an effort to get them
some rest for next weekend's league meet.
"We ran hard last weekend (at the
Central Collegiate Championships) and
are resting them up," Harvey said.
Harvey is also taking advantage of the
Classic this week and utilizing it as a part
ofthe team's training. The training sched-
ule will run through this weekend, as if
the meet was a day of work.
"We're trying to do what we can (this
week) because we won't get much train-
ing done next week (with the Big Ten
meet coming up)."
As an invitational meet, no team scores
will be kept, so individual times are the
focus for the Wolverines. Michigan is
looking to build in the events where the
runners have a chance at receiving points
at the Big Ten meet. Andy Schoelch in the
200-meter, and the 400-meter runners
headed by Edzra Gibson and Dwayne
Fuqua, will compete because they are
close to qualifying.
"(Schoelch) will be on the bubble as to
whether he'll score in the Big Ten,"
Harvey said. "All of our quarter-milers
will run because they're on the bubble as
to whetherwe'll take them (to the Big Ten
meet) or not."
This weekend's meet, which will be
run in Ypsilanti, benefits the Wolverines
in a number of ways.
"It helps not having to travel," Harvey
said. "(Also), having decent competition
and a good fieldhouse should be good for
the guys who are running (at EMU)."
In terms of injuries, the team is gener-
ally healthy, with the exception of All-
American Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan has a
slight Achilles tendon problem but should
be able to compete at the Big Ten meet.
improve at EMU
Jon Royce will continue his attempt to
break the 7-foot-4 barrier to receive an
automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA
"Wetry to have ameet the week before
the conference where we don't have to
score it," Harvey said.
That philosophy, along with the lack of
pressure associated with the Classic,
should allow some Wolverines to break
through with impressive performances.
Last weekend's victory at the Central
Collegiate meet should carry over and
benefit Michigan this weekend.
"It was a good team effort and luck was
on our side, but it's a little deceiving
because it's not what we're going to face
at the Big Ten," Harvey said. "However,
the meet gave us a good indication as to
where we were."
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