10-- The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 12, 1996
Wolverines hoping to
beach California schools
By Chris Murphy
Daily Sports Writer
Away from the winter disasters many
have been facing, the Michigan
women's swimming team has been
spending its time in the tropics.
Recently, the Wolverines have been
using a tour of tropical vacation spots to
During the break, Michigan trained
in Hawaii and, later, competed in the
Before Michigan returns home, how-
ever, the team has two meets in Califor-
nia. Events at Southern Cal and Califor-
nia-San Diego should give the Wolver-
ines a few more days in the sunshine.
Saturday, Michigan faces the Trojans
for the third time this season. Ranked
eighth in the most recent poll, Southern
Cal represents yet another nationally
ranked opponent for the Wolverines.
Richardson has scheduled multiple
meetings with teams like the Trojans,
Stanford and Texas, in hopes that it will
help in the Wolverines' training process.
Given Michigan's recent success, it
seems the plan has been working.
"Our training has gotten progressively
better," Michigan coach Jim Richardson
said. "We're looking a lot like the team
we were last year."
Southern Cal boasts some of the top
swimmers in the country. The Trojans
are led by sophomore Jean Todisco and
junior transfer Alison Bock.
With the postseason still about a
month and a half away, the Wolverines
are still concerned more about their
training than winning.
"I'm not concerned about these meets,"
Richardson said. "I'm just concerned
about our attitude towards racing."
It seems that the sun has some posi-
This weekend's meets
Who: Michigan vs. Southern Cal and
When: Saturday and Sunday
What: Michigan will be closing out a
three-week, three-meet stretch out
on the West Coast.
tive effect on the Wolverines. Michi-
gan ran away with the Rainbow title for
the second straight year.
Paced by several swimmers, the Wol-
verines finished with 157 points.
Michigan's performance was more than
enough to win the meet. The nearest
competitor, Colorado State, tallied 110
ponts-47below the Wolverines' mark.
Junior Melisa Stone led Michigan
with a first-place finish in the 50-meter
freestyle and a third-place in the 100
butterfly. Sophomore Kim Johnson fin-
ished first in the 100 butterfly.
The long flight to Hawaii left the Wol-
verines with few extra days of training.
"I was a little concerned about per-
forming with only four days of training
out here," Richardson said. "But for us,
we swam really well."
Mgmts to vault to
season by hosting meet
By Nancy Berger
Daily Sports Writer
In the world of sports, athletes and
sports teams are measured by how
good they were in their last game or
performance. The Michigan women's
gymnastics team's last performance
was not only good - it was great.
Pollsters were so impressed with
the Wolverines' second-place perfor-
mance at the 1995 NCAA Champion-
ships, they ranked them third in a
When Michigan opens its season
by hosting the Blue/Gold Invitational
this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Cliff Keen
Arena, the Wolverines will have to
prove they deserve their ranking de-
spite their younger and less experi-
Michigan had to replace five se-
niors, who helped win four consecu-
tive Big Ten titles. Despite the per-
sonnel losses, coach Bev Plocki
doesn't look at this season as are-
"I personally think we are not re-
building; we just reloaded," Plocki
On Saturday, No. 16 West Virginia
and Pittsburgh will be staring down
the barrel of Plocki's reloaded gun.
"For the first meet, we are prepared
as we can be," Plocki said. "Last year
we scored 189.4 points in our first
meet. (This year) we want to try to
score above 190."
Even though some experience is
gone, depth and talent still remains.
Michigan will look for leadership
from senior co-captains Wendy
Marshall and Diana Ranelli. Marshall,
a 1995 All-American, and Ranelli
should be valuable contributors on
both the vault and floor exercise.
Plocki isn't sure on who will lead
Michigan in the all-around but noted
that both Ranelli and junior Andrea
McDonald should be two of the fa-
Based on the Wolverines'
intrasquad meet, Plocki sees the cen-
ter of Michigan's youth movement in
freshmen Nikki Peters, Lisa Simes
and Beth Amelkovich.
Peters, who many feel has the po-
tential to become one of the big names
in Michigan gymnastics, tied Marshall
for the, all-around title with 38.70
points and captured the vault with
Simes also had an impressive per-
formance at the intrasquad. She plac4
fourth behind sophomore All-Ameri-
can Heather Kabnick.
Freshman Kathy Burke will be com-
peting as an exhibition performer this
Junior Autumn Donati and sopho-
more Lauren La Branche are side-
lined with injuries. Donati has two
broken toes while La Branche, who
was plagued with injuries and illness
all last season, is nursing a sore low
To prepare her young team for the
competitive setting of a collegiate
meet, Plocki had simulated pressure
situations in practice. In what is called
a pressure beam, teammates stop prac-
ticing and watch others perform on a
The daptains also coached the fresh-
men as they showed videos of meets
last season and explained how impo
tant it is to remember that gymnastics
is a spectator sport.
Continued from Page 9
"We have toplay every night from here
on out," Berenson said. "You're only as
good as your last game, so right now
we're pretty good, and we ought to beat
these teams. A lot of things are coming
together right about now."
Bruising forward Warren Luhning
will serve the second half of a two-
game suspension Friday for fighting,
but, after that, Michigan will have its
full arsenal at its disposal for the first
time in months.
The only notable injury is to backup
goalie Gregg Malicke, who went down
with a knee injury in practice last week.
While Malicke's status will probably
have little effect on Michigan's chances
this weekend, don't be surprised to see
Berenson carrying starting netminder
Marty Turco to class just to make sure
he doesn't join Malicke on the injured
list. Otherwise, Berenson will be forced
to start 5-foot-6, 140-pound, first-year
walk-on Greg Daddario between the
Continued from Page 9
predecessor at tailback, Tyrone
Wheatley, came back for his senior
year when all signs pointed to him
jumping to the NFL.
Wheatley opened the season as one
of the top candidates for the Heisman
Trophy but all of that went south when
he missed the first two games of the
season. Ironically, that opened the door
for Biakabutuka to come out and spark
the Wolverines with a 100-yard
performance to help beat Notre Dame.
Wheatley went on to be selected
17th by the New York Giants, a good
10 spots lower in the draft than he
had been projected had he come out
the previous year. He proceeded to
get hurt on the first day of training
camp and spent a year riding the
bench in the Big Apple.
The thought had to be on
Biakabutuka's mind that something
could happen, a shoulder, foot or knee
injury, that could knock him out of the
game before he could do what he really
wanted to do - help his family.
During the semester break
freshman center Robert Traylor
missed two games because of a left
knee sprain. That allowed Traylor to
show off show of some of his lavish
outfits while sitting on the bench.
Traylor's mustard-colored outfit for
the Cleveland State game reminded
teammate Travis Conlan of one of his
favorite characters from the Clue
"He looked like Col. Mustard out
there," Conlan said. "He looked like
he did it in the conservatory with the
Watching the Aggie fans down in
San Antonio was really an education
on how to get behind a team.
The night before games Texas
A&M fans gather for what is known
as the Midnight Yell. On the eve of
the Alamo Bowl, thousands of
Texas A&M fans gathered in front
of the San Antonio Convention
Center for their traditional late night
Yell leaders, dressed in white jump
suits, led the crowd with orchestrated
hand signals that tell which cheer is
This spirit carried over to the game
where Aggie fans drowned out the
small scattering of Michigan fans with
their cheers inside the Alamodome.
I'm sure Michigan fans could wow
them with a rendition of "GO .........
BLUE .......... GO ........ BLUE."
Does anyone else think that the
Victors is played entirely too much at
Michigan sporting events? The song
really needs to be saved for special
It seems that people really get sick
of hearing it over and over again
instead of really enjoying the Victors
for what it is.
To hear it practically every minute
takes some luster away from the song
that John Philip Sousa called the
greatest fight song ever written.
Sousa obviously didn't have to
listen to it time after time at Michigan
Detroit Lions owner William.
Clay Ford has already clinched the
bonehead move of the year award.
Ford, who played tennis at Michigan-
and whose name will appear on the
University's new tennis facility, did
the unthinkable in keeping Wayne
Fontes as his coach.
Ford's decision tells everyone that
you can do bad job year after year and
still somehow have a job with him.
- Antoine Pitts can be reach over e-
mail at firstname.lastname@example.org