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March 12, 1996 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-12

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 12, 1996

Abe crucial link to Penn State's success

By Will McCahill
Daily Sports Writer
EAST LANSING-Saturday, he was
the only Big Ten wrestler with his own
camera crew.
Sunday, he was the only Big Ten cham-
pion with his own camera crew.
Meet Sanshiro Abe of Penn State, the
best 126-pound wrestler in the confer-

The fifth-year senior has been the driv-
ing force behindthe team's 1995-96 cam-
paign, which thus farhas brought aNo. 11
national ranking and a second-place fin-
ish in last weekend's Big Ten tournament
to the Nittany Lions.
A three-man crew from the Tokyo
Broadcasting System followed Abe from
StateCollegeintothebowels ofthe Breslin
Center as he got down tothenitty-gritty of

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winning a Big Ten crown.
Abe missed six of the Nittany Lions'
final nine meets while wrestling at tour-
naments overseas. The three events, held
in Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria in Febru-
ary, helped Abe train for two events: the
Big Ten championships and, more im-
portantly, this spring's Asian Games,
which determine spots on the Japanese
Olympic squad.
Abe has already earned his spot on the
Japanese national squad and needs only
to finish in the top four at the Asian
Games to book his ticket to Atlanta.
Despite his relatively diminutive stat-
ure - he's 5-foot-5 - he has made a
huge impact on his team's results during
the regular season. While the Lions went
8-2-1 in meets in which Abe competed,
they went 3-6 in his absence.
Although wrestling is not a popular
spectator sport in Japan,the Tokyo Broad-
casting System deemed Abe's quest for a
Big Ten title worthy of televising.
Abe, evidently oblivious to the glare
of the lights and unbiased stare of the
lens, ripped the competition to shreds.
He powered through his first opponent,
Ohio State sophomore Mike Glane, pin-
ning him just 1:30 into the first round.
Abe's next opponent fared a little bet-

ter against the Lions' pride, as Michigan
State senior Brian Bolton was rendered a
loser after being pinned 6:36 into the
This win clinched a berth in the finals
for Abe - a highly anticipated show-
down with Iowa's Jeff McGinness, with
whom Abe has often flip-flopped at the
top of the national rankings.
But alas, it was not to be for Abe, as
McGinness pulled up lame before the
final bout and had to forfeit.
Although he was disappointed at hav-
ing been denied a showdown with the
Iowa wrestler, Abe has his sights set on
the ultimate goal - the final show-
down at the NCAA championships at
Minneapolis' Target Center March 21-
"I was kind of looking forward to see-
ing him in (the Big Ten tournament),"
Abe said Sunday after being awarded the
conference title. "But I'd rather win the
Afterlosing to McGinness in last year's
Big Ten final, Abe had hoped to avenge
his defeat on center stage at Breslin. But
now, maybe, he'll get another chance -
and on a bigger stage.
"We'll find out at the nationals... hope-

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M' tumblers
struggle in
New Mexico
By Sharat Raju
Daily Sports Writer
What a tough week.
This sentiment could not be more ap-
plicable to the Michigan men's gym-
nastics team's recent trip West.
After taking fourth in the four-team
field at Brigham Young on March 7, the
Wolverines met the same fate at New
Mexico on March 9 -they finished last
out of six schools.
"There are two different leagues now,
the top five or top 10 teams in the natic
that we are competing with," Michigan
coach Bob Darden said. "We'renot com-
peting at that level."
The host Lobos won the meet with
227.9 points, followed by Penn State
(225.575), Michigan State (222.65), Ari-
zona State (214.225), Air Force (212.3)
and Michigan.
The Wolverines showed a slight im-
provement from their last competition.
At New Mexico, the team scored 209.
points compared to its 207.5 showing
"We're still tryingto work consistency
into our competitions," Darden said.
"We're trying to show how hard we're
training by bringing it to the floor."
"Consistency" is the key word.
"Although we improved (from March
7), we didn't hit sets," Michigan senior
-Chris Onuska said. "We hadthe same old
Onuska, however, has been one C
the Wolverines' most reliablegymnasts.
He finished ninth in the all-around with
a score of 53.2 and recorded a 9.45 on
the pommel horse.
Junior Flavio Martins and senior Kris
Klinger also contributed. Martins re-
ceived a 9.35 on the rings, and Klinger
led the squad in the high bar with a 9.2.
Some pleasant surprises came from
freshman Randy D'Amura and sopho-
more Tim Lauring. D'Amura led th*
team in both meets in the floor exercise
with scores of 9.2 and 9.4. Lauring had
a career-best vault performance, scor-
ing a 9.35.
However, Michigan was outdone by
individuals from the otherfive schools.
Blaz Puljic of New Mexico won the all-
around with 56.85, highlighted by a 9.8
on the pommel horse and a 9.7 on the
high bar. Teammate Kendall Schiessi
finished first on the horse with 9.9.
Penn State's Steve McSparren won
the floor exercise with 9.85. Michigan
State's Joe Duda (55.65) and Ethan
Sterk (55.6)capturedthethird andfourth
spots, respectively, in the all-around.
This season has proved to be a rebuild-
ing year, Darden has said. The Wolver-
ines hope improve now and in the future.
"Our goal is to send a clear message
(to our recruits): We have been and will
be, in the near future, contenders at a+
national level," Darden said.
Continued from Page 9
ter and more confident, and it's really fun
to see."
Penders is a solid coach, but he is an
even better magician. Back in November,
Penders appeared to have assembled his
team, waved his magic wand, and shouted:
The results ..
Freshman Chico Vazquez went from a
high school forward to the Longhorns'
starting pointguard. Freshman Kris Clark

was moved from high school small for-

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