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October 02, 1996 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-10-02

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 2, 1996

'Cats are wearing the unthinkable

e unthinkable is about to take
Tplace. The Michigan Wolverines,
owners of 37 conference and nine
national champi- _
onships, will trav-
el to Evanston
this weekend to
play the
Wildcats, owners
of seven confer-f
ence and zero NICHOLAS J.
national champi-
onships.This is a COTSONIKA
big game. The Greek
This is Speaks
unthinkable. That
any grown man, who is supposedly
intelligent enough to attend a top-l10
university, would willingly choose to
face a fierce, tradition-laden team like
Michigan is one thing. That he would
do it while wearing skin-tight clothing
the color of lilacs is a travesty.
That such a man would choose to
\ p
Menihership i Pr miWot in*
ttrda%. ( )cto hCl- 5,

push and tackle in a stadium while
wearing purple pants - in front of his
family, thousands of fans and a national
television audience - is even more dis-
turbing.Purple pants. Unthinkable.
Forget the standings. Forget the
national title race. This is about pride.
Why do you think Northwestern was
so bad so long? Pasadena doesn't want
purple pants, and that's California.
Throughout history, Big Ten teams
have been taking long looks at the
Wildcats before games, and at the sight
of purple on a football field, their
testosterone levels have been going out
of control. Grunts and groans have been
emitted. Chest-thumping has increased
in ferocity. And teams have been grind-
ing up these lilac-colored, flowery
wimps into potpourri. But then, like,
this laid-back guy named Gary Barnett
comes along. He made the pants
brighter. Of course, he put in some
black to try to be manly, but it didn't
"Hey, black and purple are the same
colors as a bruise," Barnett said.
Yup. And they're the same colors as
pansies in the dark. But this dude
Barnett is a genius. He figured out that
all of these teams were laughing so hard
at his team, that he bribed this guy
named Darnell Autry to forget his
appearance and run by defenders while
they held their sides. It worked. The
unthinkable happened last year. Notre
Dame, the storied Catholic school,was
forced by God to have mercy on the
weak and play Northwestern again.

While the Irish chuckled, Barnett used
his flower power to win the game.
Michigan had beaten Northwestern
so many times that when the Wildcats
came into the Big House, it was sup-
posed to be a day off. While the
Wolverines smelled the flowers,
Northwestern - Northwestern! -
When Penn State showed up to play
Barnett's team, the Nittany Lions'
coach, Elmer Fudd, also known as Joe
Paterno, was so confident, he took the
day off and went hunting for wabbits.
While he was gone, Northwestern -
Northwestern! - won.
"We said we were going to bring the
Purple to Pasadena, and we did,"
Barnett said after his team made it to
the Rose Bowl.
Purple pants. Rose Bowl. Red faces.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr keeps
saying every Big Ten game is big. But
no Northwestern-Michigan game has
been as big as Saturday's will be - at
least since the Great Depression. And
why do you think it was called the
Great Depression? It's wasn't econom-
ics. It was pride. The Wildcats probably
wore purple pants when they beat
Michigan then, too. And that's depress-
ing. Saturday's game will be important
in the Run for the Roses. But if the
Wolverines win and then lose the rest of
their games - fine. They won't have
the Rose Bowl, but they will have their
pride. Last year was bad enough. But
two losses to the purple people pansies?
Ugh. Unthinkable.

The Wildcats and their purple pants tackled Michigan and Mercury Hayes last year in Ann Arbor, 19-13. The Northwestern vic-
tory marked the Wolverines' first loss of the year, and the Wildcats used it as a jump-start to the Rose Bowl while Michigan
faded to a 9-4 finish. The Wolverines are looking for revenge this weekend in Evanston. The Wildcats have won three in a row
after being shocked in their opener by Wake Forest.


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By Afsin Mohamadi
For the Daily
For a team to succeed without three of its most
talented returning athletes is a challenge. For two
redshirt freshmen and a true freshman to lead that
same team to early-season victories is impressive.
But that, in a nutshell, is what has happened to
the Michigan women's cross country team so far
this season.
The Wolverines are missing sophomores Eileen
Fleck and All-American Michelle Slater, who are
nursing injuries, and sophomore Pauline Arnill,
who is resting until later in the season. However,
competing short-handed has not affected the
Michigan has won all of its invitational meets
thus far, albeit against some of the weakest com-i
petition it will face this season. Included in the
squad's early season success is a win last Saturday
at the Miami (Ohio) Fall Classic.
It has been the youth of the team that has
stepped up to lead it to success. Redshirt freshmen

n filling injury
Marcy Akard and Allison Noe, and freshman
Elizabeth Kampfe have played major roles in the
Wolverines' excellent start.
Michigan head coach Mike McGuire said that
the absence of Arnill, Fleck and Slater allows the
younger athletes to focus more on competing."We
are fortunate that we are in a situation in which
our younger runners can step right in," McGuire
Michigan senior captain Jen Barber said she
also sees promise in the squad's youth.
"They know themselves well enough and are
very comfortable," she said. "They are more
excited (than veterans). It's almost better (than
being an experienced runner)."
For the team's new runners, being tossed into
important roles on one of the nation's best cross
country teams is a thrilling experience. Not only
are many Wolverines competing intercollegiately
for the first time, but they are playing key roles in
fulfilling the team's high preseason expectations.
"It's definitely a great feeling," Kampfe said.

gaps for women harriers

The young runners are backed up by a group of
veterans, led by Barber, that lend support in times
of doubt.
Kampfe said that the experienced runners take
good care of the newcomers.
"They make sure we know about the races and
the courses they are on," she said. "We follow
what they do in terms of race a plan."
Barber has found that she has not needed to
advise this group of athletes much.
"A lot of freshmen have come in well prepared,"
she said. "Most of their questions are about
school-related topics."
McGuire said that his captain is solidly leading
the young Wolverines, following the example of
her predecessors.
"For the last few years, I've had good captains,"
McGuire said. "(Barber) has done a pretty good
job. I think she lends good insights."
While Michigan is relying on true and redshirt
freshmen at the moment, its absent stars are due to
resume competition before long.

According to McGuire, Arnill will return for
the toughest part of the team's schedule. Slater has
already begun to run after a foot injury and should
return to the squad in mid-to-late October. Fleck,
also suffering from a foot injury, should run
before the season's end.
When the three experienced runners do return,
the Wolverines will have up to seven runners wl
can win races.
"We have a lot of depth," Barber said.
Indeed, depth can make Michigan even more of
a national power, and McGuire has grown accus-
tomed to the depth he sees in this year's squad.
"This (depth) is something we have had for four
of the past five years," he said. "(The Wolverines)
go back and forth. There is no pecking order with
our athletes. We have three or four runners that
could (win) on a given day. It's a nice luxury."
While the team waits for its recuperating stars
to return and its depth to expand, it is up to
Michigan's youth to keep the Wolverines on pace
for a successful season.


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