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November 20, 1996 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-20

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 20, 1996

In subpar season for Blue harriers, Barber misses NCAAs by a hair

By Afshin Mohamadi
Daily Sports Writer
When senior Jen Barber left the race
course in Champaign on Saturday, her five-
year career with the Michigan women's cross
country team and one-year stint as its captain
was over.
"I thought to myself, 'Well, there's always
indoor (track) season,'"
Barber said. "Then I real-
ized that I'm not going to
run indoor this year. It
was kind of sad."
In her last meet as a
Wolverine, Barber tried
her best to lead the young
Michigan team to the
NCAA championships,
but the squad fell short
Bar r with a fourth-place finish
in the NCAA District IV
qualifying meet.
Despite the disappointing conclusion to
the season, Barber is has few ill feelings
about her career.

"I'm over the emotional part now," she
said. "I'm coming away with a really good
In her five years at Michigan, Barber was
never the team's most talented runner. Even
this year - one dominated by freshman and
sophomores - Barber consistently finished
behind four or five of the younger runners in
Barber said that once she realized that, to
be a true leader, she did not need to be the
best runner on the team, she became a better
"I was intimidated by the role at first,"
Barber said. "I tried to run in the front during
practice. Soon, I realized that (being captain)
is not about being fast; it's about being a
"I realized I should have been leading from
the middle of the pack."
As she became more comfortable with the
role of captain, Barber found that her duties
did not only deal with the technical part of
cross country; they dealt with emotions, as

"Trying to encourage people (is impor-
tant)," Barber said. "You need to be there for
people. You need to try to set an example for
them, more in attitude (than in racing)."
That the Wolverines were not as strong this
year as in seasons past made Barber's job
even tougher. She had to try to pull together
a team in which many of the runners were
competing at the collegiate level for the first
However, the challenges she faced did not
deter Barber. In fact, she said that she gained
knowledge this year that she hadn't in her
first four seasons.
"This was such a learning year for every-
one," Barber said. "I learned when things
weren't going as well as they had in years
past that we are human, and we do have to
work hard."
Regardless of the team's finish, Barber
said that she has enjoyed this season, mostly
because of Wolverines' youth.
"We had a bunch of new faces this year,"
Barber said. "I enjoy new people. It's been a
lot of fun (because) everybody was really

While this is the first time in her career
that the Wolverines did not go the NCAAs,
Barber said that the bad, as well as the good,

is what has made her grow as a person.
"There have been a lot of ups and downs
(in my career)," Barber said.
"That has made me a stronger person."

Freshman Akard qualifies for NCAA championship

Maintaining the eight-year tradition of
NCAA championship appearances for the
entire Michigan women's cross country
team is a responsibility that will fall square-
ly on the shoulders of a single Wolverine.
it was determined Monday that Marcie
Akard's eighth-place finish at the District
Invitational Saturday in Champaign was
strong enough for her to qualify individual-
ly for the national meet in Tuscon, Ariz., on
Akard is only a redshirt freshman, but her
relative inexperience is offset by a talent
beyond her years.
She has been performing particularly well
.recently, garnering Freshman of the Year

Akard will have to compete against a field
of the nation's 184 best runners, but
Michigan coach Mike McGuire is confident
that she will respond to the challenge.
"If she continues to race (as she has
been), she'll have a strong performance,"
McGuire said.
Akard will continue to practice this weck
with some supportive teammates in order to
prepare, but McGuire said he isn't going to
pressure her about finishing at a particular
place in the competitive field.
"We haven't really figured out a number
yet," McGuire said. "Rather, our thinking is
'Let's just go in and compete the way we've
been doing and see what happens when
everything's said and done"'
Chris Farah

honors at the
weeks ago.

Big Ten championships three

,Ipr= 00

Continued from Page 10
Cooper said. "I'll tell you that."
Big players. Big plays.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr knows
it all too well.
"We've been very successful against
Ohio State because of big plays," Carr
said. "We just happened to have things
bounce our way, and we made things
Michigan always seems to have the
advantage in this one. The Wolverines'
national prominence always seems to
attract big players.
But this year, no team in the country
has a bigger player than Ohio State.
We're talking about Orlando Pace,
who is named after a city, and who
might as well be named after a conti-
nent, because he is so darn big.
Pace is 6-foot-6, 320 pounds.
Maybe. He might be even bigger.
His weight might even equal the
SAT score needed to be admitted to
Ohio State.
They say his hobbies are fishing in
Lake Erie, which is apparently the
same place he has to go to take a bath.
Big players? Geez.
He could play line. The whole thing.
In fact, people are talking about giv-
ing him the Heisman. That's not

because Cooper insists that Pace, an
offensive lineman, is the best college
football player in the nation and that
he should be treated the same as skill
It's because Heisman officials are
afraid that if they don't give Pace the
Heisman, he'll come and take it.
Really, who'd stop him? That would be
like telling him to stop eating.
Pace can do it all, and that might
provide for some big plays Saturday.
"He is a tremendous player, on both
sides of the ball," Carr said. "Orlando
Pace, should he have chosen to play
defense, would be an all-conference
defensive tackle."
So will Pace be the man to step up
this year? Can Pace turn the tide for
Ohio State instead of create tides with
his mass?
That will depend on people like
William Carr, Glen Steele and their
buddies. Believe me, these gentlemen
are not small. And judging from the
past, they might be big enough.
Big game.
Big players. Big plays.
The winner's big men will have
come up big.
If it's Pace, though, hide the
Heisman. He might be hungry.
- Nicholas J Cotsonika can be
reached over e-mail at
cotsonik @ umich.edu.

Continued from Page 10
again and again that it was his decision
to go. He started thinking about it last
February, and quickly put the idea out of
his mind.
But as the season began, he thought
once again that maybe it was time to
leave. He went to athletic director Mike
Wadsworth three weeks ago and told
him to start looking for a new coach, and
Wadsworth asked him to reconsider.
He did, but told him a week later that
his mind was made up. The details were
finalized Monday..
"When I told the athletes that I had
every intention of being here, that was
sincere," Holtz said. "Sometimes situa-
tions change. I just feel it's the right thing
to do."
The university wanted Holtz back
next year, Wadsworth said.
"The university intended to go in the
same direction," he said. "We felt the
football program was going extremely
well. We felt very confident with it in
Lou's hands."
Holtz told his players before
Monday's practice. Even though most of
the team expected him to leave, hearing
him say the actual words was a shock,
senior linebacker Bert Berry said.
"I thought he would finish his career
here," Berry said. "It was a response I
wasn't quite ready to hear. It's a sad day,
there's a lot of sadness and disappoint-
Watching the players' faces as he told

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them might have been the hardest part
for Holtz. Junior cornerback Allen
Rossum said there were a lot of bowed
heads as Holtz spoke, and when the
coach read his resignation statement at
the news conference, Berry buried his
head in his hands.
Though Holtz joked about the players
throwing a party, he expected there to be
some disappointment. He just didn't
expect this much.
"That makes me sad," lie said, his
voice dropping just a bit. "I expected
indifference. What I got was a strong
reaction, an emotional reaction. That's
my main concern right now."
Holtz said he thinks his players will
feel differently once a new coach is
named. There are fewer than six poten-
tial candidates, and Wadsworth and the
Rev. William Beauchamp, the universi-
ty's executive vice president, said they
are in the process of seeing if those peo-
ple are interested.
Barnett released a statement yesterday
saying he isn't sure.
"Once I have had time to fully consid-*
er my options, I will let them know of my
decision as to whether I wish to be con-
sidered for the job," the statement read.
Holtz won't have any say in the selec-
tion, but said he hopes it would be one of
his assistants, specifically Davie. The
players hope it's Davie, too, Berry said.
While they respect Barnett and what
he's done at Northwestern, they know
Davie better, he said.
"He'd make for a smoother transi-0
tion," Berry said. "He and coach IHoltz
have the same type of style."
Continued from Page 10
gested that his team needs to be
more patient on offense, sometimes
taking an extra step before shooting.
The next weekend Michigan host-@
ed Ohio State. After failing on sever-
al scoring opportunities during the
game, Botterill finally converted
midway through the third period.
After the game, the left wing talked
about his goal.
"Early on in the season, and even
tonight, I was rushing it. I'd get the
puck right away, and I'd just shoot
it," Botterill said. "It was actually
Morrison who told me just to be
more patient up there. And luckily it*
paid off for me.
"It was a good move by Morrison
to tell me that."
As important as that type of lead-
ership is, though, Morrison knows
that good advice won't be enough.
"I just think that I have to do more
ta help out the team right now.
Games like (against Bowling Green)
where we need to come up with a big
goal and give the team a boost - I
just don't feel that I have really been
doing that to help the team."
As for whether Mor-rison is feel-
ing any pressure fromnbeing one of
the preseason favorites for the
Hobey Baker Award - given annu-
ally to college hockey's best player,
and for which Morrison has been a
finalist each of the last two seasons
- Botterill doesn't think so.
"He's the type of player who's go#
a quiet intensity to him on the ice,"
Botterill said. "But away froni there
he's got a quiet demeanor to him. I
don't think that stuff really affects
"All his life he's been known as
the star player on the team. So he's
learned how to deflect that attention
pretty well:'

Friday, November 29
Michigan vs. Minnesota # 4:30 pm
Michigan State vs. Wisconsin *8:00pm
Saturday, November 30
Michigan vs. Wisconsin 4:30 pm
Michigan State vs. Minnesota # 8:00pm

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