10- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 19, 1997
By Tracy Sandler
Daily Sports Writer
He began as a walk-on. He wasn't guaranteed a
scholarship. He was recruited, but his future was shaky.
Yet, by the middle of his freshman year, sophomore
Corey Grant was starting at 134 pounds for the
Michigan wrestling team.
Part of what impressed the Michigan coaches while
recruiting Grant - and a large part of his success - is
his competitive nature. That nature also caught the
attention of Michigan State, so the Wolverines were
forced to fight with their archrival for Grant.
"He was recruited," Michigan assistant coach Joe
McFarland said. "I recruited him out of high school. I
saw him at the state tournament, and I'd been following
him for a couple of years on the high school level, so I
knew what kind of wrestler he was.
"He's real competitive. You can see that in a lot of his
matches. He doesn't give up position, and he does a pret-
ty good job of fighting things all the way through. I think
that is probably first and foremost why he's been suc-
cessful so far at this level. He's a competitive person."
Although his coaches had high expectations for his
career as a Wolverine, Grant was not quite as confident
about his position on the team.
"When I first came here, I wasn't sure if I should
have been here," Grant said. "I was getting beat up pret-
ty bad. I just kept sticking with it, and the next thing you
know, I started scoring on my opponents. Then, I start-
ed tying with them, and the next thing you know, I start-
ed beating them."
From the beginning, Grant made it obvious to every-
one that he was going to able to start and succeed at
Michigan. When wrestler Brian Aparo injured his
elbow last season, Grant seized the opportunity by beat-
ing him twice in tryout matches, which earned Grant a
starting spot. Although he did not light up the mats last
season, Grant wrestled himself to a respectable 14-15
"He had a decent year last year," Michigan coach
Dale Bahr said. "But when you're a true freshman in the
- from walk-on to starter
Big Ten, you're going to struggle no matter what. He
did a great job just filling in and giving us a competi-
"I remember a Wisconsin dual meet last year, and we
beat them here. It really hinged on Corey's win at 134
pounds. He was the difference in winning the dual
As hard as he was working, whether it was extra run-
ning or weightlifting, Grant admits to second-guessing
whether the end result was worth the effort. But looking
back on a wrestling career that began at age 8, Grant
realized wrestling at the collegiate level was a goal he
wanted to achieve.
"Just thinking about everything that I've been
through," Grant said. "I've been wrestling since I was 8
years old. This was the level that I wanted to get to, and
I figured all that hard work, now's the time when it's
going to start paying off"
Although a more natural weight class for him would
be 142 pounds, Grant has been wrestling all season at
134 pounds, so he constantly has to cut weight.
"I try to keep my weight down and just eat the right
foods," Grant said. "After each practice, I do a little
All of his hard work has not gone unnoticed by those
around Grant, especially his coaches.
"Corey's one of those guys in our room that I don't
have to worry about,' McFarland said. "I know he's
going to be at practice on time. I know he's going to be
there in the morning running and lifting. When you put
him out there on the mat, you know he's going to give
you 110 percent"
With some fine-tuning and offensive improvement,
Grant is in position to be a solid wrestler for the team.
"He's very competitive right now," Bahr said. "He
could go with the pretty good kids in the country. Right
now, he's losing sudden-death matches. He needs to get
a little more offense and maybe score a takedown earli-
er in the match, so it doesn't go to the riding portion."
Grant's competitive spirit first flared in high school.
Not only did he win his high conference's title four
times, but Grant also played defensive back and wide
receiver for the football team. As a sophomore, Grant
earned defensive MVP honors, and he was named
Special Teams Player of the Year his senior season.
Although he was attracted by the physical aspects of
both sports, Grant prefers wrestling's individual com-
"Wrestling is kind of like a war," Grant said. "I like
them both, but wrestling's different. It's a one-on-one
situation. You have to have more dedication, flat out. I
mean, you can't depend on anybody else. In football,
you can tackle a guy, but you have other people to come
help you tackle him. In wrestling, if you're going for a
takedown, no one can run out there and help you. You're
all on your own."
Aside from his wrestling ability, Grant has been a
good asset to the team - and especially to Bahr - in
other ways. On a road trip last season, Bahr was talking
to the team about the trials and tribulations of dating. A
single man, Bahr asked his wrestlers if any of them
could introduce him to a nice lady. Grant mentioned
that his girlfriend's mother had recently gotten divorced.
The two were introduced and have been dating for the
"The kids kid me about maybe being his father-in-
law someday, because Corey's still dating her daughter,
and I'm still dating (his girlfriend's) mother" Bahr said.
All joking aside, as effective as Grant hts been as a
Wolverine, his future for next season is still undecided.
"This will probably be his last year at 134 pounds,
with Aparo and Damion Logan coming back next year,
both 134-pounders, and hopefully Teya Hill will be back
at 142 pounds," Bahr said. "We would like to have thd
luxury to redshirt Corey at 142 pounds next year. The
decision really boils down to being if he moves up to
142, and becomes competitive, we may use him again.'
Whatever the future holds, Grant is happy with
everything he has overcome to get to where he is now.
"I look back and it's just like, 'Wow! I can't believe
how much I've accomplished since I've been here,"'
Grant said. "I'm really happy with myself."
Although he was a true freshman walk-on last season, Michigan wrestler Corey
Grant started at 134 pounds after teammate Brian Aparo was injured.
Saturday, February 22
We are fa-mi-ly: 'M' track no longer divided
Special Acoustic Performance:
$1.50 Premium Bottles
Sam Adams * Labatt's * Rolling Rock * Killian's
By Kim Hart
Daily Sports Writer
The new season has brought more to
the Michigan men's track and field team
than a lot of people would notice.
More than half of the team is com-
prised of new members, so it is hard not
to acknowledge the new faces. But there
has been a change in attitude that makes
this team different from last season's
Last year's team set many goals at the
start of the season, but not everyone was
working together to achieve them. A
division of sorts plagued the Wolverines,
and it was noticed by spectators and
An emphasis on unity has been a key
part of the Wolverines' focus, and efforts
to remain a cohesive group are evident
on and off of the track.
Every member of the team is faced
with tough competition in every meet.
But what the Wolverines have in their
favor is knowing there is a teammate at
every turn, and along every straightaway,
shouting words of advice and encour-
The 1997 squad has the determination
to achieve all of the team goals. If that
means running a leg in a relay that you
haven't practiced or adding an event to
your list for the sake of team points, it is
done without hesitation and without
Coaching responsibilities go beyond
coaches Jack Harvey, Ron Warhurst and
Kent Bernard. Older members of the
team are often seen giving instructions,
praise and criticism to younger mem-
bers, and younger members often go to
the seniors for advice and ways to
On Friday, at the Eastern Michigan
Invitational Track Meet, only a handful
of runners actually competed, but at one
point the whole team was there to cheer
those precious few on. One Wolverine
said that regardless of whether anyone
else believes in them, they believe in
themselves, and that team attitude makes
all the difference.
It can be difficult to get along with
teammates that you only see at practice
and meets, but many team members live
together, work together and study togeth-
An occasional overlap of personal and
athletic lives is inevitable, and conflicts
can and due occur. For the sake of the
team, personal conflicts are dealt with on
personal time and left outside the door to
the Track and Tennis Building when it is
time to practice. Team conflicts are dealt
with by the team, and oftentimes coach-
es are not included in discussions.
As this weekend's Big Ten meet
approaches, it is more important than
ever for the Wolverines to function as
Feelings of excitement and stress
could easily consume an individual and
distract him from his commitment to the
team. An individual who loses his focus
in preparation for this meet may have the
power to bring the whole team down.
Times like this are when Wolverines
need to remember the importance of
team unity, and the words of sophomore
"Big Ten's is always our main goa
throughout the season," he said. "W
have to give the peak of our performance
at Big Ten's in order to achieve it.'
1220 S. University 9 665-7777 I