14- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 20, 1997
Y JNxWomen start second seasoq
By Chris Farah
Daily Sports Writer
In the world of collegiate women's
track, there is no rest for the weary.
Track, unlike most sports, has two
seasons of competition per year -
indoors during the winter and out-
doors during the spring.
Michigan just finished its indoor
season two weeks ago, ending with
an emotionally draining second-place
finish in the Big Ten championships.
This weekend, however, none of
that will matter. The Wolverines will
face their first challenge of the out-
door season tomorrow in Winston-
Salem, N.C., at the Wake Forest
Michigan coach James Henry said
the Wolverines have adjusted their
training during the brief respite
between seasons to deal with the
added strain of starting outdoor com-
"We try to get them off the emo-
tional high of peaking for the indoor
season," Henry said. "We try to get
them some rest in between rounds, so
we try to go back to the basics of get-
ting some endurance training in."
Because of the emphasis on condi-
tioning over the past two weeks,
Henry said he isn't expecting a top
performance from Michigan this
The slow start should, however,
pay off in the long run.
"We might not see the types of per-
formances that normally I would
want to see nice and early in the out-
door season," Henry said. "I'm look-
ing forward to the start of being com-
petitive, but we'll probably be two or
three weeks behind."
The Wolverines may be pleasantly
surprised this weekend, however. The
Demon Deacons, who traditionally
do well at home, will present
Michigan with a challenge, but the
Wolverines should definitely not be
overwhelmed by the talent level at
The toughest competition will
probably be faced by freshman Lisa
Ouellet and sophomore Sarah
Hamilton in the 800-meter run.
The two Wolverines will be up
against Wake Forest's Chrissy Person
and Mia Richardson, who are both
ACC champions in the half-mile.
Even if freshman sprinter Maria
Brown doesn't get off to a fast start at
Wake Forest, she should be well on
her way to an outstanding season.
Brown, who hails from Jamaica,
had never competed indoors before
this year. Despite her lack of experi-
ence, she still managed to break
Michigan's indoor records for the 55
Brown said it may take time. to
build momentum during the outdpor
season, but that she expects to further
the trend she began indoors.
"I think it will take a little period
of adjustment, but I think (my times
will improve) in the long run:" Brown
"I'm more used to the outdoor
race, because we don't have indoors
in Jamaica. I didn't have much of a
choice before, but now that I do, I
would say I prefer indoor."
Brown said she is confident that
both she and Michigan will ultima
ly find success, no matter what k
of start they have at the Wake Forest
"My goal going into the meet is to
gradually improve," Brown said.
"I don't want to set a goal that is
too unrealistic. As a team, I think
we'll have a good start. That'll prob-
ably set the tone for the rest of the
season, to finish off strong At pig
Edzra Gibson and the Michigan men's track team won't be indoors this weekend. The Wake Forest invitational, tommorow in
Winston-Salem, N.C., will be Michigan's first meet of the outdoor season.
'M' heads south for outdoor meet
By TJ. Berka
Daily Sports Writer
As the focus of the Michigan men's
track program shifts from the air condi-
tioning of indoor meets to the unpre-
dictable whims of Mother Nature,
Michigan is trying to make the transition
as smoothly as possible.
After a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten
indoor championships, the Wolverines
will head south to begin their outdoor
season tomorrow at the Wake Forest
Invitational in Winston-Salem, N.C.
'This meet is important from the fact
that it is a chance to compete in decent
weather," Michigan coach Jack Harvey
said. "We have had only three or four out-
door practices thus far, so we can't tell
where we are right now outdoors until
Leading the way for the Wolverines
are senior hurdler Neil Gardner and
junior distance runner Don McLaughlin.
Gardner, a member of the Jamaican
Olympic team last summer in Atlanta,
took the 55-meter hurdles at the NCAA
indoors and is the defending NCAA out-
door champion in the 400 intermediate
McLaughlin, who took the top spot in
the mile at the Big Ten indoors, looks to
team up with senior Scott MacDonald to
give Michigan a formidable one-two
punch in the 800 and 1,500.
The meet also marks another turning
point for the Wolverines, as senior Kevin
Sullivan and sophomore John Mortimer
will be making their first appearances on
the track after missing the indoor season.
Sullivan, a three-time NCAA indoor
champion and a member of the Canadian
Olympic Team, returns from surgery to
compete in 3,000 and 5,000 events.
"(He) isn't quite up to full speed yet,
but this will be a good indicator of how
far along he is;" Harvey said.
The return of Mortimer from pneumo-
nia is another positive point for the
Wolverines for the upcoming season.
Mortimer finished second in the 3,000
steeplechase at last year's Big Ten out-
Michigan is also looking for the field
events to team up with the improved run-
ning lineup that will be present at Wake.
Major players in these events include
senior high jumper Damon Devasher,
whose highest mark during the indoor
season was 7-foot-I.
The Invitational, which features 30
college and club teams, starts tomorrow
morning and runs through Saturday
afternoon. While the lack of familiarity
with the great outdoors gives the
Wolverines little indication of how they
stand, they are confident that the work
from the indoor season will translate to
"The fact that we are in good shape
from the outdoor season will help us this
weekend," Harvey said. "There will be
some good performances this weekend,
and I think we can compete well."
LaLo leads gymnasts to Big Tens,
By Sara Rontal
Daily Sports Writer
While winning isn't everything, it still
The Michigan men's gymnastics team
isn't about to win the Big Ten champi-
onship this weekend in Minneapolis, but
the Wolverines sure don't expect to lose
The Wolverines, ranked 17th in the
nation, will face stiff conference compe-
tition, including an Ohio State team that
boasts the return of 35 of its 36 routines.
But Michigan, which placed last at
Big Tens last year, is determined not to
let history repeat itself.
"The Big Ten is very strong,"
Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. "But,
there is no reason we should place lower
than seventh in the meet."
And the reasons have dwindled even
further after the Wolverines' excellent
performance against Illinois-Chicago
Michigan bettered its previous sea-
son-high score by 0.9 points at 222.1.
The Wolverines also raked in their best
performance ever on the parallel bars.
Unfortunately, however, Michigan has
no chance of making the regionals as a
team. But individually the team stands
strong. Two new recruits, LaLo Haro and
Timothy DeGraw are the team's best
Haro scored a season-high 9.85 on the
parallel bars against UIC.
"With scores like these, he is capable
of going to the national championship
meet," Golder said.
But a look ahead at this weekend's tal-
ent is all Michigan is concentrating on.
"LaLo is capable of being All-Big Ten
in the all-around, or even winning an
individual event in the horizontal bars,"
Haro has a good chance of making it
to the regional meet also. Right now, he
is in the No. I position to qualify for the
all-around in the East Region.
Flavio Martins and the Michigan men's gymnastics team will need a balanced
attack at the Big Ten Championships this weekend in Minneapolis.
But all hasn't been easy for Haro. A
recruit from Mexico, the judges are not
familiar with his style or his name -
"Gymnastics is so tough, because this
sport is so subjective," assistant coach
Rich Dopp said.
Tim DeGraw is also a good bet to
make the regional meet, He is the No. 2
qualifier for the region in the floor exer-
"Tim may be able to win in the floor,
but he is nursing an injury," Golder s'
The injury has not impeded his per-
formance, however. Last week, DeGraw
scored a season-high 9.5 on the floor,
Jason McDonald has the possibility of
making the regionals on the high bar, but
he needs a stellar performance.
"We expect LaLo and Tim to make the
region, and anyone else will be a pleas-
ant surprise," Golder said.
'M' hopes to repeat as Big Ten champ'
the world is getting smaller
By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
This weekend, the Michigan
women's gymnastics team will find
itself in the thick of the madness at the
Big Ten championships in
Minneapolis. The Wolverines have a
streak of five consecutive Big Ten
titles to defend.
Michigan appears to be in the dri-
ver's seat, shifting into fifth gear in the
quest for another title. Despite losing
three consecutive road meets two
weeks ago, the Wolverines own a 3-0
Big Ten record and a national ranking
that has climbed all the way to third.
Based on this season's scores, no
other Big Ten team has been men-
tioned in the same breath with
Ohio State, the next best team, aver-
aged a full 2.335 points lower per meet
than the Wolverines. The Buckeyes
sport only one nationally ranked gym-
nast in any event. Susan Eckman is
No. 4 on vault, an apparatus in which
Michigan recorded the second-highest
team score in NCAA history a week
With the home-gym advantage,
Minnesota may present Michigan with
its biggest threat. The 20th-ranked
Golden Gophers, however, are
acclaimed nationally only in the floor
exercise - Michigan's second
The Gophers boast No. 9 Mindy
Knaeble, but her scores on the floor
haven't been in the same class as those
of Michigan's Heather Kabnick and
Sarah Cain, ranked third and fourth in
"The Gophers will be in their facili-
ty with largely their fans, so they'll be
in their comfort zone," Michigan
coach Bev Plocki said. "But if we hit
our routines, nobody should be ablo to
compete with us."
Michigan is fairly healthy enterihg
this weekend. The only pain this Lek
was experienced by freshman.Sir
Elizabeth Langford, who hyper
ed her knee in practice last Thum .
"Sarah is experiencing 'ild
swelling in her knee,"Plocki said:,"I
don't know yet if shell compete~bis
As for the rest of the lineup,.1poki
probably won't pull any big surpres
out of her hat. Michigan's peror-
mances have been solid all neon,
reflected in its 14-5 overall recodrdfr
"We will stick, for the mo tC ,
with what we've been doing," Ply
said. "We're going' to look at #pple
who have been the most consisto.aup
to this point.
"We need to hit, and we need e'be
Michigan should be consisten-4 the
Big Ten championships, becGq it
enters Minneapolis with its bestdaw
Saturday, the Wolverines wi-T
the same apparatus order they dZd-
ing each one of their home mets at
Cliff Keen Arena. Michigan wiH14dm-
pete on vault, uneven bars, .baance
beam and the floor exercise !n that
order, with a couple byes in bet en.
That means Michigan will ejin
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