Kansas City 4
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New York Mets 4,
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LA Clippers 113,
NY RANGERS 5,
April 4, 1997
Women gymnasts might fly
high at Crisler this weekend
By Nita Srivastava
Daily Sports Writer
In a history filled with superior achieve-
ments, there is one thing the Michigan
women's gymnastics team hasn't done.
Until now, that is.
The Wolverines host the NCAA Central
Regional meet this weekend at Crisler Arena,
and for the first time ever, they enter a
regional event with the top seed.
Six other schools will be competing
against Michigan: No. 2 seed Alabama, No. 3
Louisiana State, No. 4 Southeast Missouri,
No. 5 Iowa State, No. 6 Minnesota and No. 7
Michigan coach Bev Plocki said that
Alabama and LSU will be tough, because
they are seeded just below Michigan, but the
competition is expected to be tight among all
of the teams, regardless.
Michigan has been neck-and-neck in the
national rankings with Alabama for the entire
season. It has only been in the past month
that the Wolverines have been ranked higher
than the Crimson Tide. Alabama's Meredith
Willard is ranked No. 2 in the nation in the
all-around, followed by Michigan freshman
"We're just concerned about ourselves, not
the other teams," sophomore Lisa Simes said.
"We just want to perform to the ability that
we know we can."
Two other gymnasts are ranked in the top
10 in the all-around: LSU's Amy McClosky
(seventh) and Alabama's Danielle McAdams
With the past two weeks off from competi-
tion to practice and get ready for the region-
al, the Wolverines have been working on
tightening up their routines and mentally
preparing for the meet.
"We want to practice hitting 24-for-24
(every routine) to make sure we have a shot,
and that means trying to relax and have fun,"
"Concentration is also a big thing," said
sophomore Nikki Peters. "We've worked on
doing the routines we know how to do with-
out getting distracted.'
Since the championship is at Crisler, the
Wolverines have the advantage of performing
in front of a home crowd and on familiar
NCAA Central They also do
not have to
deal with the
What: NCAA women's fatigue that
gymnastics Central comes with
Who: Michigan, Alabama, "My ath
t.oulsiana State, yletes ove
Southeast Missouri, Iowa lts lv
State, Minnesota and competing in
Michigan State front of a
When:6 pm. tomorrow h o m e
Where: Crisler Areca crow d,"
Tickets: $6 for reserved, Plocki said.
$4 for general admission. "We want
Cal 764-0247 for more our fans to be
information. as loud as
when Michigan is on the floor, because it is
intimidating to other teams."'
The gymnasts have received so much sup-
port over the season that the fans have been
packing the Wolverines' usual home venue,
Cliff Keen Arena. Spacious Crisler should be
a'lot less crowded.
Plocki said that Michigan is well prepared
for the upcoming competition, because the
Wolverines are used to the high level of com-
We want our fan
to be as loud as they
can when Michigan pis
on the floor." y
- Bev Plocki
Michigan gymnastics coach
petition and have managed to pull it all
together in the past.
"Every meet has given us experience and
confidence in front of the judges," sgpllo-
more Beth Amelkovich said. "We just want to
compete like we have in practice and in other
According to Plocki, maintaining the per-
formance level is the key to success for the
Wolverines, not predicting what is going to
happen in terms of victory.
"I just want each athlete to perform the
way that they have been performing;' Plo
said. "To put any expectations (upon them)
to add unneeded pressure.'
Teamwork seems to be what the
Wolverines are depending on. Throughout
the season, each athlete has stressed not wor-
rying about other teams, just their own..:
"What gets me through the meet is letting
my teammates help," Peters said. "What if
my nerves come out? Having my team behind
me will get me through."
If the Wolverines do well in the comp4
tion; it will ensure them at spot at nationals.
"I've practiced all year," Simes said. "I put
myself in the position. Now, I'll just let my
body do the routine.'
The Michigan women's gymnastics team will host the NCAA Central Regional this weekend at Crisler
Arena. As the No. 1 seed in the region, the Big Ten champions will get to perform their routines in the
Olympic rotation (vault, bars, beam, floor). The top team in tomorrow's competition will automatically
advance to the national meet to be held in Gainesville, Fla. In two weeks.
Blue baseball hopes to
tarnish Golden Gophers
Haro and DeGraw
hit the big time
By Tracy Sandler
Daily Sports Writer
It's No. 1 against No. 2 kind of.
This weekend the Michigan baseball team
(6-2 Big Ten, 16-11 overall) will face
Minnesota (4-0 Big Ten, 15-10 overall) in a
four-game series. The Golden Gophers are the
conference leaders, while the Wolverines are
tied with Ohio State for second.
Both Michigan and Minnesota are entering
the series after a tough week. After sweeping
Penn State at home last weekend, the
Wolverines suffered two midweek losses on the
Tuesday they fell, 5-0, to Bowling Green and
were held scoreless for the first time this sea-
son. Michigan came back Wednesday with a
14-7 loss to Eastern Michigan.
Coming into their Wednesday game against
Creighton, the Gophers were riding a five-
game winning streak. They lost, 10-7, but are,
nonetheless, winners of 13 of their last 15.
Since the Wolverines have performed well
thus far against Big Ten opponents, Michigan
coach Geoff Zahn is not concerned that recent
disappointments will influence the way his
team plays against Minnesota.
"I don't think it will have any affect on our
performance," Zahn said. "If anything, it will
wake us up, and we'll be more intense."
Again, the main concern for the Wolverines
this weekend will be pitching. Michigan's
probable rotation includes junior Brian
Steinbach (4-2, 4.25 ERA) on Friday, sopho-
more J.J. Putz (3-0, 6.43) for Saturday's first
game, sophomore Pete Martay (2-0, 5.30) and
sophomore Luke Bonner (1-2, 10.73).
Although he is not listed, Zahn said Wednesday
that sophomore Ryan Kelley (8-3, 8.10) may
also have a chance to start this weekend for the
Minnesota will probably attack with pitch-
ers Mike Diebolt, Justin Pederson, Adam
Williams and Tony Felling.
Despite the recent losses, Zahn is encour-
aged with progress of the pitching staff. Last
weekend pitcher Tyler Steketee had three
"Steketee has come on and pitched pretty
well," Zahn said. "Putz is getting better each
"Steinbach is throwing well. (Bryan)
Cranson is coming on pretty well, and Ryan
Kelley is getting better. We just have to find
the right combination of guys to pitch."
The Wolverines seemed to bounce back
offensively, scoring seven runs against the
Eagles. First baseman Bryan Besco belted two
homers and hit a double, while third baseman
Mike Cervenak hit a solo homer and a double.
Michigan, batting .344 overall, is led by out-
fielder Brian Bush's .424 average.
"It's nice to see (outfielder Jason) Alcaraz
(who has .415 batting average) swinging the
bat again," Zahn said. "We'll be all right. We
just have to keep swinging the bats."
Bobby Scales and the rest of the Wolverines will continue
their run for a Big Ten title when they take on conference
leader Minnesota in a four-game series this weekend.
By Jacob Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
A farm boy always remembers his
first trip to the big city. Everything
amazes him - the buildings, the
people, the noise and the traffic. The
sights and sounds are so much more
intense than anything he's ever seen
Michigan men's gymnastics fresh-
men Jose Haro and Tim DeGraw will
be as perplexed as farm boys this
weekend, making their first trip to
the big time, the NCAA East
Regional at the U.S. Military
Academy in West Point, N.Y.
Haro and DeGraw are the only
Wolverines who qualified for the
regional, so they'll have to overcome
the burden of amazement on their
"We're looking at world-caliber
gymnasts now," Michigan coach
Kurt Golder said. "Every level you
advance to, the difference is an
The East Regional will feature
half of the nation's best gymnasts,
yet Michigan saw many of them at
the Big Ten championships two
Probably Ohe nation's -strongest
conference, the Big Ten features top-
ranked and defending-national
champion Ohio State, No. 3 Iowa,
No. 6 Penn State, No. 7 Minnesota
and No. 8 Illinois. Haro and DeGraw
will run into the likes of Penn State
Olympian Blaine Wilson this week-
Despite the overwhelming compe-
tition, the Wolverines do have num-
bers on their side. The top three
gymnasts in each apparatus, includ-
ing the all-around, who aren't on a
team which qualifies, earn berths to
r~n rIrra.. e..,.tIE AO4
the NCAA championships in two
Entering this weekend, Haro is
ranked No. 1 in the all-around and
DeGraw No. 2 on the floor exercise.
"Tim obviously has the abilitysto
qualify for the championshi
Golder said. "I would even go A r
as saying he has a chance at wining
the championship. Haro has the
potential to be an All-American in
individual events and the all-
The first-time, eye-opening factor
still looms large, however. The two
Wolverines have never seen a meet
this big before, and there won't be
much time to gaze around in asto-
"It's the elite, against the elite,
against the elite," Golder said. ¢'If
you make the least little mistake, you
might not even qualify for the next
round. But that's true for everybody."
Besides the looming possibilities
of a couple NCAA champioiships
berths, this regional is critical for
Michigan, especially Haro, in terms
of future notoriety.
After coming north from MexiW
for college this year, Haro is virtual-
ly unknown among national judges.
And Golder believes that may give
an American Olympian like Wilson
an advantage over his prized yojng
"The Big Tens have accomplished
some of that," Golder said. "We
gained a lot of recognition with the
Big Ten championship).
"Next year, when he raises *
hand, instead of the judges asking
who this is, they'll be saying, 'This
guy is great."
Unfortunately, not every Michikan
gymnast will gain notoriety of a
championship berth this weekend.
Besides Haro and DeGraw, the rest
of the Wolverines won't get to wit-
ness the regionals.
"It'll be a very educational expe-
ence for (Haro and DeGraw),
unfortunately the geographic loca-
tion doesn't let the rest of the team
go see it," Golder said. "Eighty per-
cent of our team has never seen a
regional or a championship?'
And for the two who will ihis