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April 14, 1997 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-14

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TRACK-

The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - April 14, 1997 -- 7B

'M' track answers questions
Wolverines redeem themselves in Raleigh after time off-

By Chris Farah
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's track team
went into this weekend's Duke
Invitational in Raleigh, N.C., with more
questions than answers.
The primary question being: Would
the Wolverines allow their subpar per-
formance two weeks ago at the Raleigh
Relays to develop into a three-week
slump, or would they instead respond
confidently to the Duke meet's high
level of competition?
Consider the question answered.
Taking advantage of a two-week
break after the Raleigh Relays disap-
pointment - a meet in which sopho-
more high jumper Nicole Forrester was
the only Wolverine to place first in an
event - Michigan competed with a
vengeance at the Duke meet.
The Wolverines tallied two first-place
and six second-place finishes. Michigan
also provisionally qualified three ath-
letes for the NCAA championships.
Junior Tania Longe was one of the
Wolverines who garnered first place,
taking the top spot in the 100-meter hur-
dles with a time of 13.97. The victory
was even more redeeming for Longe,
considering that she fell in the hurdle
competition at the Raleigh Relays - a
mistake Longe is not used to making.
"The falling part isn't something I do
regularly," Longe said. "But I didn't
want it to happen again. Just the fact that
I had fallen one time kind of makes you
like, 'Don't let that happen again,' so I
was just more aware of what I had to do.
Also, I was just stronger having worked

on higher hurdles. So I worked through
the hurdles a lot more aggressively."
The list of accomplishments becomes
all the more impressive when one con-
siders the various factors the Wolverines
had to contend with such as the level of
competition and the weather. Michigan
had to contend with several other major
Division I programs, including North
Carolina, Georgetown, Syracuse and
South Carolina.
What's more, the Wolverines also had
to deal with the weather - an element
which may have been even more dis-
couraging than the competition. The
conditions Friday weren't that bad, but
Saturday was cold and very wet with
constant rain.
Forrester followed up her impressive
performance at the Raleigh Relays with
another first place at Duke. Although
she was happy with her placing,
Forrester said the bad weather played a
large role in the below-average height of
her winning jump of 5-foot-6.
"I have to say the weather was a big
factor this weekend," Forrester said. "I
couldn't run fast because it was slip-
pery, and I practiced all two weeks on
running fast, because my approach
was too slow. You don't want to use
weather as an excuse, so I guess I just
have to learn how to work with the
weather."
The rain and cold wasn't nearly as
much of a problem for the distance run-
ners, considering all three NCAA provi-
sional qualifying times also came from
distance runners.
Sophomore Marcy Akard placed sec-

ond in the 3,000 with a qualifying time
of 9:42.62. Fellow sophomore oKtie
McGregor and freshman Julie Froud
also qualified in the 5,000 with times of
16:29.75 and 16:51.72, respectively,
with McGregor finishing second and
Froud sixth.
Froud was very pleased with herper-
formance, which was. a personal best,
but knows she will have to improveto
guarantee a spot at nationals.
"I was pretty happy with that time,"
Froud said. "There's always room for
improvement, but it's very positive. So
that's good, that's cool. I'll just continue
with that. I'll probably have to knock 15
to 20 seconds off that time in order to
make it.'
Freshman Lisa Ouellet placed secopd
in the 1,500 with a time of 4:28.33-all
the more impressive -considering
Ouellet has run in the event collegiately
three times. Ouellet, who hails from
Canada, thanked her familiarity with
bad-weather competition, the two weeks
of training and a little luck with her and
the other distance runners' success.
"All the (distance) girls got personal-
bests, so the weather didn't really affect
anybody," Ouellet said. "I think what
really started us off was Katie
McGregor and Julie Froud both making
the provisionals in the 5,000. They wore
their white singlets, so a lot of th# girls
put on their white singlets because they
had good luck in that. It was supersti-
tion, but I think that was what started the
weekend off, because everyone was like,
'Wow, they got personal bests, so let's
get some, too."'

Marcella Comell
warms up on the
track. The
women's track
team grabbed
two first-place
and six second-
place finishes at
the Duke
Invitational this
weekend.
JONATHAN
S UMMER/Daily

Michigan men
score five wins

a I

I

I

I

Mother Nature toys
with Michigan men's
track down south

By Chad Kujala
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's track team
headed south this weekend to tangle
with the No. 1 team in the nation.
The 13th-ranked Wolverines com-
peted in the Arkansas Invitational,
hosted by the top-ranked Razorbacks.
The 10-team field, although the
smallest the Wolverines have faced
his season, proved competitive.
Part of the reason the field was so
small was because No. 23 Baylor
backed out due to the bitter cold
weather in Fayetteville.
The Wolverines felt right at home in
the cold, totalling five victories.
Perhaps the most inspirational vic-
tory came from senior Kevin Sullivan.
Sullivan cruised to a first-place finish
in the 1,500-meter run, four seconds
head of second-place finisher Dwight
Davis of Tulsa.
The victory was Sullivan's first
since returning from heel surgery. The
injury cost him the 1996 cross-country
season and the '97 indoor season.
Senior Neil Gardner lead the charge
for the Wolverines, scoring two victo-
ries in the hurdles. Gardner won the
110 hurdles in a time of 13.88.
Following behind in close second was
*eammate Brian Theisen, who finished
with a time of 14.77.
Gardner added to his victory by
crossing the finish line first in the 400
hurdles. He finished in a time of
51.36, edging out Shannon Sidney of
Arkansas. Theisen performed well in
the 400, finishing fourth.
The winning continued for John

Mortimer as he earned his third victo-
ry in as many weeks.
Mortimer, previously a winner in
the 3,000 steeplechase and in the
10,000, came home in first with a vic-
tory in the 3,000. Michael Power of
Arkansas finished second, three sec-
onds behind Mortimer. Michigan
freshman Steve Lawrence finished
fifth.
The final victory came in the pole
vault by way of sophomore Don
Stenger. Stenger's vault of 15-foot-6
was his season's best. His previous
best this season was one foot lower
than this weekend's.
Although the relay teams did not con-
tribute to the Michigan victory count,
they did finish strong once again. The
Wolverines have had to match up against
the Razorbacks' relay teams the past two
weeks. Last week at the Texas Relays,
Arkansas finished first in both the 1,600
and 400 relays.
Arkansas's 4x400 team scorched the
track as it did a week ago in Texas. The
four-man team finished first in the 1,600
with a time of 3:16.01. The Wolverines
were able to finish second but nearly two
seconds behind at 3:17.92.
The Razorbacks also cloned a victory
from last week in the 4x100 meter relay
finishing in a time of 41.17. Michigan's
team of Steve Jenkins, Martin Bowman,
Edzra Gibson and Damon Devasher fin-
ished third in 41.70.
Overall, the Wolverines hung
tough against the top-ranked
Razorbacks. They ended the meet
with five victories, trailing Arkansas
by just one.

By T.J. Berka
Daily Sports Writer
One of the main reasons the Michigan
track and field team heads south for the
early portion of the outdoor season is to
experience warm, sunny weather.
That practice, while sound in theory,
has not produced the results the
Wolverines had hoped for. The first two
meets, at Wake. Forest and Texas, were
dominated by incessant rainfall.
The weekend, Mother Nature saved
the worst weather of the season at the
Arkansas Invitational, as a vigorous cold
front wreaked havoc on the field.
The 38-degree weather, coupled with
strong winds, made
Fayetteville, Ark. -
where the average
temperature is in the
mid-60s - a winter Cm
wonderland. Baylor, 7fateetu
the 23rd-ranked
team in the nation,
pulled out of the
competition due to
the cold.
Michigan will try its hand with the
National Weather Service again next
week at the Kansas Relays in Lawrence,
Kan. A warning to the Wolverines: It
was snowing Thursday night in
/ Lawrence.
HE'S BACK: Kevin Sullivan complet-
ed his comeback Saturday with a victory
in the 1,500-meter run with a time of
3:52.17. The next closest competitor,
Tulsa's Dwight Davis, finished more
than four seconds behind Sullivan.
Sullivan's win was the his first overall
victory of the year in only his third meet.
Sullivan, who competed in the Canadian
Olympic trials last summer, missed the
entire indoor season with a heel injury.
NOSTALGIA: The Arkansas
Invitational marked the reunion of
Arkansas' 1984 indoor and '85 outdoor
national championship teams. That sea-
son, the first for current Arkansas coach
John McDonnell, started a run of 12-
consecutive indoor championships for
the Razorbacks.

Among the members of that team was
Mike Conley, the Olympic gold medal
winner in the triple jump.
However, due to the erratic wegther
that gripped the middle of the nation this
weekend, Conley was unable to attend.
DYNASTY: The main reason that
Arkansas brought back its '84-85 team
was because it was the beginning of a
dynasty almost unequaled in any other
college sport.
Since McDonnell was hired in '84,
the Razorbacks have won 13 of the past
14 indoor championships, including this
season's title.
McDonnell has also led Arkansas to
six outdoor championships, including
the last five.
CLOSE CALL: The 13th-ranked
Wolverines made a strong statementthis
weekend at the Arkansas Invitational,
capturing five events.
That total was second to, the
Razorbacks, who grabbed six events.
While the Wolverines were racing in
their element due to the cold weather,
their performance against the five-time
national champions could be a confi-
dence booster heading into the national
championships in June.
MR. CONSISTENCY: If there is one
Wolverine who could be considered a
guarantee to win his event at anytine,
it'd senior hurdler Neil Gardner.
Gardner, the defending national
champion in the 400 outdoor hurdles
and a member of the Jamaican Olympic
team, continued his stellar performance
with victories in the 110 and 400 hur-
dles.
With those victories, Gardner has won
every event in which he has raced duyng
the outdoor season.
FIELD OF DREAMs: So far this season,
the majority of Michigan's victoriesve
come from Gardner and the distance
events.
The field events have not been a
Michigan strength, until this wemkod.
Sophomore Don Stenger came up Oig
at the invitational, winning the 2ple
vault with a height of 15-foot-6.

FILE PHOTO
Michigan's Neil Gardner won the 110 and 400 hurdles at the Arkansas invitational
this weekend.

*Foreign-born Wolverines lead M' women

By Fred Link
Daly Sports Writer
Coming to America.
Besides being the title of a hyster-
ical 1980s Eddie Murphy comedy, it
could also summarize the story of
many of the Michigan women's track
eam's most talented athletes.
Michigan's best all-around per-
former, Tania Longe, hails from
Norway. At this weekend's Duke
Invitational, Longe led the
Wolverines, placing first in the 100-
meter hurdles and second in the
triple jump.
Longe wasn't the only foreign
athlete to do well for Michigan at
Duke. Canadian Nicole Forrester
won the high jump, while Jamaican
Maria Brown finished second in the
100.
In the 5,000, Canadian Julie Froud
finished sixth, with NCAA provi-
sional qualifying times, and fellow
Canadian Lisa Ouellet placed sec-

"Canadian athletes are definitely
interested in Michigan because of its
good athletics and academics,"
Froud said. "This is a great opportu-
nity for Canadians to come down to a
program like this, because we don't
have athletic scholarships in
Canadian schools. It's a great oppor-
tunity to do both athletics and acade-
mics at the same time."
For Brown, it was Michigan's aca-
demics that were a primary consider-
ation in choosing a college.
"I'd have to say it was the school
and not necessarily the track pro-
gram," said Brown, of her choice to
attend Michigan.
Coming from another country to
attend college can mean that interna-
tional athletes face difficulties that
other students do not.
For some, like Brown, being far
away from home can be a difficult
adjustment.
"It's difficult missing home -

around to talk to has especially been
helpful.
"It's comforting, for one thing,"
Froud said. "You know you have
someone similar to you. You know
you have someone who will know
what you're talking about."
Brown has been helped tremen-
dously by the foreigners on the
women's team as well as the
Jamaicans on Michigan's men's track
team.
"We can relate to each other more,
because we're all not from here,"
Brown said. "Having Jamaicans on
the guys' team, that's been good."
Having athletes from different
countries can also lead to some inter-
esting differences.
For instance, Brown's and Froud's
description of the weather at this
weekend's meet are so different it
seems like they were at different
places. While Brown described the
weather as rainy and cold, Froud

You guys have
your little quirks
too that are kind
of fun to poke
with."
-Julie Froud
Canadian-born Michigan run-
ner, on American accents.
said. "That's kind of cute, I guess.
I'm sure we hassle them the same, ya
know? You guy's have your little
quirks, too, that are kind of fun to
poke with.
"Some people, ya know, ask ques-
tions about the differences. It's funny
because a lot of things are the same.
I guess some of our vocab is differ-'
,n n n h ntnr er rt

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