___ __ The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 17, 1997 - 11
,Wisniewski walks on, walks into lineup
Field Hockey at Ball State, Muncie, Ind., 4 p.m.
Hard work, determination land freshman amongst 'M'
Byh s Duprey
For the aily
When Michigan men's cross country coach Ron
Warhurst looked over his lineup for the fall season, he
knew who he could count on. Stars John Mortimer
*d Kevin Sullivan are back to lead the pack for
another year. Warhurst planned on Todd Snyder and
Steve Lawrence giving the Wolverines the depth need-
ed to excel in the competitive Big Ten.
But Warhurst never expected a treasure chest to fall
into his lap.
As a true freshman, Mike Wisniewski was a relative
surprise to figure in the top seven for the Wolverines
in 1997. Wisniewski, fresh out of Temperance
Bedford (Mich.) High School, decided to walk on to
the teen after his admission to the University last win-
Vltai a personal record of 15:51 for the 5,000-meter,
Wisidsski looked to be an appealing prospect for a
teaitithat would give him a shot.
B6( scholarships are tough to come by in cross
country. The squad is forced to share 12.6 full schol-
coach after bri
arships with the track and field team, cutting aggres-
sive recruiting down significantly.
Both Oklahoma and Toledo showed interest in
Wisniewski, but neither was able to offer him even a
It was then that he decided to apply to Michigan.
"I was so happy after getting accepted," Wisniewski
said. "I thought I would give (cross country) my best
and see what I could do."
Wisniewski didn't come out of obscurity, by any
"I knew who he was," Warhurst said. "He was third
in the state"
Wisniewski has achieved more than the average
freshman walk-on. His solid performance at the
Michigan Open in late August earned him a spot on
the traveling team for last weekend's Jayhawk
Wisniewski did not disappoint Warhurst. His finish
in 27:13 for the difficult 8,000-meter course placed
him sixth on the team, 19th in the race. Although he
did not score, his high finish served to bump other
men's cross country stars
runners, keeping runner-up Butler County (Kan.)
Community College a safe distance away. The
Wolverines won the invitational with 30 points.
"It's a pleasant surprise to have a freshman come in
and run well," Warhurst said.
If Wisniewski can maintain such a high level of per-
formance for the remainder of the year, Warhurst
would be more than satisfied.
The young runner also caught the eye of Sullivan,
the team's senior captain.
"Being so limited with scholarships, we rely on
walk-ons" to contribute, Sullivan said.
Wisniewski downplays his initial success. His goals
for this year are broad and open-ended, leaving room
"I just want to keep working as hard as I can, have
fun, and improve," Wisniewski said.
Wisniewski has shown early signs of becoming a
solid runner at the collegiate level, according to
"He works hard in workouts," Warhurst said. "He's
adjusting quite well, and is just going to get better."
No events scheduled
Women's Golf at Lady Northern Invite, State College, Pa., all day
Soccer at Indiana, Bloomington, 7 p.m.
Volleyball vs. Duke, Chapel Hill, N.C., 7:30 p.m.
Field Hockey vs. Louisville, Ocker Field, 10 a.m.
Football vs. Baylor, Michigan Stadium, 12:30 p.m.
Women's Cross Country at Spartan Invite, East Lansing, 11:50 a.m.
Women's Golf at Lady Northern Invite, State College, Pa., all day (continues
Softball at Traverse City Fall Tourney (exhibition), all day (continues Sunday)
Men's Tennis at Tom Fallon Invitational, South Bend, all day (continues
Men's Tennis at National Clay
Court Pre-Qualifier, Baltimore, all day
on goes from linebacker to
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"When should I
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The Baylor Lariat
WACO (U-WIRE) - Most ath-
letes Would agree that life's lessons
can be learned on the playing field,
but few can attest to this like Dean
Jackson, a Groveton, Texas, senior,
lettered three years for the Baylor
Aotbal team, and had a successful
The all-conference linebacker
holds his place in the Baylor record
books for the most career intercep-
tions by a Bears linebacker, with
seven, bettering NFL stars such as
James Francis and Mike Singletary.
Going into his senior year, Jackson
was a recognized leader for the team,
bothoon and off the field.
"I think Dean was one of our best
aders over the past few years," said
Chucki Reedy, former Baylor head
"Other players really looked up to
But 'n a routine play, in a non-
confTerdnce game, Jackson's senior
year Was stripped away.
"You take so much for granted ...
until' the one day when you don't
have it;' Jackson said.
#oi Sept. 21, 1996, in the second
quarter of Baylor's home opener
against Oregon State, Jackson's life"
woufd take a dramatic turn. As an
Oregon State fullback barreled
through the line, the Baylor middle
lirebaeker lowered his head to take
A split second later, he was lying
on thdturf of Floyd Casey Stadium,
yjable to feel his hands and feet.
wly, as he laid motionless on the
ground, Jackson began to feel train-
ers squeezing his hands.
It would take smelling salts to
bring him back around, but Jackson
retuted for 20 more plays in that
gantr according to an Associated
Two days later, Baylor team doc-
tors took X-rays of Jackson's neck to
determine the severity of the injury.
ut the initial tests showed no dam-
e to Jackson's neck, and he was
cleared to play.
Since no damage could be found,
trainers treated the injury as muscle
And despite the pain, Jackson fin-
ished, the season, playing in eight
mQre games for the Bears.
"If we had known he had the
injury, ;we wouldn't have let him
*iy," Reedy said.
"Hewas going through more than
any pf us knew."
Jackson had a solid season, lead-
in the, team with 114 tackles and
But according to the Associated
Pressl reports, Jackson was in con-
stant pain, taking as many as 12
pain-killing tablets per day during
So after enduring three months of
excruciating pain, Jackson had a sec-
ond MRI performed and a fracture
Surgery in December was able to
repair the damage sustained in the
hit, but left Jackson unable to play
his final year of eligibility.
"I would not wish what happened
to me on anyone else," Jackson said.
"If there was one person that this had
to happen to, I would want it to be
me. I really would."
"I had the resources to handle the
injury: my fa ily, my faith, my
According to Jackson, the next six
weeks of his life were spent laying in
bed, watching old movies and read-
At times, his neck hurt so much he
could not sit up straight, and his fam-
ily became even more important.
After years of taking care of his
mother and younger brother, the
tables were turned.
"My mother and brother were
incredible," Jackson said. "You can't
understand how much they helped
me in the hospital, and how much
(Joe) baby-sat me at home. He was
taking care of me like I had always
taken care of him."
Jackson said he was especially
looking forward to his senior year
because it would be his first opportu-
nity to play football with his brother,
Joe Jackson, a freshman defensive
lineman for the Bears.
Looking back over the past year,
Jackson said he would not change
anything that has happened, although
he admits he would not have finished
the season if he knew how serious
the injury was.
So for the first time in 10 years,
Jackson is watching football, rather
than playing it.
While the injury may keep Jackson
off the field, it hasn't kept him out of
Jackson works with the Baylor
football coaches as a student assis-
tant, where his duties include
reviewing game films and scouting
But according to Jackson, working
with the players is the most exciting
"I get to work with the young play-
ers who don't get a chance to play,"
he said, "just to get them fired up
Jackson has enjoyed his new role
with the team, but make no mistake
about it, he wishes he was on the
"As far as this football season
goes, I hate it. You work up to a pin-
nacle in your career, in your whole
"Once that door gets slammed in
your face ... it's really tough."
But another door has opened for
Jackson, who will graduate in
December with a degree in manage-
Prior to the injury, Jackson had
planned to pursue a football career at
the professional level.
But since his injury will keep him
off the gridiron, he has decided to
take his life to the courts -- Jackson
plans to attend law school upon grad-
"It's a miracle I didn't blow off my
entire college career," he said. "If I
had done things differently, I might
be graduating with a 1.8 (GPA), and
I wouldn't be able to do anything. I
would be in a very bad position."
Instead, with the support of his
family and friends, Jackson has put
himself in a good position for his life
Find out the answers to your GMAT and
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