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September 03, 1997 - Image 74

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-03

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6F - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 3, 1997

SPORTS

TEAMS
Continued from Page :L
Title IX established women's sports
programs on campuses nationwide. At
the time, many programs were underde-
veloped.
The women's program was "below
average," Schembechler said. "We'll call
it successful when we have our first
(women's) basketball (conference)
championship."
After last summer's resignation of
women's basketball coach Trish Roberts,
Michigan emerged from the cloud hang-
ing over the program to improve its
record dramatically. Guard Stacey
Thomas was named Big Ten freshman of
the year and junior forward Pollyanna
.Johns led the conference in rebounding.
Michigan improved over last season's
dismal 7-20 finish to this year's 15-11
record. This step forward moves the
women's basketball team closer to
JoSchembechler's ideal.
An unexpected success came in a
sport with less exposure: Bev Plocki's
women gymnasts vaulted into the spot-
light with a surprisingly strong season.
Freshman Sarah Cain took the Big Ten
by storm, catapulting her team to its first-
"ever NCAA regional championship.
Michigan entered the national champi-
onship round as the top seed. While the

Wolverines faltered at the national cham-
pionships, finishing fourth, it was a boost
from past seasons.
"Women's programs have really come
a long way in the last 10 or 15 years,"
Schembechler said.
Another sign of success can be seen in
the hordes of fans attending Michigan
events on campus. For the 22nd consecu-
tive season, Michigan Stadium led the
nation in attendance, despite having the
second-largest facility in the country.
(Tennessee's Neyland Stadium has a
seating capacity of 102,544, while
Michigan Stadium holds 102,501 fans.)
When looking at the Michigan athletic
program as whole, Michigan's top two-
sport athlete, Matt Herr, said that judging
the success should go beyond the results
on the field of battle.
"Coming here is something special,"
Herr said. "There's nothing like it."
After three seasons of double duty
as a forward on the hockey team and
relief pitcher on the baseball team,
Herr epitomizes Michigan's athletic
success.
"When you join hockey, they've
always set the standard," he said. "Now
I've been a part of a team like baseball
who has accelerated their standard. We
weren't even .500 my freshman year and
it's nice to be a part of a team that's
stepped it up."

Guevara improves
women's hoops

By Kevin Kasiborski
Daily Sports Writer
The cover photo of the 1996-97
Michigan women's basketball media
guide is the sun rising over a picture of
the five seniors.
The intended metaphor: A new
beginning.
Daybreak for the '96-'97 Wolverines
came this past July 11. On that day, Sue
Guevara was introduced as interim
coach, replacing Trish Roberts. During
the press conference, Athletic Director
Joe Roberson promised a national search
for ahead coach at the end of the season.
Seven months later, on Feb. 11,
Roberson removed the 'interim' from
Guevara's title with four games remain-
ing in the regular season.
What happened in the interim?
Guevara made Roberson's search
unnecessary by directing a turnaround
in the fortunes of the women's basket-
ball program that was nothing short of
remarkable.
The Wolverines opened the '96-'97
campaign with a 68-54 win over
Kentucky and a 75-55 victory over
Northeast Illinois to capture the Western
Michigan Invitational tournament. The
Wolverines won eight of their first nine
games, and 11 of their first 14. Their only
non-conference loss - a 77-74 near-
upset of No. 1 Stanford.
The Wolverines faced stiffer compe-
tition during Big Ten play, and suffered

through a pair of three-game losing
streaks. Michigan closed out the regular
season by winning three of its last four.
Included among those victories was ta
school-record 107 points scored in a
win over Minnesota.
Michigan finished with a 7-9 record
in Big Ten action, tied for eighth with
Indiana. Overall, Michigan posted a 15-
I1 mark last season, its first winning
record since '89-'90.
Junior center Pollyanna Johns led
Michigan in scoring (15.0 points/game)
and rebounding (12.4 rebounds/game)
for the second straight season. She was
a second-team All Big Ten selection.
Guard Stacey Thomas was named
Big Ten freshman of the year by both
the coaches and media, and is the first
Wolverine to receive that honor.
One of the few disappointments of
the season was the way it ended.
Indiana pounded the Wolverines, 72-
54, in the first round of the Big Ten
tournament. The Hoosiers lead from
start to finish, picking up their third win
of the season over Michigan.
Although it was the Wolverines
third-straight first round exit from the
Big Ten tournament, it couldn't put that
big damper on successful season.
Even more important than doubling
the improvement in won-loss record is
the program's change in attitude. The
players enjoy playing for Guevara.
The sun has finally risen.

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Pollyanna Johns heads for the basket in a game against Purdue. Johns led the
women's basketball team in scoring and rebounding last season.
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The Michigan men's swimming team took the Big Ten championship last season,
but failed to take the NCAA trophy in the March tournament.
After taking NCAAs,
'M falls In nationals

By B.'. Luria
Daily Sports Writer
The 1996-97 Michigan men's swim-
ming team had two goals - regain its
Big Ten crown and win the NCAA
Championship for the second time in
three years. Michigan succeeded in tak-
ing the Big Ten title, but fell short of the
NCAA championship.
The 1996-97 Wolverines featured
five Olympic veterans, including silver
medalist Tom Malchow. Gold medalist
Tom Dolan gave up his final year of eli-
gibility at Michigan to capitalize on his
Olympic success.
Despite the loss of Dolan, and Jason
Lancaster to a shoulder injury, Michigan,
had high hopes for the season.
Michigan traveled to Indiana on
February 27 to attempt to regain the Big
Ten crown claimed by Minnesota in
1996.

Minnesota held the lead through the
first two days of the three-day meet.
Olympian John Piersma helped push
Michigan to victory on the final day, and
was rewarded for his efforts by being
named Big Ten swimmer of the meet.
Michigan then headed to
Minneapolis on March 27 for the
NCAA championships. However, the
Wolverines did not fare well in their
quest to bring home the NCAA trophy.
After finishing the first of three days in
11th place, Michigan climbed to only
the seventh spot in the meet.
Despite winning the Big Ten champi-
onship, the Wolverines left one goal for
which they would have to wait until
1998 to fulfill.
"It was a season of ups and down,
mostly downs," coach John Urbanchek
said. "It looks good for the future
though. We will learn from this year."

By Fred Link
Daily Sports Writer
The 1996-97 season was an up and
down one for the Michigan women's
swimming team. After going 4-0, the
Wolverines lost three straight meets
before recovering to win an unprecedent-
ed 11th straight Big Ten championship.
Early on in the season, the
Wolverines concentrated on swimming
fast and qualifying as many swimmers
as possible for the NCAAs. Despite
loosing All-American Rachel Gustin to
shoulder surgery in October, the
Wolverines opened the season strong
raking up dual meet victories against
Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee,
and taking first place at the
Northwestern Relays and the Miami
University Invitational. By the time
winter break rolled around, eight
Michigan swimmers had swum times
fast enough to qualify for the NCAAs.
Having accomplished their early sea-
son objective, the Wolverines turned
their attention to hard training with the
hopes that they would be swimming
fast when it counted - at the Big Ten
and NCAA Championships. The
Wolverines spent two grueling weeks
in Coronado California at the Navy
Seals training facility training.
Before returning home from
California, a fatigued Michigan team
was convincingly defeated by then-No. I
Stanford and No. 15? California. Two
weeks later, the Wolverines were blown
out at home by No. 4 Georgia 172-130.
At the time, Michigan coach Jim
Richardson insisted that the loosing
streak was nothing to be concerned with.
"I love where we are right now,"
Richardson said. "I can't think of a year

buy the best

in the 12 years I've been at Michigan
where I felt better about where we
than 1 do right now."
At the Big Ten championships, the
Wolverines faced a tough challenge from
Big Ten rival Minnesota. On day three,
the Wolverines were able to pull away,
winning a record I1th straight Big Ten
Title, 99.5 points ahead of second place
Minnesota. The 99.5 point margin
made the meet the fourth-closest finish
in the meet's 16-year history and the
closest since 1993 when Michig
defeated Northwestern by 4 .
The Wolverines were led by senior
Anne Kampfe and freshman and
Canadian Olympian Shannon
Shakespeare. Shakespeare was named
co-Big Ten 5 vimmer of the Year after
winning th '.0-yard individual medley,
the 200 freestyle, and the 100 freestyle.
Kampfe won the 400 IM and the 200
backstroke and finished fifth in the 200
breaststroke.
"I'm just so happy for our team
Shakespeare said. "We've faced some
rough times this year, but we over-
came them."
At the NCAA championships,' the
Wolverines were again led by Kampfe
and Shakespeare, but unfortunately
there wasn't much else. The two com-
bined for 77 individual points. The rest
of the team combined for only 43.5
points in individual events.
Next season, Michigan will look
improve on its finish at the NCAA meet,
Though Michigan lost Kampfe to
graduation, Shakespeare will return to
lead a talented Michigan squad.
"She's a great racer ... and a really
good team person," Richardson said.
"She's fun to have around."
Injunes halt.
women s
harriers
By Chris Farah
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's cross country
team began the 1996 season rankedji
the nation's top ten, and, at first, ever
thing seemed to be going just as planned.
The Wolverines easily won their first
three meets of the year, with runners
placing in the top ten individually in each
competition. Then the season collapsed.
Preseason injuries and a young roster
combined to lead to the Wolverines'
rapid decline from the ranks of the
nation's elite teams.
First came an unexpected loss
Eastern Michigan in the Michigan
Intercollegiate on Oct. 20. Michigan
was out of the nation's top 25, and
things only got worse.
The Wolverines went into the district
meet on Nov. 16 with a lot of tradition to
uphold. Michigan had qualified for the
NCAAs for the last eight years.

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