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March 13, 1998 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-13

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16 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 13, 1998
Michigan divers begin quest for
NCAA Championships berth

By Jacob R. Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
Luckily for Brett Wilmot, divers aren't
large, heavyset athletes.
Wilmot might collapse under pressure if
they were, because he all but carries
Michigan's entire diving squad on his back,
meet after meet and week after week.
The junior from Wayne, Penn., shoulders
the Wolverines' load again at the Diving
Zone Meet in Miami, Ohio. The meet began
yesterday and continues through Saturday.
..But this is no ordinary meet. This might as
AvelI be the official trials for NCAA
Championships, because only the top 'six
men's finishers and the top seven women's
finishers move on to the season's climax in
'two weeks in Auburn, Ala.
Wilmot clearly has the best shot at quali-
fying for the meet in Auburn. An honorable
mention All-American a year ago on the 10-
meter platform, he was the only Wolverine
who competed in the national champi-
onships last year.
And he made the most of the opportunity.
Wilmot finished 16th on the platform -
his best event - and also placed 31st on the
one-meter springboard and 18th on the
three-meter springboard.
Michigan's most valuable diver is also
coming off a strong performance at the Big
Ten Championships two weeks ago in
Continued from Page 14
After a short break, more teams
come out to participate in light prac-
tices. Michigan's practice was more of
a-slam-fest, showcasing their leaping,
showboating skills in front of photogra-
phers and television cameramen. And it
was the thunderous Traylor, of all peo-
ple, who missed a dunk. His penalty:
five (weakly executed) pushups.
Besides Jerod Ward making a half-
court shot and a playful 3-point contest
Won by Michigan sharpshooter Louis
Bullock, the other entertainment was
the clean-shaven haircuts sported by
Macco Baston, Brandon Smith, Ron
Oliver and Donte Scott.
"We all just kind of decided to go
bald," Baston said. "We wanted to start
off the tourney fresh with a clean scalp
and make a good run at this thing.
"We tried to get Travis (Conlan) to
ao it and Rob (Traylor) to do it. It's
tough to get Travis and Jerod ... we'll MIt
just have to tie them down" "La
As the Michigan players leave the 1
dium, they disappear - yup, you men'
guessed it - behind another curtain.
Michigan fans can only hope that M
behind the next curtain will be a trip to I
the Sweet 16 rather than another early ci
exit from the NCAA Tournament. Cliff

Minneapolis. Wilmot cracked the top five in
all three events and finished second on the
platform, though it was only an exhibition
event at the Big Ten meet.
"I'm going into the Diving Zone Meet
with a lot of confidence coming off a good
Big Ten meet," Wilmot said. "Especially
since I made it to NCAAs last year.
"I was injured early in the season, so it got
off to a slow start. But I've been pretty con-
sistent lately."
Wilmot's second-place finish on the plat-
form at Big Tens this year was somewhat of
a surprise, especially since he won the event
at last year's Diving Zone Meet and auto-
matically qualified for all three events at
"The only good platform divers are in the
Big Ten, and I got second at Big Tens," he
said. "But the guy who won is definitely
Even if Wilmot doesn't bring home the 10-
meter crown this weekend, he still has an
excellent shot at Auburn because the top two
finishers on the platform will advance.
The outlook for the other Michigan divers
is not as optimistic, however. No other
Wolverines made the national championship
cuts last year, and no one else placed in the
top six in any event at the Big Ten
"Of all my divers, Brett has the best

chance of qualifying," Michigan diving
coach Dick Kimball said. "But this weekend
is really going to be a difficult meet, because
only 35 divers in all go to nationals.
No women's divers have an easy road to
Auburn ahead of them. But a couple of them
have outside shots.
"Jill Unikel has the best chance of our
women," Kimball said. "She's got a shot at
the tower event because she's got the most
Unikel finished 13th on the 3-meter
springboard and 17th on the one-meter event
in Minneapolis. But, like Wilmot, her
strength is in the higher dives.
The chances of any men's divers comple-
menting Wilmot and making the top six are
slim. But sophomore Josh Trexler has a slim
"Josh has a shot on the platform," Wilmot
said. "We all had a pretty good practice last
Thursday and that lifted our spirits."
Even if no one besides Wilmot secures a
spot in the NCAA Chanpionships, plenty of
value can come out of the Diving Zone Meet.
"It's a great experience because you see
what's out there," Wilmot said. "Teams like
Notre Dame and Toledo offer a lot of depth,
and we as a team have to sift through it. But
someone like Amanda Crews is only a fresh-
man going in. She'll see what she has to
shoot for next year."

The Michigan men's and women's diving teams traveled to Oxford to compete in the Diving Zone Meet.
The top six men and the top seven women will qualify for the NCAA Championships.
State nips 'M' gymnasts
By Daid De~erde

By David DenHerder
Daily Sports Writer
It was a tale of firsts and lasts at Cliff Keen Arena
last night.
For the seniors of the Michigan men's gymnastics
team, the contest with No. 9 Michigan State marked
the last home dual meet of their careers. It was also
the last dual meet for either team before the Big Ten
Championships next weekend. And maybe most
important, it was Michigan's first chance to reach
the .500 mark in more than three years.
But sixth-ranked Wolverines, favored heading
into the competition, could not overcome missed
routines early in the meet, and fell to the Spartans
According to Michigan coach Kurt Golder, how-
ever, the loss did have a silver lining.
"We reached a seasonal best, and it's certainly
going to help our ranking and help our chances of
qualifying for the NCAA Eastern Regional,"
Golder said. "There's a Iot to be happy about, but we
lost, and we lost to an in-state rival,"
Maybe so, but Michigan's team score is some-
thing else to add to the firsts of the night. The sea-
son-high total of 229.15 is the first time Michigan
has scored above 229 in more than three years. It
also marks the first time the Wolverines have com-
bined to break 32 points on vault in several seasons.
"It's definitely mixed feelings" Michigan senior
and co-captain Ed Ledgard said. "It is a loss for us,

chigan's Jose
iLo" Halo and
the Michigan
s gymnastics
team fell to
ichigan State
ast night in a
ose match at
I Keen Arena.

but at the same time it's a great team achieveml
This is the highest score that we've gotten in quit
few years. We're really proud of ourselves, but w
know we can do better'
Ledgard turned in a strong performance for the
Wolverines, hitting all his routines while addinga
new move to his high bar routine, which resulted i
a 9.35 in the event.
Michigan senior Tim DeGraw captured the Boo
exercise in impressive style with a 9.75, edging ou
Michigan State's Tommy Housley.
Senior Tim Lauring tied with freshman K4
Roulston to lead the Wolverines on the vault with
9.7. Roulston also won the all around competitioi
with a 57.35.
And scores aside, what Michigan-Michigan Stat
contest would be complete without a few ooohs ani
In the middle of his high bar routine, with a:
attentive Ann Arbor crowd looking on, Michigat
State redshirt freshman Chris Weedon hurled him
self toward the ceiling of Keen Arena, missing th
single horizontal bar on his way back to earth.
Weedon's ensuing crash onto the hard mats
everybody but Michigan State coach Rick Atkinso
"He's from Canada. that wvas nothing for himn,
Atkinson said. "tie's probably the toughest guy I'v
ever met, so him wiping out doesn't worry me in th
es faced Thomas, who prides herself on he
ng front improved defense this season, led th
inois on Big Ten in steals, averaging 3.1 p
per game.
own the Thomas also averaged better tha
s, allow- 11 points per game.
heeler to The last time Michigan was play
3 boards. ing this late into March was in 199(
es hung when coach Bud VanDeWege led h
aine, the Wolverines into the second round
tint win, the NCAA Tournament.
The 1989-90 team won a schoo
similar record 20 games and defeate
Johns. Oklahoma State in the openin
tips the round of the tournament. 0
This year's Wolverines hope t
ara said. fare as well, if not better, than the
ebounds, Michigan predecessors. If the
k up and defeat the Bruins, they would mo
likely face host Alabama, a No,
will be seed in the region.
Thomas, For now, however, the Wolverine
in of the are concentrating on UCLA and the
mez, also first NCAA Tournament game
z scored eight years.
r way to "The officials are going to hav
-10 first put on their track shoes," Guevar
said. "Because both teams are gon
e Pac-10 to get up and down the floor. It'llI
a good first-round game."

Continued from Page 14
10 rebounds each game. She became
the first Michigan player ever to be
named to the all-Big Ten first team.
Murray thrived in her role as a co-
captain this season.
She earned a starting spot about a
quarter of the way into the season
and pushed her scoring average to
double digits.
In the Big Ten Tournament,
Murray scored 15.5 points per game
on her way to being named to the all-
Tournament team.
While Michigan relies on its
seniors to lead the team, UCLA is
very young.
Four of UCLA's five starters are
sophomores, including three who
average better than 10 points per
The Wolverines, who start three
guards, might have trouble matching
up against the tall UCLA front line.
The Bruins' three leading scorers,
Maylanna Martin, Marie Philman
and Janae Hubbard, are all more than
6 feet tall.

The last time the Wolverin
a team with a similarly stro
line was at then-No. II Ill
Jan. 11.
Michigan failed to shut d
Fighting Illini's taller player
ing 6-foot-3 center Alicia St
pour in 22 points and grab I
Although the Wolverini
tough for much of the ga
Ilhini pulled out a three-po
Hubbard will present a
challenge to Michigan's
Hubbard stands 6-4 and
scales at 245 pounds.
"She leans on you," Guev
"She gets lots of offensive r
and she's able to put it bacl
Another key matchup
between Michigan's Stacey
last year's Big Ten freshma
year, and UCLA's Erica Got
a sophomore guard. Come
7.6 points per game on he
being named to the Pac
Gomez was second in th
in assists as well,

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