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March 18, 1998 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-18

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 18, 1998

'M' swimmers seek revenge
against Gophers at nationals

By Jacob R. Wheeler
Daily Sports Writer
Don't ask Michigan swimmer Tom
Malchow about the Big Ten
Championships anymore. They're
over and done with.
The Wolverines finished a disap-
pointing second to conference rival
Minnesota just before spring break,
in what many Gopher fans are calling
an historic event. Minnesota ran
away with the cake at the Big Ten
Championships, primarily because of
team depth.
But now members of both teams
have their eyes set on the NCAA
Championships, in Auburn, Ala., on
Mar. 26 - a meet far more presti-
gious than the last.
And because of its individual-ori-
ented style, Michigan may be in a
better position to grab a bunch of
items, not just the cake, off the bak-
ery shelf.
"We know we're better than them,"
Malehow said of the Gophers after
the disappointing loss. "Everybody
knows we're better than them. They
know we're better than them. We'll
seniors on
,the wayv out
By Jordan Field
Daily Sports Writer
Nearing the end of the wrestling
season, it is time for the Wolverines
to realize that next year's team is
going to look a lot different than the
team that finished fourth in the Big
Ten this season.
The Wolverines will be graduating
four All-Americans in Brandon
Howe, Bill Lacure, Jeff Catrabone
and Airron Richardson. The first
three have been four-year starters and
will compete in the NCAA
Tournament this weekend in
Cleveland. For Catrabone and
Richardson, this is their fourth trip to
NCAAs in as many years.
In addition to their NCAA qualifi-
cations, Lacure and Richardson both
won Big Ten titles this season, and all
three have been captain of the team
during their four years at Michigan.
Despite their accomplishments on
the mat, Michigan coach Dale Bahr
says the seniors' absence next year
'may be felt most outside the arena.
"These guys are not just great
wrestlers, they are great people,"
Bahr said. "For student athletes, and
as leaders, these guys have been
ideal, and I know they will be suc-
cessful in life long after wrestling.
"We are going to miss them in the
lineup, but every year, we lose
seniors and find a way to replace
them. The problem with losing these
guys will be in replacing their leader-
ship on the team and in the communi-
Replacing the seniors on the mat
are two former starters who sat out
this season because of injuries. Junior
Frank Lodeserto looks to return from
a shoulder injury for his senior sea-
son while Teya Hill should be back
from a knee injury for his junior sea-
son. Lodeserto was the 190-pound
starter the past two seasons before his
injury. Hill has been injury-plagued

prove that at NCAAs."
The number of qualifiers each
team sends doesn't necessarily back
up Malchow's boast, but the national
championships aren't based on sheer
participation. The team that places
the most swimmers at the top will
Eleven Wolverines will compete in
Auburn -- an impressive amount,
even though it won't match
Minnesota's 15.
But more importantly, three differ-
ent Michigan swimmers are favored
to win a total of four events. The
Gophers will be hard-pressed to
match that.
Michigan senior Derya Buyukuncu
is ranked No. I in the 200 back-
stroke, and fourth in the 100 back.
He just set new Big Ten
Championship records in each of
those events. The nine-time All-
American will also swim the 100 but-
Freshman Chris Thompson is
favored to win the 1,650 freestyle,
'which he has dominated all year.
Thompson shattered the conference

record in that event at the Big Ten
The youngster even managed to
make the often-monotonous regular-
season dual meets exciting this year,
nearly eclipsing former Michigan
standout and household name Tom
Dolan's school record in the 1,650
against Indiana.
Luckily for Malchow, the times
registered January at the World
Championships in Perth, Australia
,count toward national championship
qualification. Just convert the three-
time All-America Perth's time in the
200 butterfly from meters to yards,
and he ranks first in the 200 fly as
well as the 200 freestyle.
Of Minnesota's 15 participants (14
swimmers and one diver) at this
year's national championship, only
junior Martin Zielinski placed in the
top five in any individual event at
last season's finale. The Gophers'
200 medley relay team also finished
fifth last year.
The depth that enabled the
Gophers to upset Michigan for the
Big Ten Championship should be less

Michigan swimmer Tom Malchow has boldly predicted a revenge victory over Minnesota at the NCAA Championships this
weekend. Now, all the Wolverines have to do is back it up. The Gophers won the 1998 Big Ten Championship.

of a factor in Auburn, as Minnesota
just doesn't have the firepower at the
Michigan, however, has a long
resume of NCAA titles that actually
rivals the feats of southern power-
house programs such as Stanford,
Auburn and Texas - the undisputed

top three teams in the country.
The Wolverines have not hidden
the frustration they felt when
Minnesota escaped with the Big Ten
title for the second time in three
years. But make no mistake about it,
Michigan knows that the NCAA
Championships are more important

than the Big Tens.
"You want to do your best when it
matters most," Michigan coach Jon
Urbanchek said. "You want to play
your best basketball at the NCAA
Tournament, not just win the Big T
Tournament. You want to store some-
thing away for the very end."

Women's basketball struggles to find respect

Continued from Page 13
uncontested layup to set the Connecticut record. The Wildcats
then scored an uncontested layup of their own, knotting the
score at two and letting the game begin for real.
Sales hadn't even left the floor when columnists across the
country dove for their laptops and started typing the words
that brought on a national debate.
The integrity of the sport has been compromised.
Sales wont be able to live with hersel/ knowing she didn't
really earn the record.
Sales represents all that is wrong with sports.
And as if that wasn't enough, ESPN The Magazine pub-
lished a report saying Sales was credited with two extra points
in a game two months ago, leaving her still one point shy of
the record.
The fact is, in a few years, Sales'record will be broken and
all this won't even matter. And after everyone has forgotten
about the incident, Sales will have something that no one can
take away from her: a sense that her coach, if no one else,
appreciated what she gave to her team for four years.
At a time when so much is right with the sport of women's
basketball. at a time when the sport needs as much good press
as it can get, it's disappointing that sports writers across the
nation have to focus on the one thing that they decided was
But it gets worse.
Sunday night, UCLA beat Alabama, 74-73, in the Midwest
Region semi-finals of the NCAA tournament, in Tuscaloosa,
Ala. But the officials decided to award Alabama the game.
The officials started the clock far too late - confirmed on
replay - on the final play of the game, and Alabama was able
to get off the winning shot and move on to the Sweet 16.
The NCAA suspended the officials for the rest of the tour-
nament for their mistake, implicitly admitting that UCLA
deserved to win the game - but they refused to award the
Bruins the victory.
This time, the NCAA messed up. The Bruins should have
won the game. And they gave the sports writers an opportuni-
ty to pounce again - and pounce they did.
Women:s basketball can't get anything right.

Brandon Howe, Bill Lacure and Jeff Catrabone will represent the Michigan
wrestling team at the NCAA championships this weekend.

for the past three seasons, compiling
a 21-15 record in his first two sea-
The Wolverines will also look for
help in sophomore Otto Olson and
freshman Matt Brink, both of whom
were redshirted this past season.
Olson started as a freshman last sea-
son and stacked up an impressive 26-
16 record. This year he leads the team
in open-tournament wins with a 13-1
record and was the 167-pound cham-
pion in both the Edinboro and Miami
(Ohio) Opens. His only loss of the
season came at the Michigan State
Open, where he lost in the finals.
Brink, a true freshman, won his first
tournament as a heavyweight at
Edinboro this season and boasts a 12-
4 tourney record.
"Otto has had a great season, and
he will fill right in where Jeff is leav-
ing at 167," Bahr said. "And Matt has
been wrestling great, too. He's been
giving Airron fits all year long at
With those slots accounted for in
the lineup, the team now looks for
leaders off the mat. Lacure and
Richardson, especially, were very
active in the community and on cam-
pus. Lacure was the co-founder and

coordinator of BALANCE, the fresh-
man athlete orientation for Michigan
athletes. He was also a member of M-
PACT, a Michigan peer-advising
trust, and the co-founder of the
Student Athletes Helping to Achieve
Reading Excellence program.
Richardson was a frequent visitor to
local Ann Arbor schools, where he
spoke to students about the impor-
tance of academics and read books to
younger students.
The most logical answer to filling
the shoes of the team leader will be
118-pound Chris Viola, who will be
the Wolverines' only fifth-year senior
next season. Viola was an NCAA
qualifier his freshman and sopho-
more seasons and has been a main-
stay at the top of the lineup for the
"It will be interesting to see who
steps it up next year for us," Bahr
said. "But no matter who it is, it will
be difficult to replace the guys that
we're losing this year. Jeff, Bill and
Airron have been major contributors
to Michigan wrestling for the past
five years, and they will be missed
for their wrestling and for their lead-
ership, both by their teammates and
their coaches."

The Michigan women's basketball team had its second-best
season ever, but still struggles to find respect.
This is what happens when you play NCAA Tournament
games at campus sites.
And pretty soon, everyone forgot about the incredible story
of the Harvard team that shocked top-seeded Stanford on the
Cardinal's home court - if they managed to stay awake for
the 12:30 a.m. tipoff in the first place.
Women's basketball is a growing sport at a fragile st<
The quality of the basketball is as good as it's ever be .
Tennessee's team is perhaps the best team to ever play the
sport. The games are exciting, even without the dunks and the
physical play of the men's game.
It's too bad nobody is noticing.

Continued from Page 13
living chess game.
You can sit back, stretch out, and
enjoy hockey. Pure hockey. Pure sports.
True, there is a hustle and bustle -
almost a controlled chaos --unique to
game day in Yost. The feeling of ner-
vous anticipation when Michigan needs
another goal as time runs down in the
third period. The excitement of know-
ing that this game could make or break
Michigan's tournament hopes.
These same feelings are particular to
this time of year-- a time when the
Wolverines will have to prove just how
good they really are in the CCHA and
NCAA tournaments. Winning or losing.
That's what really counts at this time of

year. That's the only thing that matters if
a team is to continue playing, or end its
season early.
Fans thrive on these feelings - of
tournament time or game day in Yost -
as they should. That's one of the biggest
parts of the sport.
But there's something pure and
unadulterated about hockey in Yost dur-
ing Michigan's practice time. The per-
sonalities of the players become a little
more apparent. The ones who work
harder than others. Those who always
wear a look of serious determination on
their faces, as opposed to those quick
with a smile or laugh.
The sights and sounds sink in a little
deeper than on game day. The cold, still
air. The commands of the coaches as
the team readies for another drill. The
autographs signed for young hockey-
hopefuls as the Wolverines walk off the
ice, or the tours given to groups of
gradeschoolers who made the trip down
to Yost for an afternoon excursion.
Maybe it's all about childhood. As we
grow older, the innocent fun we remem-

ber from our youth becomes more and
more replaced by the adult responsibili-
ties of our relationships and our careers,
Maybe watching a bunch of grown
men howling with laughter, poking fun
at a teammate or playing hockey as if*
they were little kids takes us back to a
time when nothing on Earth was really
important to us.
Numbers and stats don't matter in
practice. Awards don't matter in prac-
tice. Practice is about hockey. Practice
is about teams growing together and
learning, developing chemistry and
friendships. Watching practice is about
taking us back to a time still current to
others, to which we can never return.
Go to the games. Marvel at the chaos
and noise of Yost when it's filled to
capacity. But before you graduate from
Michigan, before the Wolverines' play-
off run is over, learn to appreciate the
cold, still purity of watching hockey
during practice in Yost at least once.
I bet you go back again.
- Chris Farah can be reached at
cfarah alumich.edut.


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