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March 19, 1998 - Image 15

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-19

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'Top-seeded gymnasts
By Nita Srivastava "Throughout the season, we ha
Daily Sports Writer learned to calm down" Michigan
Winning isn't anything out of the ordinary gymnast Sarah Cain said. "With doin
for the Michigan women's gymnastics team. more and more, we know what we
The Wolverines have done it before, and more and it is definitely not as difficult t
than likely, they will do it again. trate when competing."
This Saturday, the Wolverines will advance The Wolverines jumped from th
s the No. I seed to the Big Ten place position to the No. 2 spot,
hampionships in Iowa City, where they will behind only Georgia in the national
look to capture their seventh conference title in They also moved to the first-place
as many years - a feat never before accom- the region, finally surpassing Al
plished. Michigan broke the previous record of which was ahead of Michigan for th
five straight titles last year, capturing first of the season.
place in Minneapolis. "One advantage that we have is
"We feel very ready for this competition," teams may be intimidated becaus
Michigan freshman gymnast Bridget Knaeble ranked No. 2 in the country," Cain
said. "Our last two meets have given us a lot of have won the Big Tens for the past s
confidence as they both tied for our season- a row."
best scores." Knaeble said that the toughest c
Michigan has been steadily improving both for Michigan will probably come fr
its scores and its ranking throughout the sea- Penn State and No. 17 Minnesota.
-son. These factors should prove to be a great sister, Mindy, will be competing for t
:advantage for the Wolverines in the postsea- Gophers.
.son. "It's my sisters senior year and my
M tennis
eady to hit
:the Bucks
By Mark Francescutti
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan tennis team is full of veterans,
with eight of nine players in their junior and
senior years. Ohio State is nearly the opposite
nine of its 13 players are sophomores and
eshmen.
Thus, the stage is set for the battle between
the veterans and the rookies when Michigan
Z(0-0 Big Ten, 5-3 overall) travels to Columbus
n Sunday for its first Big Ten dual match
&garnst the unranked Buckeyes (1-1, 3-9).
The outlook isn't promising for the
Buckeyes, who have only won once in their
.ast 10 matches, and won just one Big Ten
' atchup all last season.
But cheer up, Buckeye fans - this year's The Michigan men's tennis team be
eam could be the best in years. State. Last season the Wolverines
After resting at the bottom of the Big Ten for
the past five years, the Buckeyes have a strong But the Wolverines have dom
incoming class this season. Buckeyes in past seasons, including
"They are much more improved than in past 7-0 win last year in Ann Arbor. This
years Michigan assistant coach Dan ever, the scene shifts to Columbus
Goldberg said. "They had a strong recruiting the Buckeyes have won three of thei
class this past year," matches.
Topping the list of recruits are freshmen "In tennis especially, home court
Chris Porter and Bob Wellstein. definitely helps," Goldberg said.
Porter has had several upset wins over strong Sunday marks the start of the
ig Ten players, including Illinois' Ryan Cary season for the Wolverines, who
at the Big Ten singles championships and hopes for a championship - especi
Indiana's Gabriel Montilla last month. disappointing 6-4 mark and sixth-p
Wellstein also did well at Big Ten singles. at the Big Ten Championships. The V
Junior Ben Basil, the No. 4 singles player, were plagued with injuries througho
has also had success in the past two seasons. son and during the tournament.
Last year, he posted the team's best singles "I think we are going to fare extre
record and this season he made it to the fourth this year," Goldberg said. "We still
round of the singles championship. improving to do throughout the Big
omen's netters face first
conference weekend
By Drew Beaver nationally and have a 4-5 record this
Daily Sports Writer year. They will be looking to pick up

Things started off well enough for their first Big Ten win of the year
the Michigan women's tennis team against the Wolverines. The Illini have
his year. The Wolverines won four of already fallen to Big Ten powers
eir first five matches, with their Wisconsin and Northwestern.
only loss coming at the hands of No. The Wolverines travel to West
12 Tennessee. Layfayette to face No. 50 Purdue on
Then, trouble hit. The Wolverines Saturday. The Boilermakers are 3-5
traveled to California over spring overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten but are
break and came backwith three losses, not to be overlooked, as they proved in
all to teams ranked in the top 30 their most recent Big Ten match. Two
nationally. weeks ago, the Boilermakers upset
Michigan (1-0 Big Ten, 4-4 overall) 21st-ranked Northwestern, 4-3, in a
is now looking to bounce back from victory head coach Mat landolo called
ese losses. "the biggest win in the history of
"We can't do anything about it," Purdue women's tennis."
sphomore Jen Boylan said. Michigan beat Purdue twice last
4And so another test begins for the year, once in regular season action and
Wolverine netters - to rebound from again in the second round of the Big
8- disappointing losing streak and Ten Championships.
come back to Ann Arbor with two Big
-en wins this weekend.
The 24th-ranked Wolverines face
Itlinois in Champaign tomorrow, and
then travel to West Layfayette to face
Purdue on Saturday. Focus is on the
inds of the Wolverines this weekend.
"We understand that we need to 0 S
keep everything in perspective,"
Michigan sophomore Danielle Lund
said. "After last week we need to Be part of a team that wor
maintain our level of confidence." departments to fit their bus
The Fighting Illini are ranked 59th the new University financi
research administration, an

The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 19, 1998 - 15A

off to Big Tens

ve mostly
sophomore
ng routines
are doing
to concen-
cir fourth-
remaining
i rankings.
position in
abama -
e majority
that other
se we are
said, "and
ix years in
ompetition
om No. 15
Knaeble's
he Golden
y freshman

year, and Minnesota is out to get us anyway"
Knaeble said. "Her being my sister throws a lit-
tle twist into the competition"
Knaeble has been nominated for Big Ten
freshman of the year honors and is ranked
among the top 25 in regional rankings in every
apparatus. She has also gained the No. 8 posi-
tion in the all-around competition. Having seen
the Big Ten competition from the stands as a
fan, Knaeble is now looking forward to com-
peting in it.
"As a freshman, I am nervous, but we are all
nervous and excited at the same time" Knaeble
said. "We know that we have to keep this Big
Ten winning streak going."
The Wolverines are looking ahead to the
prospects of another championship to be
gained in Iowa City.
Their .consistency throughout the season
should be a great advantage for the Wolverines
as they kick off the postseason.
"We would almost rather not practice," Cain
said. "We just want to go to Big Tens, compete
- and win."

Lao Haro, here
on the rings, is
one of the
members of the
Michigan men's
gymnastics
team preparing
for the Big Ten
Championships,
to be hosted by
Michigan this
weekend.
WARREN ZINN/ Daily

Nation's top teams vie for
Big Ten gymnastics title

WARREN ZINN/Daily
gins its Big Ten season Sunday in Columbus against Ohio
shut out the Buckeyes 7-0 at the Varsity Tennis Center.

By Jason Emeott
For The Daily
When it comes to national powerhouses, the
Big Ten has its share to choose from. The con-
ference boasts teams of national prominence in
almost every sport, but the quality of gymnas-
tics in the Big Ten is especially impressive this
year.
When No. 8 Michigan hosts the Big Ten
Championships at 7 p.m. tomorrow and
Saturday night at Crisler Arena, six of the
nation's top 10 gymnastics teams will be bat-
tling, not only for the Big Ten title, but for
national supremacy as well.
"It's anybody's game, Michigan coach Kurt
Golder said. "I'd expect all the teams to be at
their best."
Golder said he's anticipating an extremely
competitive meet since the Big Ten's top six
teams are separated by a mere 2.45 points from
top to bottom. The Michigan gymnasts are look-
ing to improve upon their current conference
standing this weekend by leapfrogging a couple
of their closest competitors.
While the Wolverines currently hold the
nation's No. 8 ranking, they still find themselves
as the Big Ten's sixth-best team heading into the
"biggest conference meet in the country"
Golder said. This weekend, the Michigan tum-

blers are hoping for a great performance, as well
as a little luck.
"I just hope we can get by some of the teams
and finish higher than sixth, Golder said. "You
never know. If one of the teams faults, we might
be able to slip into the top three." Golder also
said that solidifying one of the six NCAA East
Regional berths will be a main focus of the
squad this weekend.
In addition to aiming for a stellar overall team
performance, a handful of Wolverine gymnasts
hope to bring home personal accolades
Saturday night. Michigan has four legitimate
individual Big Ten title contenders with senior
Tim DeGraw and freshman Kevin 'Roulston in
the floor exercise, and sophomore Lalo Haro
and freshman Justin Toman on the parallel bars.
While the Michigan gymnasts are expected
to finish sixth in this year's conference champi-
onships, some in the Big Ten have already con-
ceded that the Wolverines will be looking down
at the rest of the competition in the next few
years.
With an exceptional group of freshmen and
sophomores, an outstanding recruiting class for
next season and one of the most respected
coaching staffs in the country, Michigan is
expected to be a national title contender within
the next four years.

inated the
a blowout
time, how-
-- where
r past four
advantage
conference
have high
ally after a
lace finish
Wolverines
ut the sea-
emely well
have some
Ten season

to reach our goal."
But Goldberg knows that his team has two
definitive advantages on its side.
"One, we have a team of primarily upper-
classman - our players, they've been in this
position before - and we have tremendous
depth."
Goldberg also says that the Wolverines
aren't looking past the Ohio State match, but
are treating it as a necessary step towards their
goal of a Big Ten championship.
"You have to take every match seriously"
Goldberg said.

--w.j

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