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January 15, 1998 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-15

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 15, 1998 - 9A

'M' men's gymnastics
to brave Windy City
in opening meet

Women gymnasts
look toward youth
Freshman Knaeble faces sister, Mindy,
as the Wolverines head to Minnesota

By David DenHerder
laiiv Sports Writer
The Michigan men's gymnastics
team will kick off its second season
under head coach Kurt Golder this
Saturday at the Windy City
Invitational in Chicago.
After a winless season in 1996, the
Wolverines notched seven victories
when Golder stepped in last year.
Saturday's meet should give the
team a good idea of where it stands
his year. The competition will fea-
ure at least seven teams, including
Big Ten heavyweights Iowa and Ohio
State.
"A goal this year is to be in the top
three in consistency in the Big Ten,
as far as hit-and-miss ratio," said
Golder of the upcoming season.
"We're not one of the stronger teams,
so in order for us to get by some of
these teams in the Big Ten, we're
oing to have to beat them on consis-
ency."
Golder will seek such consistency
frOm a relatively young team. Ten of
the 14 gymnasts competing this year
are either freshmen or sophomores.
In" fact, sophomore Jose "LaLo"
Haro joins senior Edwin Ledgard as
co-captain.
"4LaLo is a very talented guy,"
Golder said. "He really sets the tone
or people to live up to on the com-
etitive floor."
Haro is a strong all-around conm -

petitor for the Wolverines. Last year
lie led the team in pommel horse,
still rings, vault, parallel bars and
high bar while finishing II th in the
all-around competition at the NCAA
Championships and making the All-
Big Ten team. H aro is the first repre-
sentative from Michigan since 1978
to receive All-Big Ten honors.
Expectations are also high for the
team's five-man freshman class, on
which Golder is counting to fill the
holes left by graduating seniors.
Michigan's top true freshmen,
Justin Toman and Kevin Roulston,
are both expected to compete on
Saturday.
But extra precautions will be taken
with regard to Toman, who is still
recovering from an ACL injury sus-
tained last spring.
"Unfortunately, Justin came into
the season not fully rehabilitated,"
Golder said. "We're having to do eas-
ier dismounts with him, and having
to stay away from floor and vault. I
suspect he will probably compete in
three events for us at the Windy
City."
Sophomore Bryan Pascoe is recov-
ering from reconstructive ankle
surgery, and will compete in the all-
around this weekend for the first
time in 18 months.
"We're all real excited for Bryan."
Golder said. "We're all hopeful
things go real well for him."

By Nita Srivastava
Daily Sports Writer
In competition, rivalry is often to be
expected, especially among schools in
the Big Ten. But what's more interesting
is when one athlete's rival is also her sis-
ter.
Such is the case with freshman Bridget
Knaeble of the Michigan women's gym-
nastics team, as she prepares to take on
her Golden Gopher sister, Mindy, in a
dual meet at Minnesota this Saturday.
"It is a little bit more pressure because
all of my family is going to be there,"
Knaeble said. "But I am just going to do
my routines like I always do and try to
treat this like any other competition."
This will be the 28th meeting between
No. 4 Michigan and No. 13 Minnesota,
with the Golden Gophers holding a 4-3
advantage in dual meets. Both teams
started the season strong with Michigan
beating No. 19 Ohio State and Minnesota
defeating No. 6 Alabama.
"Minnesota has been getting stronger
every year," Michigan coach Bev Plocki
said. "It will definitely be a contest for
us, and it would be huge for (the
Gophers) to say that they beat both
Michigan and Alabama in their first two
meets of the season."
Junior Kathy Burke said that consis-
tency is the key to a good performance
for the Wolverines. Michigan lost two
seniors last year and is looking for four

new freshmen to pick up the slack.
"Bridget Knaeble, as a freshman, has
been a Godsend to our team"Burkesaid.
"She competes like an upperclassman.
All of these freshmen understand the
meaning of the word 'team'."
Due to a few minor injuries, some of
Michigan's top performers may not be
competing in many events in Minnesota,
in order to avoid further injuries. Nikki
Peters will still compete in the uneven
bars despite her sore ankles, while Sarah
Cain's status may depend upon the con-
dition of her bruised heel.
"It is very important that we keep our
team healthy," Plocki said. "We are not
that concerned with whether or not we
are scoring the highest at this point,
although we still want to win. We just
want to gain experience and confidence."
At this early point in the season, thl
Wolverines are balanced, with no one
dominant event. Plocki said that one of
Michigan's strengths lies in the unity of
the team, and this should remain a
strength throughout the season.
Although Minnesota will have the
home advantage, the Wolverines are
motivated by each other and the team's
overall attitude.
"My philosophy, and what I try to
teach to the girls, is that we think about
today, today, and tomorrow, tomorrow.
This should help us throughout the sea-
son," Plocki said.

MARGARET MYERS/Daily
Jose "LaLo" Haro, an All-Big Ten selection last year, leads the Michigan men's
gymnastics team in its season opener Saturday at the Windy City Invitational.

Roulston is healthy and expected
to compete in all six events for the
Wolverines.
Aside from the intrasquad meet on
Dec. 7, this will be the team's first
bout in the competitive arena, and
nerves may affect on personal scores.
"This is really our first time out,"

Golder said of the Wolverines' sea-
son opener.
"Adrenaline has unusual ways of
working. Sometimes it works for
you, sometimes it works against you,
and under the stress of competition
we'll get a good indication of where
we stand."

Eagles up next for 'M' women's swimmers

By T.J. Berka
Daily Sports Writer
Student-athlete is a term that is
nentioned on college campuses often
nough to be considered a cliche. In
many cases, however, the word stu
dent-athlete is a paradox, a combina-
tion of two totally opposite things.
That is not the case for the
Michigan women's swimming and
diving team. Due to the classes that
the swimmers were taking, the team
could only conduct two fully attended
practices per week in the fall
"The No. 1 reason to be here is te
*et a degree," Michigan coach Jim
Richardson said. "We don't tell the
swimmers not to schedule a class
because they might miss practice. We
are here to get an education."
With that said, the Wolverines are
hoping to use their dual meets to build
up the team concept necessary 'o con-

tend for the Big Ten championship
and perform well at NCAAs. They
start that mission Friday night with a
meet at Eastern Michigan.
"We want to see how people stand
at this point of the season,"
Richardson said. "We want to see how
the girls perform when they are tired
and assess our workload from there."
Michigan will be going into the
meet having benefited from a meet in
Hawaii over winter break. In the
Rainbow Invitational, the Wolverines
swam laps around the competition,
winning the meet by a whopping 164
points over Notre Dame.
"I think that this team finally bond-
ed in Hawaii," Richardson said. "We
had a difficult fall as far as workouts
were concerned, so we went to Hawaii
with the No. I goal of finding our
mission for the season.
"I think this team trained as well as

any other team I've coached and we
accomplished a lot of what we wanted
to accomplish in Hawaii."
One swimmer who has accom-
plished a lot in a short time is fresh-
man Kasey Harris. A native of
Concord, Calif.. Harris set a Rainbow
Invitational record in the 200 butter-
fly with a time of 2:01.12, more than
two seconds faster than the next fin-
isher.
Along with setting records, Harris
is one of three Wolverines to have
already qualified for NCAAs in
March, joining Talor Bendel and
Shannon Shakespeare. Shakespeare, a
native of Canada, qualified with a
10th-place finish at the World
Championships in the 100-freestyle.
While these swimmers are set for
the season, the Eastern Michigan
meet will serve as a place for other
swimmers to make their mark. The

main goal for the swimmers will be to
qualify, not necessarily to win.
"Swimming is different because
you don't go out every meet trying to
do your best," Richardson said. "All
meets are simply a momentary assess-
ment to evaluate where we are and
what components we really have.
"Don't get me wrong, the No. 1
thing we hope to do is to do well, but
our main goal is NCAAs for some
and Big Tens for others, not how we
do in our dual meets.
On a team with an average GPA of
3. 1, much of the athletes' time is filled
with schoolwork, and the Wolverines
hope that their upcoming dual meets
unite them for the more important
tasks ahead, such as winning a 12th
consecutive Big Ten championship.

SARA STILLMAN/Daily
The Michigan women's swim team will leave the books behind and travel to
Ypsilanti on Friday night for an early season tune-up against Eastern Michigan.
Three members of the team have already qualified for NCAAs this season.

---.i

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