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January 15, 1998 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-15

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 15, 1998
Showdown awaits 'M'

Distance looks to carry men

By Chris Duprey
Daily Sports Vriter
Dual meets have become rare in colle-
giate track. Invitationals featuring multi-
ple teams now fill the schedule of most
major track programs, and the Michigan
women's track squad is no exception.
The chance to go face-to-face with one
other team is now a valuable and unique
The Wolverines travel to Bloomington
on Saturday for a dual. This is the only
dual meet on Michigan's indoor schedule,
and it happens to be against its Big Ten
The Wolverines coasted to an 89-6C
victory last year in Ann Arbor, and all
accounts indicate that the result in 1998
won't be much different.
"They've improved," Michigan sprint-
er Maria Brown said. "But so have we."
Michigan got a small taste of competi-
tion on Sunday when it hosted the
Michigan Open. The Wolverines posted
times that will serve as starting points for
the season. But even in the season's first
competition, there were some notable
High jumper Nicole Forrester earned
herself a provisional berth in the NCAA

Indoor Nationals with a height of 5-10.
Forrester has already established a repu-
tation as one of the Wolverines' premier
Brown kicked off what is expected to
be a fantastic sophomore campaign w ith
victories in both the 55-meter and 200-
meter races.
Women's coach James Henry will
need Brown to help carry the load in the
sprinting events. Last year, the burden fell
on Tania Longe.
Now in her senior year, Longe
should have some of the pressure taken
off her shoulders with the emergence of
In the distance events, Katie McGregor
and Elizabeth Kampfe are expected to
dominate for the Wolverines.
Lisa Ouellet, whose presence on the
cross country squad helped reduce the
team's lack of depth, returns to her
favorite event, the 800-meters.
All in all, Henry expects a strong line-
up to contend for the Big Ten champi-
onship against conference powers Illinois
and Wisconsin, both of which sport top-
notch recruiting classes.
For starters, the Wolverines will have
to take care of business in Bloomington.

Josh Borkin
Daily Sports \titer
The Michigan men's track team will test its legs
on the road Saturday when it travels to
The young Wolverines will attempt to defeat
Indiana in the dual meet, as they did last year in Ann
Arbor, 78-73. This years squad has lost the strength
in its sprint team and will have to depend on its dis-
tance runners carry the lead.
The distance team is led by All-Americas Kev in
Sullivan and John Mortimer. Sullivan will see his
first action of the year after sitting out last week's
Michigan Open.
Sullivan, a fifth-year senior and five-time All-
America should provide superior strength and lead-
ership to the distance squad. He will likely be the
favorite in the mile run throughout the season.
Mortimer, a running mate of Sullivan, has
already earned a bid to the indoor National
Championships in Indianapolis with last weekend's
phenomenal time of 13:48 in the 5,000-meters.
Mortimer will double up in events this weekend,
running the mile and 3,000-meters.
"I was very happy to qualify so early in the sea-
son," Mortimer said. "I believe our distance team is
one of the strongest in the country, and we just want
to earn points for our team."
One explanation for the early success of the dis-
tance squad is the addition of coach and profession-

al runner [odd \\ 1imm Wi ian, an Olimpie
runner, is a graduate of the [tiNersity o Tennessee.
" odd is a prenier runner and he has helped the
distance tealm to improve in the early 2oing:
Mortimer said. I"odd pae' u in the racs and will
take our distanee squad to another leNel
Whe distance runners hi storialy suppy the
majority of points in meets the snrint t s
improvn11Wg. Surprising pertornianesN by yuNge
members w ill be essential for the team's success in
the postseason.
Junior Kevin Bowman cnjoyed his finest day as a
\Volverine last Saturda, running a personal best
22.27 in the 200-meters.
"I hope my perfomance last weekend will moti-
vate my teammates and show them that, with hard
work, we all can run fast and iimproe our times,
said Bow man, Who will also double-up this wCek-
end with performanes in the 200- and 55-metcrs.
The most surprising and promising performiance
last weekend came from freshman pole vaulter
Charles DeWildt. DeWildt impressed the coaches
with his 16-foot-6 vault last weekend.
"I was nervous at the start of last week's meet,"
DeWildt said. "But 1 gained confidence with my
performance, and I believe I can win in Indiana.'
While the sprint team may struggle to earn points
auainst Indiana's talented counterpart, the distance
runners, with the return of Sullivan, hope to earn
invaluable points and spark a Wolverine victory.

Katie McGregor and the women's and men's indoor track
teams will race the Hoosiers in Bloomington this weekend.

Okey leaves Badgers

Wisconsin basketball standout Sam
Okey said Tuesday he is leaving the
team immediately, closing out a dis-
appointing season in which he was
suspended for two games and suf-
fered chronic back pains.'
The decision came after Okey
had been bumped from the starting
lineup by coach Dick Bennett one
day earlier. In a written statement,
Okey, a former All-State player, said
he had lost his enthusiasm to play at
"Three years ago I couldn't wait
to announce my desire to be a
Badger," Okey said in the statement
read by his mother, Amy Okey, in a
Continued from Page 8A
concerned, the passengers in Sunday's
accident were no less lucky than those in
the accident of two years ago.
"When I looked at that car after the
accident. I couldn't believe it." Smith
said yesterday. "I don't know how any-
body walked away from that."
Sound familiar?
For Michigan fans, it should, because
it was spoken with the same deep breath
and slow shake of the head that accom-
panied hauntingly similar comments by
Maurice Taylor after his Feb. 17, 1996
crash. Compare:
"The scariest part was looking back at
the car after we walked away," Taylor
told The Michigan Daily after his acci-
dent almost two years ago. "We looked
at the car and said. 'Damn, how did we
get out.'
in that accident, then-freshman
Robert Traylor broke his arm and
missed the rest of the season, but other
than that, the players were unhurt. It
could have been much worse. But it
And the basketball season went on,
with a game the next day.
And once again, after this accident,
the basketball season goes on - the
Wolverines play at Ohio State on
Saturday. And we go on with our busi-
ness as usual, and that is the end of it for
almost everyone. And, realistically, that
is the way it should be.
But it just seems strange. Had things
bounced just a bit differently, so to

telephone interview.
"My love for this state, its fans.
and most of all, my teammates, has
never wavered. 3ut in basketball
you have to be excited to play and
motivated to practice and work
hard. And although I've tried to
work through it, it is no longer pos-
sible to nurture my love for the
game in this negative environment."
Amy Okey said her son did not
plan to comment further. She said
her son plans to remain at
Wisconsin as a student for the
spring semester, then possibly trans-
fer to another school. Bennett, who
announced the departure, said he
supported Okey's decision.
speak, we might not be so worked up
about the Wolverines' somewhat suir-
prising rise to the early-season Big Ten
Icld. It wouldn't seem nearly so impor-
:ven yesterday days after the acci-
dent the freshmen were still visibly
shaken from their recent ordeal And
Who could blame them? To hear them
tell it. it could have been much, much
"When I saw the way the car looked.
it made me think that there's a reason for
me to be here," Asselin said. "If' I
would've still been in that car when it
stopped - it just makes me think that
I'm here for a reason. There's a purpose
for me, and now I have to find that pur-
One thing is certain: The severity o
the accident has undoubtedly hit home
for Josh Asselin and Brandon Smith. For
the past couple days, basketball was, as
Smith said, "the last thing on my mind."
Why dwell on such near-catastrophes.
you might ask? Why not just be thankful
and move on? Well, it's one thing to just
move on. It's another to realize a second
chance when you get one. For the four
young men driving on M-14 on Sunday
night, that's what happened. They 4,o
another chance.
Nobody involved was seriously hurt
But at the same time. nobody involved is
entirely OK. Not just yet. anyway.
They are lucky.
And it's not because their basketball
team is playing well.
Jim Rose can he rea(ced via email at
Sro.sem'a ti h.eda.


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