22 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 20, 1999
CHERRY PICKIN' DADDIES
Golf duo cultivated game in Michigan's Cherry Capital
By ARUN GoPm 1 DAL:Y SPoRTs WRITER
raverse City. The city has long been
known for its magnificent cherries. More
cherries come out of Traverse City than
the rest of the world combined.
Traverse City. The city has earned a reputa-
tion as one of the most picturesque cities in
America. Located on the banks of Grand
Traverse Bay, Traverse City has attracted many
tourists for its scenery, including Sleeping
Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and its water-
Traverse City. The city is well-known for its
Yes, that's right. Traverse City has a number
of golf courses in the area and is rapidly
becoming a golfing haven in Michigan.
Direct results of this golfing boom can be
seen on the Michigan men's golf team, which
boasts a pair of Traverse City natives, Brian
Seipke and Kyle Kilcherman.
Seipke and Kilcherman aren't just two of the,
top young golfers on the Michigan team;
they're also cousins. As high school team-
mates, they led Traverse City High School to
its first state title in 1996. In the state finals,
Seipke, who only began golfing in tournaments
when he was 12, carded a school-best round of
In choosing a school, golf was not the single
motivation for either player.
For example, Kilcherman's decision was
affected by the prestige associated with
"The academic reputation was a big selling
point for me," Kilcherman said. "The clout that
goes along with U-M was hard to pass up"
While it may seem that there was some plan-
ning involved in the two cousins both landing
on the Michigan golf team, that is not really the
case. Both Seipke and Kilcherman said, their
dual arrival at Michigan was not something
that they had specifically mapped out.
"It was pretty strange," Seipke said. "We had
always had different academic aspirations and
ideas of what we wanted to do with ourselves.
We talked about where we were planning to go
a little, but when we both ended up here, we
did think, 'Wow, that's kind of weird."'
"We both knew that we wanted to play golf
in college," Kilcherman added. "It was pretty
strange when we both ended up at Michigan."
Both Seipke and Kilcherman developed in
high school under the expert tutelage of coach
Seipke said he felt that both he and
Kilcherman learned a lot during their years
working under Lober.
"He really helped organize us tourney-wise
and meet a lot of people in the world of golf,"
Seipke said. "We all had coaches to work on
our games with us, so coach Lober didn't
spend a lot of time with us on those things. You
could say that he taught us a lot about every-
thing that doesn't have to do with strict golf-
Lober is reportedly one of the candidates for
the soon-to-be-vacant Michigan State head
coaching job. Seipke said Lober would be a
good addition to the Spartan program.
"He runs one of the best programs," Seipke
said. "I think that he'd bring in a fresh face and
a new perspective to their team.
"He doesn't have as many collegiate connec-
tions as some other coaches might have, but I
feel that he could more than overcome that
with his organization and his ability to lead a
Current Michigan coach Jim Carras recruit-
ed both Seipke and Kilcherman.
Carras said that he saw the players playing in
summer tournaments and "liked everything
that (he) saw".
But he said that he first learned about the
two players in part because of the strength of
the Traverse City golfing program.
"Coach Lober has had an outstanding pro-
gram up there for a long time, and they've pro-
duced a number of good players," Carras said.
"Any time you see people playing in a program
like that, it catches your attention."
Carras noted the contrasting styles of Seipke
and Kilcherman in terms of their strengths and
weaknesses as golfers.
"Kyle is very strong and very long off the
tee," Carras said. "He was an All-State tennis
player in high school, so he's very athletic.
However, he didn't play a lot of golf, so he's a
little bit behind on experience.
"Brian is almost the opposite. lie's pretty
average in terms of his length off of the tee,
and his long irons are probably his biggest
"But, he's able to make up for some of that
because he has one of the better short games.
Even if he misses the green with his irons, I'm
confident that he can get up-and-down."
As two young mentbers of a very young
Michigan team (every golfer will be returning
next season), both Seipke and Kilcherman have
had their share of struggles this year. As
Kilcherman put it, "It's been a learning experi-
ence to some degree."
Seipke, demonstrating some of the unflappa-
bility that earned him praise from his coach,
noted the gradual improvement that has come
through the adversity.
"I still feel like I'm struggling a bit," Seipke
said. "I've been trying to get it back, but it's
frustrating going out and shooting a score and
then knowing that you can do better.
"I'm starting to get more comfortable here,
though. Gradually, I feel like I'm getting to the
point where I can do what I'm capable of doing
on the course."
The cousins had a tough time pinpointing
one event which stood out in their minds as the
most memorable experience of their golfing
careers. In the end, though, they both settled on
the same thing.
"Winning the high school state title in 1996
was great," Kilcherman said.
Added Seipke: "Individual awards are fun,
but with the state title, you go as a team, and
you win as a tearln. It was frustrating not to
have won a couple of years earlier, so it was
good to finally get it done."
Carras said that while Seipke and
Kilcherman could both develop into top-flight
golfers, it was still too early to tell how good
they are going to be at this point.
"It's hard for freshmen to step in right away;
usually, they redshirt," Carras said. "They have
to pay their dues for a year. That's what Kyle
and Brian did, and I'm counting on both of
these guys for a couple of years."
Carras said the key for the Traverse City
natives will be how much effort and dedication
they are willing to put into their games after
the school year ends.
"Ideally, every player will get better each
year, but that doesn't happen all of the time,"
Carras said. "What I have to do while recruit-
ing is to try and project. Will they get better?
Both of these guys need to keep playing in
summer tournaments to continue improving."
With any young athlete come visions of
grandeur: dreams of team championships and
individual honors are commonplace.
Kilcherman, though, was somewhat reserved in
his assessment of his goals for his Michigan
"I'd like to see the team and the program's
reputation improve," Kilcherman said. "I
would also like to continue improving as a
"I think a team championship during my
time here is certainly not out of the realm of
possibility. Winning a team championship isn't
a one-man job, though. The question is, how
much does everyone improve over the next few
As redshirt freshmen, Seipke and
Kilcherman each have three years left to real-
ize all of their goals as collegiate golfers.
With hard work and some good fortune, the
cousins may some day find themselves in a
position similar to 1996: smiles on their faces,
a championship trophy clutched in their hands,
all of Traverse City beaming with pride.
Continued from Page 21
runs in last weekend's three-gam
series against Northwestern.
The return of catcher and las
year's homerun leader, Meliss
Gentile, should be an asset th
already explosive Michigan linp.
Gentile made her first appeasanc
last weekend after undergoing' 'ac
surgery in November. In fati
Michigan's series againsth
Wildcats, she drove in the fir tyru
of the last game.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchin
said that the status of Gentile's p
is still unknown along with w e
she will return as catcher th a
son. But she will be in the line-p a.
a designated player in this '
After the series with the Sp s
next weekend will also provid i
competition for the Wolver1es
Michigan will travel to Iowa to .fac
its conference rivals, the N
Hawkeyes in Iowa City.
The Wolverines have alkd
faced the Hawkeyes this sea a
the Sacramento State a
Classic. Michigan won the fir n
test but the two teams tied - ,h
But the goal for the Wolve
simple. They want to host t i
Ten Championship. And thi e
pits Michigan against two tea a
are currently challenging it for tha
'The goal is always to hosti
Tens," Hutchins said. "I like the ay
the team is positioning themselves
The Wolverines have altad
secured a winning record fr, th
season, but this week will po tlh
next test for Michigan. These win
are crucial in order to secure the Big
Ten title and rights to the conf nce
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Johnson
& Johnson became the first sponsor to
abandon the scandal-ridden Olyics,
backing off an estimated $30 million
deal for the 2002 Winter Games.
Company spokesman " John
McKeegan on Sunday blamed the deci-
sion on internal disagreements out
how to link the company's many 6Js
under a sponsorship umbrella in time for
the Salt Lake City Games. But he
acknowledgedthat Olympic bribery was
"We can't saythat it didn't have any-
thing to do with it," McKeegan said. "It
was certainly in the background."'
The Salt Lake scandal sparked several
investigations after it was revealed the
city's bid committee offered $1.2 ni
in cash, scholarships and other gi s to
International Olympic Committee nem-
bers and their relatives during the suc-
cessful campaign to win the games.
Ten IOC members havebeen removed
orhave resigned afterbeing linkedtothe
cash payments and other vote-bying
inducements. Ten others have bee sen-
sured or warned about their actiin in
the worst ethics scandal in the history of
the modern Olympics. n
Johnson & Johnson, a healtIC e
product company in New Brun .ck,
N.J., had just signed a letter of intent to
increase financial support when the
bribery accusations surfaced late last
"The sponsors that we talk to are
assessing the environment in which we
find ourselves every single day," said
John Krimsky, deputy secretary general
of the U.S. Olympic Committee an e
games' chief fund-raising officer. d
when they have to invest millions of dol-
lars and the reputation of their products
and services they have to be very, very
Though Johnson & Johnson has never
oeen a full sponsor for the games, ithas
provided its products to athletes through
the USOC for about 20 ydars.
McKeegan said that relationship would
coims id the company p
back in January or February, e
Olympic organizations finished invsti-
gating and implementing reforms. And
he added that the door is still open for an
agreement fors2002 because company
officials have since met with SaltI sake
Organizing Committee head Mitt
But since the revelation that Salt Lake
bid executives wooed IOC memberswvith
bribes, no new sponsorsihave signet.
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