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February 03, 1999 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-03

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MEN'S NCAA
ASKETBALL
(8) Michigan State 70,
PENN STATE 68
(21) OKLAHOMA ST. 81,
love State 72
Tennessee at
(23) ARKANSAS, inc.

NHL
HOCKEY
Colorado 3,
BOSTON 2
Toronto 3,
TAMPA BAY 0
PITTSBURGH 5,
Buffalo 3
Calgary at
PHOENIX, inc.

UZije Stcjiagm Oat

Tracmng -m' teams
Be sure to check out the women's gymnastics team at
the State of Michigan Classic this Saturday at 4 p.m.
at Cliff Keen Arena. The sixth-ranked Wolverines will
be hosting No. 24 Central Michigan, Michigan State,
Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

Wednesday
February 3, 1999

9

7Return of
confidence ends
Hayes'slump
enior year wasn't supposed to go this way for
Bobby Hayes. After all, he was Michigan's top
returning goal scorer, having bagged 20 last sea-
son-to help the Wolverines to the national title. He was
the -local hero from Westland, ready to take the reins as
assistant captain and make good for Michigan.
Yes, this was the season for Hayes to step out of the
long shadow of Bill Muckalt and
carve his own niche as an offensive
forceain the CCHA.
It definitely started out that way.
yes notched his first goal in a
come-from-behind victory Oct. 16
against Niagara, and all preseason
predictions looked on target.C
Then a scoring slump hit, one that
lingered for more than three months. DUPREY
At first, it wasn't that big a deal. Dape's
Most-of Hayes' production comes Scoop
from behind-the-scenes tasks any-
way-- blocking shots, skating back hard to square up an
odd-man rush or taking the extra second to make the per-
ct pass to one of his wingers.
fBit by bit, though, the scoring slump began to affect
his usually well-rounded game. Hayes began to take fool-
ish penalties, and he wasoften seen pleading his case
with referees to no avail while skating toward the penalty
box.
It was a rare game when Hayes wasn't whistled for
something, and it became a detrimental routine. His rep-
utation with league referees changed from that ofsa
flashy scorer to a frustrated center, and every penalty
reinforced this.
Even worse, his attitude seemed to change, along with
srplay. Normally an upbeat guy, Hayes lost the ability
to stay positive during the slump. He left practice every
day, eagerly anticipating the next game and the next
opportunity to break the skid but wary of the continued
struggles it might bring.
Hayes hit rock bottom in a home victory over Western
Michigan on Jan. 16, when he received a game disquali-
fication for high sticking and the league-mandated one-
game suspension. And with a crucial stretch of games
ahead, Hayes had ample chance to contemplate his role.
Neither his teammates nor his coach ever lost confi-
Once in him - Hayes just had to make sure he hadn't
lost faith in himself.
Last weekend, he finally returned to old form. Facing
conference powerhouses Michigan State and Notre
Dame, Hayes' game was back where everyone expected
it to be this season. His head was in the right place, and
he picked his spots to play physical.
It would be too easy to point out Hayes' goal and
assist against Notre Dame as proof of his return. A boxs-
core only goes so far. Sure his long pass to Mike Comrie
Saturday was one of the best feeds of the season, and
game-tying goal was clutch also.
But the real change was in the explosiveness of his
stride, and the return of the confident attitude that had
gotten him so far in collegiate hockey.
You can see the difference at any late afternoon prac-
tice, not just during the games. Hayes now leaves prac-
tice with a smile on his face, tossing out a joke or two to
those who line the path to the lockerroom. Gone are the
days when he would stare at the ground and clench his
jaw while leaving the ice.
It's a new Hayes - and he didn't arrive a minute too

Gymnast maintains
strong tradition

By Vaughn R. Klug
Daily Sports Writer
In order to maintain a tradition of,
success in college athletics, young
and promising freshmen are impera-
tive.
As for the accomplished No. 6
Michigan women's gymnastics team
that has competed at NCAAs for six
consecutive seasons, it should be
able rely on freshman standout
Melissa Anne Peterson to sustain this
legacy of excellence in seasons to
come.
Born and raised in Shawnee, Kan.,
Peterson has been engrossed by
gymnastics since age three.
"It all began with tumbling class-
es,"Peterson said. "Then when I was
..............} six I progressed to gymnastics and
sfound that I was learning faster than
any of my teammates.",
After watching her older sister,
Amanda, extend her gymnastics
career into the college ranks at
Missouri, Peterson had her sights set
Son collegiate gymnastics by her
:freshman year of high school.
Watching my sister earn a schol-
; a-yshiprmotivatedme to follow in her
footstep, Peterson said Although
my dedication to gymnastics held me
:~?:::~::" back from participating in other
basports, it was well worth it."
zY, Despite the rigors of a four-hour-
. a-day practice routine in high
~ .,.,~. ,. ~ ~schoool, Peterson persevered and in
. doing so drew the attention of sever-
i : Y~r r * . ., fFal prominent gymnastics programs:
Alabama, Florida, Utah, Arizona,
Minnesota, Nebraska and of course,
DANA LINNANE/Daily Michigan.
Melissa Peterson's strength on the balance beam attracted the Interest of lots of gymnastics programs, Obviously siding with the latter,
but Peterson felt best at Michigan.
Gentile lost for entire '99 seaSon

Peterson was intrigued by the
respected academic and gymnastic
tradition that Michigan offered.
"I've always loved Michigan;"
Peterson said. "The girls on the team
were awesome and I knew that I
would fit in well,"
Peterson's fondness for Michigan
was reciprocated by gymnastics
coach Bev Plocki.
"In club gymnastics she was a
solid competitor on balance beam,"
Plocki said. "That is a strength that
we really look for while recruiting.
"On the beam, some have it and
some do not. Peterson chose difficult
routines and consistently made
finals which impressed me."
As a Wolverine, Peterson has
already made a statement with her
significant contributions on the bal-
ance beam.
Participating in just her second
collegiate competition, she finished
third on the beam with a 9.800
against Massachusetts.
"1 was really nervous -at first'
Peterson exclaimed. "The greatest
feeling was being able to help 'my
team out in a meet."
While competing against No. 11I
Ohio State and Rhode Island' on
Saturday, Peterson secured a second-
place finish on beam with a 9.750.
As opposed to her days as a mem-
ber of the Kansas Gymnastics and
Dance Center, Peterson enjoys hav-
ing teammates like Sarah Cain and
Lisa Simes whose talents she. can
look up to.
"I had always been the best on
team in the past," Peterson said.
See FAB FROSH, Page 10

Second back surgery
By Rick Freeman
Daily Sports Editor
For Melissa Gentile, softball season
ended seven months early.
The Michigan catcher didn't know it
at the time, but when she awoke on Nov.
6 last year, she could feel it. Her back,
which she had coaxed through two sea-
sons, was worse than ever.
Following surgery at the University
Hospitals, her doctors told her she
would miss the entire 1999 softball sea-
son.
"Anytime you lose 60 RBIs, 20 home
runs, it's just a blow," Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins said. "If every kid on
the team picks up 40 points, we'll make
that up. Almost"
Gentile had played through the pain
for two seasons. Her back hurt worst
when she would swing and miss, giving
her more than ample motivation to con-

in four years silences biggest bat in M lineup

nect. She was playing on borrowed
time.
And last fall, for one reason or anoth-
er, her time came.
"I don't know, maybe I slept wrong
and I triggered it," Gentile said. "It's
like a sharp pain, from my back down
my legs, down to my feet. Before the
surgery, I had a numbness and tingling
in my feet."
She couldn't turn her upper body
after that, and an MRI revealed she had
two herniated disks, and bulges above
and below those, Gentile said.
So to save her senior season, she had
to sacrifice this one.
With a canyon in the batting order,
Hutchins has not decided on her new
cleanup hitter. Almost the entire order
will need reshuffling to click without
Gentile.
"There's no doubt she's a tremendous

loss to Michigan," Iowa coach Gayle
Blevins said. "A player like Skeeter
makes eeryone better around her.
"The best kids do."
Hutchins said Traci Conrad was a
likely candidate to move to third, and
Tammy Mika or Pam Kosanke might
bat fourth and fifth. Freshman Kelsey
Kollen might be asked to bat leadoff.
Replacing Gentile behind the plate
will be sophomore Kim Bugel.
"I've been really pleased with her.
She has good instincts, she runs the
field well. A catcher's like your captain
out there, they tell everybody what to
do, and she's got really good game
instincts."
OK, Bugel will play catcher. But no
one is asking her to replace the catcher
called Skeeter.
"You don't replace Skeeter, Hutchins
said. "There's only one Skeeter."

- Chris Duprey can be reached via e-mail at
cduprey@umich.edu.

Michigan catcher Melissa Gentile will miss the entire 1999
softball season as she rehabs two herniated disks.

'M' wrestling hits critical stretch of season

Michael Shafrir
y sports Writer
All season long, the Michigan
wrestling team has been going through
what most wrestlers describe as the
hardest conditioning of their lives.
It's a good thing they're getting it
too; if they want to compete in the Big
Ten conference this season.
It looks like their training has been
paying off so far.
'The problem for the Wolverines is
at the Big Ten is to wrestling what
ACC is to men's basketball. There
are no bad teams, the top teams hap-
pen to be the best teams in the country,
and if you take a night off, you'll walk
away not knowing what hit you.
"The Big Ten matches are all going
to be close," said Michigan senior
Corey Grant. "It comes down to who is
M' SCHEDULE
Men's Basketball at
Northwestern, 8 p.m. CST
Men's Tennis at Rolex National
Indoor Championships (Dallas,
Texas), All Day
FrIday. Feb. 5

in the gym early in the morning and
who stays late after practice."
Michigan's tough schedule is high-
lighted by No. 2 Minnesota and No. 3
Iowa.
Michigan lost a close match to
Minnesota, 22-17, and faces Iowa this
Sunday.
Last Thursday's loss to No. 10
Central Michigan, marked the begin-
ning of a streak of six matches for the
Wolverines against opponenets ranked
in the top 15 in the country.
"You never know what's going to
happen," Michigan coach Dale Bahr
said. "But this stretch is going to tell
us a lot about our chances in the post-
season."
After the Wolverines beat Illinois on
Sunday, Bahr had his sights set high
when he looked to the Big Ten

Tournament.
"Before this I would've been happy
with a fifth place," Bahr said. "But
now I think we could place third. And
you never know what's going to hap-
pen, maybe we could beat Iowa or
Minnesota."
Iowa has won 25 straight Big Ten
tournaments, a streak that began in
1974. Michigan's best finish in the
90's was a second place finish in 1991.
FRIEND OR FOE?: When Illinois
came to Ann Arbor last Sunday, it
marked a return for Illini coach Mark
Johnson.
Johnson was a four-time letterwin-
ner for the Wolverines including a
two-season stint as captain in the mid-
seventies. He also was a two-time all-
America in 1976 and 1977.
So was coaching against Michigan a

bittersweet experience?
Johnson said it's all in a day's work.
"It's always a special place for me to
come back to," Johnson said. "But I
coached eight years at Iowa before I
came to Illinois and I know who pays
the bills."
Bahr, who never coached Johnson
but nonetheless is a good friend of his,
said that Johnson is a huge Michigan
fan even though it is now his job to
beat the Wolverines.
"He always talks about the experi-
ences he had when he was here," Bahr
said. "But he's had his troubles beating
us recently, so we'll see how much
longer that lasts."

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