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February 03, 1999 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-03

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Injury cuts Mortimer's season short

By David Mosso
Daily Sports Writer
No one was more eager for the start
of the track and field season than
John Mortimer. After all, this would
be the year Mortimer would step out
of the shadow of Kevin Sullivan and
become the star of the Michigan
men's track team.
Sullivan, the Wolverines' renowned
all-America and recipient of numer-
ous awards last season, graduated
leaving enormous shoes to be filled.
The obvious choice to replace
Sullivan and lead the Wolverines to
glory was John Mortimer. He pos-
sessed the lofty credentials, as well as
the respect of the entire team.
"John is the man," freshman David
Cook said. "He's a guy we all look up
Last season, Mortimer, a distance
runner, was one of four Wolverine
All-Americans, winning three Big
Ten events. Mortimer captured the
3,000-meter steeplechase, the 5,000
indoor and the 10,000 outdoor.
Entering his senior season,
Mortimer had two major goals.
He looked to cap off his illustrious
Michigan career by leading the
Wolverines to a strong season. In
addition, he hoped a strong senior
season would provide the spring-
board for a professional career in
'M' tumbler
Continued from Page 9
"Watching the leaders on my team
motivates me to work hard so I can
hopefully fill their place."
Peterson has commanded attention
with her efforts thus far, and Plocki
hopes she continues to progress and
maintain consistency on the beam.
If so, she "has the potential to
develop into a leadership role,"
Plocki said.
As for personal goals, Peterson
hopes to qualify and compete in
nationals on beam this season and
eventually show enough improvement
to earn all-America honors.
When taking into consideration the
ability and dedication of Melissa
Peterson, it is a safe bet to assume
that she will be among the top gym-
nasts at Michigan, if not all of
America, in just a few short years.

The script seemed to be laid out.
But, as so often happens in sports,
injury stood in the way of a perfect
John Mortimer has yet to take part
in one race for Michigan this season
and you won't be seeing him anytime
Mortimer entered the season suf-
fering from a knee injury sustained at
the end of last year's cross country
Initially, the injury was not thought
to be serious and it appeared to be .a
matter of time before Mortimer
would rejoin the squad.
But, it 'soon became apparent this
was more than just a speed bump in
Mortimer's drive to the top.
Week after week, Mortimer was
relegated to spectator, and forced to
look on as less heralded Wolverines
represented Michigan in the indoor
This past week, Mortimer faced a
decision athletes often have to wres-
tle with and none wants to make. He
has decided to sit out the remainder
of the season.
"It was a very tough decision,"
Mortimer said. "But deep down, I am
sure this is the right thing to do."
In making his decision, Mortimer
contemplated not just the immediate

effects, but his long-term aspirations.
"The doctors told me if I came
back early I could risk permanent
damage," Mortimer said. "I want to
race for the next 10 to 15 years."
The NCAA granted Mortimer a
redshirt exemption, meaning he is
eligible to return for a fifth season at
The next dilemma facing
Mortimer, scheduled to graduate in
May, was whether to bypass his fifth
year and head straight into the pro-
fessional world or return to Ann
Arbor, with the hopes of making up
for this lost season.
To the delight of his teammates and
all Michigan fans, John Mortimer
will be back for another year to lead
the Wolverines track and field squad.
His knee injury will keep him side-
lined until the end of the spring but
should not factor into next season.
"I will be ready for next year,"
Mortimer said. "I'm already looking
forward to next year."
If Mortimer's knee recovers quick-
ly enough, he will compete in the US.
championships, which is not an event
sanctioned by the NCAA.
John Mortimer entered this season
hoping to fill the shoes left by Kevin
Sullivan. But for now, all Michigan
runners would do well to fill the
shoes of John Mortimer.

Michigan senior John Mortimer will not run the rest of the season due to a knee injury sustained at the end of last year's cross
country season. He will return to the team next year after being granted an extra year of eligibility.
Cleaves hits last-second shot to
push Spartans past Nittany Lions

STATE COLLEGE (AP) - First, Mateen Cleaves won
an argument with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. Then he
won the game.
Cleaves dribbled in on a defender with a few seconds to
play and hit a leaning 10-footer as the eighth-ranked
Spartans escaped with a 70-68 victory over Penn State on
Tuesday night.
He and Izzo debated about which offense to run out of a
timeout with 12 seconds remaining and the game tied 68-
68. Izzo wanted him to run a high post screen and hit the
forward with a cross-court pass. Cleaves wanted to spread
the offense and take the last shot himself.
"Like a good coach would do, I went with the player,"
Izzo explained. "He had the ball in his hands at the end,
which is what we want, and he got the job done."
Cleaves said Izzo didn't take too much persuading -
even though the junior guard had made only three of 11
shots to that point.
"I told him I didn't want to throw a cross-court pass
because that was a little scary at the end of a game," he said.
"And that was a shot I wanted to take, All I wanted to do
was get in the middle, if I had a shot, take it, and if some-
one was open, get it to him."
Cleaves, who scored with .4 seconds left, had 14 points
and five assists in the Spartans' eighth straight win, while
Morris Peterson scored 13 of his 17 points in the second
Michigan State (8-1 Big Ten, 19-4 overall) remained in
first place in the Big Ten.
Calvin Booth had 18 points and eight rebounds, while
Dan Earl added 12 points for Penn State (2-8, 10-10),
which has lost seven of eight games - including four at
home to ranked opponents by a total of lI points. Penn
State lost to No. 21 Indiana 98-95 in double overtime on
"They're a very good basketball team that's just been
unlucky a little bit," Izzo said.

Penn State fumbled away a chance to beat another ranked opponent with a loss to
first-place Michigan State last night.

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To buck up the down-on-their-luck Lions, Penn State
coach Jerry Dunn showed the players a tape of their close
upset wins from last season.
"The key thing is for them to feel good about them-
selves," he said. "We've got to weather the storm."
Trailing 68-65 with a minute left, the Spartans misfired
on two 3-pointers, but Andre Hutson grabbed the rebound
on the second shot and found Cleaves for a 3-pointer at the
top of the key to tie it.
Booth missed a shot at the other end, then Cleaves hit his
"Calvin has really become more aggressive on both ends
of the floor," Dunn said. "I thought he did a yeoman's job
down the stretch. I'm sure he wanted that last one to go, but
it didn't.
Hutson had 14 points and nine rebounds and Antonio
Smith grabbed 11 rebounds for the Spartans, who had 21
offensive rebounds.
"We. were getting a lot of second chances," Izzo said.
"Unfortunately that's because we missed a lot of shots. But
Smith is a warrior and Hutson - they're both very tough
Michigan State had trouble finding its mark in the second
half, and Penn State took a 68-65 lead with 2:05 remaining
on Titus Ivory's 3-pointer.
"Our perimeter guys just seemed to lack some energy
and we didn't do a good job of running the offense at time,"
said Izzo, who called the win "awfully lucky."
Peterson helped the Spartans build a 57-50 lead midway
through the second half. He took it to the hoop once, stole
the ball for another basket and dunked twice after nifty.
passes from Cleaves..
But Penn State went on a 7-0 run when Joe Crispin
picked Charlie Bell and hit a layup on the fast break. Earl
hit a 25-foot 3-pointer to tie it. Two minutes later, Ivory
made two free throws and Penn State led for the first time,
61-59 with 5:38 left.
Girls create
YS controvers
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - They are
known as the Georgia Girls, a group of
some 70 "vivacious" female student-
who spend their winter weekends takS
ing high school football recruits to din-
The program has been around at least
20 years, and is an important part of
attracting some. of the country's best
players to the University of Georgia.
Some say the program is nothing
more than a university-sponsored escort
"Just the fact that these hospitality
teams are all female and the football
players are all male sets up the expec4
tion that what is being given out is sex
appeal," said Victoria Davion, who
teaches a feminist philosophy class.
"They're selling sex appeal as an entice-
ment to come."
Not so, says Dominique Holloman, a
sophomore Georgia Girl.
"We're like hostesses she said. "You
b could think of it as a tour guide."
Last season, Tennessee fans taunt
Georgia Girls at a game, insinuating th
e they used sex to sign players.
The Georgia Girls look for young
s women who are "vivacious, outgoing
c and informative," said Audra Towson,
. the 22-year-old president of the group.
e Recruits notice their looks. Bulldog

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