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February 15, 1999 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-15

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 15, 1999 - 3B

BY~apael Gooddteln
Idily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's tennis team
played Western Michigan on Saturday
in a meet that put to rest any doubts
about its potential.
It had been two weeks since the
Wolverines last played. Prior to the
break, the team had been off to its best
*art since 1995-96 and this weekend
it needed to stay sharp.
It did, and beat the Broncos, 6-1.
"We were pretty crisp out there. You
never know how you'll play after two
weeks off, but all-in-all I thought we
were pretty sharp," Michigan assis-
tant, coach Dan Goldberg said. "We
had a couple of pretty good weeks of
Keeping the team sharp was junior
s-captain Matt Wright. Wright start-
ed out strong, as he and partner Danny
McCain beat the Broncos' No. 1 dou-
bles: team of Ryan Tomlinson and
Steve Pillon, 8-6. Wright then defeat-
ed Western's No.1 singles player
Mohammed Dakki 6-3, 6-2.
"Our team has been working harder
than we have all year these past two
weeks - I know I have," Wright said.
McCain was also successful at No.
singles defeating Pillon 6-2, 6-2.
"I was well-rested and that really
helped me out," McCain said.
Senior co-captain Will Farah, who
had the flu, lost to Ryan Tomlinson 6-
4, 6-3. Farah was trying to move into
sixth place on the all-time career sin-
gles victories list. But on Saturday,
Farah was the only Wolverine to lose.
His loss came after he and doubles
rtner Brad McFarlane beat the
oncos' No. 2 doubles team of
Mohammed Dakki and Jeff Brink, 8-
1 lost my voice after the doubles
match and have been feeling nauseous
al 'day,"Farah said. "I need to contin-
ue to work on my serving and volley-
'Another question the team had to
answer was how would it rebound
from its first loss of the dual season, a
defeat at the hands of Virginia.
ey recovered well, turning in an all-
around solid effort.
Freshman Henry Beam added to his
team high total of 13 singles victories
after beating Jeff Brink, 6-4, 6-4.

Rose Beef

Who says wrestlers are just
musde heads? Not me

As far as I can tell, there's a
certain stereotype when it
comes to wrestlers. There's a
definite feeling out there, I per-
ceive, that the average wrestler
tends to be less than the average
scholar - and the current populari-
ty of such spotlight-seekers as
Vince McMahon and his World
Wrestling Federation does little to
combat that feeling.
The term "wrestler," while often
legitimately synonymous with the
term "muscle bound," is also, unfor-
tunately, quite frequently interpreted
to mean "muscle head."
This, of course, is pretty unfair.
Lots of athletes are muscle heads -
not just wrestlers.
Just kidding, of course. The
stereotype is more wide-
spread in wrestling WhO.
though.-because of the had ti
grueling nature of the afte
sport. Divers, for exam- to 9
ple, don't necessarily car a
suffer from the same
stereotype. But again, at dlio
the risk of infuriating all-
wrestlers and/or muscle heads on
campus, the point is this: It's just a
The truth is that this year's group
of Michigan wrestlers has been
through more in the past year or so
than many people go through in a
lifetime. And yet the team is replete
with its share of characters.
There's junior Otto Olson, who as
an enthusiastic freshman earned a
reputation in West Quad as the best
DJ around. His room, filled with
electronic equipment all year long,
was more often than not thumping
with his latest mixes. He's since
developed something of a following
on campus, as the guy who puts the
"Otto" in "Otto-matic Mobile
Music" (that's the official business
card slogan). And, oh yeah - he
was also 27-3 going into this week-
end's match.
There's also Chris Viola. He's a
fifth-year senior on the team and
has been an NCAA qualifier twice
in his Michigan career. But last
year, after wrestling season was
over, Viola decided he needed to
take some time off. So, he got in a
car and drove away - to "find him-
self," so to speak - to the western
states. And apparently, he found
himself - or at least someone who.
looks a lot like him, and, coinciden-
tally, can also wrestle - because
he's back this year, and is ranked in
the top 10 nationally in his weight
There's Frank Lodeserto, too -
he missed all of last season with a
shoulder injury, then had surgery to
correct the problem in March. Not


only is he back on the mat this sea-
son, he's also the captain.
Now, truth be told, none of this is
exceptionally new territory for your
average college student. Who hasn't
had the urge, after all, to get in a
car and just drive off? And what's
college life without a little adversi-
ty? And don't most of these guys go
to school for free, anyway? Why
defend them, of all people?
Lest you think I'm getting carried
away extolling the virtues of the
wrestling team, consider this, too:
Last year, there was a wild card.
Jeff Reese.
On Dec. 9. 1997, Reese, then a
junior on Michigan's wrestling
squad, died while training for an
upcoming meet. His death has since
spawned, in large part,
taSn't major changes to the
Surge ways in which college
Sal; wrestlers can prepare for
fin a matches. But the imme-
d jdiate impact, for Reese's
family and friends, was
Of devastating.
And suddenly, all of
those other things seemed trivial.
It didn't seem to matter much,
anymore, whether class was at 9 or
10 in the morning, and it didn't
really matter whether a match pro-
duced a win or a loss, and it cer-
tainly didn't seem to matter whether
there was a wrestling stereotype in
one direction or another. None of
that seemed very important.
But as you might expect, one of
the results of all this was that the
wrestlers - a generally close group
to begin with - became even
tighter in the face of the tragedy.
The team, left with no other choice,
bound together and stuck it out.
In the wake of Reese's death, col-
lege wrestling changed dramatically.
Training methods were examined
and weigh-in rules were modified.
Many teams have struggled with the
new guidelines, and Michigan's is
no exception. Still, the team has
done well, and despite some poten-
tially huge graduation losses, is
ranked No. 9 in the nation at 9-4 (4-
2 in the Big Ten).
The circle of teammates changed
a little bit with the start of the new
season, as it tends to do with col-
lege teams. But the Wolverines have
remained awfully tight, and with
yesterday's win, they inched a bit
closer to the much-anticipated Big
Ten Championships of March.
Are there any future Stone Cold
Steve Austins on this year's squad?
Probably not. But then again, we
wouldn't want to group these guys
with the muscle heads anyway.
- Jim Rose can be reached via
e-mail atjwrose@umich.edu.

Junior Matt Wright smacked a strong performance against Western Michigan this past Saturday netting wins in both doubles
and singles play.

"Just being around this group of
guys and (these coaches) have put me
in a great situation, there's really no
better preparation for matches than
that," Beam said.
Beam said that over the next few
weeks he will be implementing new
parts to his game.
"I think that you might see a change
in me," Beam said.
The team will take another two
weeks off before their next match,
against Boise State on Feb. 28.
"It's nice to have a couple of weeks
off now. Everybody has their own

issues they want to address and its
nice to be able to address them with-
out having to play matches," Goldberg
The final lingering question is
whether the team will continue to
improve on its undefeated record in
regional play.
A big reason for this has been the
play of all three freshmen: Beam,
McCain and Ben cox, who is unde-
feated in dual-match play with a 5-0
record at No. 6 singles. Cox pulled out
a 6-4, 7-5 win over Kyle Gernhofer
"Nobody expected our freshmen to

play as well as they have," Farah said.
"Everybody is playing pretty well
right now. John Long was playing
(No. 6) singles last year and now is
playing (No. 3) singles."
Against Western Michigan, Long
defeated Fernando Garcia 6-2, 6-1 and
won his No. 3 doubles match with
Jake Raiton 8-2.
"Our goal from here until the Big
Ten season is to see everybody contin-
ue to improve," Goldberg said. "We
have a young team and we've made a
lot of progress since the start of the

No. 6 women's gymnasts stick No.21 Kentucky

tf nen A. Rom
Daily Sports Writer
When the Michigan women's gym-
nastics team boarded a plane at Detroit
Metro Airport to travel to Lexington, Ky.
on Thursday, it was on a mission.
Their tasks were simple: Stay healthy,
regain lost confidence and prepare for
No. 2 Georgia which they face the fol-
lowing week. Oh yeah, and win.
On Friday night, No. 6 Michigan post-
ed a season-best team score of 195.525
timble the 21 st-ranked Wildcats -
who tallied 189.000.
"Kentucky didn't have a very good
meet;'.Michigan head coach Bev Plocki
Although the Wolverines won't come
right out and say they were looking at
this dual meet as a chance to prepare for
an upcoming series with defending
national champion Georgia, their trip to
ngton sure looked like it.
'hope this gives us a bigger boost of
confidence," Plocki said. "I'm happy to
continue improving."
Today, the team is back in Ann Arbor
with only a short week of practice to pre-
pare for their next mission.
a"We only have Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday, so we have to make it
cdunt" Plocki said.
This is the second consecutive week

the team has had a limited practice
schedule. But if you were one of the 600
fans at last weekend's meet - far short
of Kentucky's season average of 2,000
- you certainly wouldn't have been
aware of that lack of preparation time.
Michigan turned out a consummate team
performance, with the help of some out-
standing individual play.
The biggest standout was the
Wolverines' two-time Big Ten athlete of
the week, junior Sarah Cain.
"Sarah had an incredible meet. She
won all four events and the all-around,"
Plocki said.
Cain's combined score of 39.60 was
her season best. It was also good enough
to secure her the honor of all-around
champion for the third consecutive

Senior Kathy Burke, a recent model of
consistency in the balance beam and the
floor exercise, also rose to the occasion.
She took home scores of 9.85 and 9.75,
respectively, on those events. Rounding
out the Wolverines' attack were junior
Sarah-Elizabeth Langford and senior
Lisa Simes.
Langford stuck a vault for a personal
best score of 9.85. And Simes, who has
been having trouble, hit a beam routine.
About the only thing that the
Wolverines were surprised with on this
trip was the meager turnout of the
Wildcat faithful. For a gymnastics pro-
gram with a history like Kentucky's, that
was unusual. Nonetheless, those fans in
attendance remained vocal.

With the help of a "'Cat club" as
Plocki described them, the crowd led the
Wildcat cheers for almost two and a half
hours. The particularly long evening was
because of alternating performances that
kept the meet going until 10 p.m.
"It seemed like it dragged on forever"
said Plocki.
Despite taking care of business in
Lexington, the long and drawn out affair
that it was made the Wolverines espe-
cially happy to be home- even if it is
just for three days.


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