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February 22, 1999 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-02-22

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 22, 1999 - 3B

'M' wrestlers win two to finish schedule

By.Michael Shafrir
DaIy Sports Vriter
The Michigan wrestling team ended
an era this weekend, and it closed it out
instyle.
With a 20-19 win over ninth-ranked
Penn Stateand a 24-9 thrashing of Ohio
State, Michigan coach Dale Bahr, who
is retiring after this season, leaves Cliff
Ween Arena with two more dual meet
viltories.
:"We'r. real happy we got the win for
co~ph Bahr," Michigan's Joe Warren
said. "He's really meant so much to this
program"
The weekend also marked the last
two dual matches for a pair of seniors,
Chris Viola and Corey Grant.
Grant recorded a 2-0 decision over
Penn State's Biff Walzier and got a hard
fddght win on Sunday against 16th-
Wnked Buckeye Jeff Bucher.
"Corey's been wrestling real well
lafely;" Bahr said. "He should get a good
seed at Big Tens."
Viola finished his dual-meet career
with a split weekend, and looks forward

to his third NCAA Tournament appear-
ance in March.
Before the match against Ohio State,
Bahr was presented with a gift from the
Michigan Athletic Department, and a
Michigan office chair from his team.
"I didn't expect any of that," Bahr
said. "It was a really nice gesture."
Michigan now has two weeks to pre-
pare for the Big Ten tournament, which
will take place March 7-8 at Crisler
Arena.
If this weekend was any indication,
three Michigan wrestlers should have a
pretty good chance of picking up a con-
ference title.
Otto Olson, Damion Logan and
Warren all picked two convincing victo-
ries over Big Ten foes. Olson finished
the season undefeated in dual meets,
and wrapped up a No. 1 seed for Big
tens with a victory over second ranked
Glenn Pritzlaff of Penn State.
"We're peaking at the right time,"
Olson said. "I really wanted to finish
strong and for the team."
Warren and Olson accounted for 11

points in the nailbiter against Penn State.
Warren picked up a key pin over
18th-ranked Nate Parker and Logan
major decisioned Mark Bost, 22-7.
"It's hard to get a pin when you
know you need one;" Warren said. "But
he gave me an opening and I went for
it."
The win over the Nittany Lions
solidified Michigan's place in the top
tier of the Big Ten conference.
"It's a big win for us," Bahr said.
"We got down early and back on our
heels but we didn't give up."
Iowa and Minnesota will still present
the biggest problems for Michigan,
while Illinois and Penn State will also
challenge for a spot in the top-three.
Michigan captain Frank Lodeserto,
who has been out of the lineup since the
Michigan State match on Feb. 5, wres-
tled in the Ohio State match.
"My ankle feels good," Lodeserto
said. "I just wanted get a match in before
Big Tens and I'd beaten this guy before,
so I knew I could do well."
The two wins this weekend don't

mean much in the scheme of things,
Bahr said.
"The dual meets are behind us,"
Bahr said. "The most important meets
are ahead of us. It's where you become
known nationally, so right now the focus
is on Big Tens."
There are only two meets left in
Bahr's 21-year career, a fact which is not
lost on assistant coach Joe McFarland.
McFarland wrestled under Bahr,
coached against Bahr, and will take over
the reigns when Bahr retires.
"I'm glad we've had such a good
season for him to leave on," McFarland
said.
As Bahr heads back to the practice
mat this week, he can look ahead to the
time he can spend in his new leather
chair when the season is over. But in the
meantime, he's got a job to do. One that
he's been doing for 21 years.
"We've been wrestling so hard this
year," Bahr said. "It's been a real joy to
coach this team and all the seniors. I
can't think of another year that I've
enjoyed as much as this one."

JIM
ROSE
Rose Beef

Not yet the Blue Angeks the
predvasin team is on its way

Balr waves adieu to
en, wrestling duals

By Chis Grandstaff
Daily Sports Writer
On Sunday afternoon, Michigan
wrestling coach Dale Bahr said farewell
to Cliff Keen Arena.
The meet was an emotional one for
the long time Michigan coach as the
regame ceremonies caused him to, as
e put it, "get a little misty eyed."
Senior associate Athletic Director
Peggy Bradley-Doppes led the cere-
monies, reminding the Wolverine faith-
ful that they were losing a "solid worker,
a father figure, and man of great integri-
ty."
Bahr, who has been the head coach
of the Wolverines for the past 21 years,
will take over as the wrestling team's ath-
*tic camp coordinator after this season.
Dring his tenure at the helm of the
Wolverines, Bahr has recorded an
impressive record of 221-119-6, second
only to the man whose name is engraved
obove the door of the building that
housed Sunday's jmeet, the legendary
Cliff Keen. Bahr has led the Wolverines
to two second place finishes in the Big
Ten,' and seven top-ten finishes at the
NCAA Tournament.
'ahr's success as a coach and a
9aher can be best seen in the accolades
of his wrestlers. Bahr has coached 40
All-Americans, which includes two
naonal champions in Mark Churella

and current Michigan assistant coach
Kirk Trost.
Bahr's success as a coach goes
beyond his wrestlers' athletic achieve-
ments. Bahr has demonstrated an ability
to coach wrestlers to success in the class-
room as well as on the mats. During his
time at Michigan, Bahr has had 38 acad-
emic all-Big Ten wrestlers. After
Sunday's 24-9 thrashing of Ohio State,
Bahr had a chance to reflect on the past.
"I've really enjoyed these last 21
years" Bahr said. "I've especially
enjoyed this year's team."
But Bahr will still be a factor for
Michigan wrestling in the future.
"I'm going to continue to support
Michigan wrestling 100 percent," Bahr
said. "I'll be involved with the wrestling
program in a peripheral way. I'm still
going to be here watching practice, and I
can still see the kids progress. It's going
to be kind of like being the grandfather
instead of the father. I can enjoy these
guys, take them out to eat and spend time
with them, but when the day is done and
it's time to do the work they're all Joe's"
Bahr's replacement, assistant coach
Joe McFarland, can't see Michigan
wrestling without the longtime head
coach.
"I wrestled under him here at
Michigan, I coached against him when I
was at Indiana, and I've also coached

DAVID ROCHKIND/Daily
Dale Bahr got "a litttle misty-eyed" in his final home meet at Cliff Keen Arena yes-
terday. Bahr has coached the Wolverines for 21 years.

under him," McFarland said. "Since I've
had anything to do with wrestling he's
been here. It's been really great to have
the season we've had in his final year.
Today was really nice for him"
All-American Joe Warren sees Bahr
as a savior of sorts.
"He brought wrestling back to being
a powerhouse program," Warren said.
"Wrestling (at Michigan) is where it is
today because of him. It's sad to see him
go, but I think he's ready for it."
Bahr leaves the prog'ram in good

hands.
"We're going to keep the program
going strong, no doubt about it," assis-
tant coach Kirk Trost said. "If we needit
he'll still be around for coach McFarland
and I to ask questions."
Bahr and the Wolverines still have a
lot of work yet this season. The
Wolverines host the Big Ten champi-
onship March 7-8 at Crisler Arena and
will then head out to the NCAA
Championships at Penn State.

friend of mine fancies herself
a pretty good ice skater, and
she's told me on numerous
occasions that figure skaters, as a
general rule, are faster on blades than
hockey players.
I've never believed her. Not for a
second.
But after catching the tail end of
the Maize and Blue Championships
- a figure skating meet held this
past weekend at Yost Ice Arena -
just one night after watching the
Michigan hockey team come away
winless for the eighth straight time,
I'm not so sure she wasn't right all
along.
That's not to say I'm totally con-
vinced - as she knows,.it takes a lot
more than one example to prove me
wrong - but I will say
this: figure skaters have
skills.t
For those who don't
know, Michigan's figure PettY
skating club competes in that pi
several individual cate- form
gories, as well as in pre- spins j
cision skating, a team g
event. The club itself is OTC
pretty informal, but the
precision team, in the --------
past year, has gotten seri-
ous.
Michigan's team circulates some
literature that compares the sport to
"the famous Blue Angels flying team
because of its tight group formations
... intersecting lines, pinwheels, and
kick lines" - although, in reality,
that might be a bit of an exaggera-
tion. I'd say it's closer to synchro-
nized swimming - only with much
colder water.
That's not to diminish its difficul-
ty in any way. It might not quite be
speeding jet planes, exactly, but it is
awfully fast - and the potential for
disaster is enormous.
Think of it this way: A hockey
rink seems crowded at times when the
action is five-on-five. Now imagine
24 people on the ice at once. Granted,
only one precision team takes the ice
at a time, but it can get pretty hairy if
that pinwheel formation spins just the
slightest bit off course.
Just ask Sarah Kepner, Michigan's
current club president. She was also
on the precision team last year, when,
she says, it finished "last in every sin-
gle competition, literally - dead last.
It was really bad." Since then, howev-
er, the Wolverines have improved
with leaps and bounds. The center of
improvement? The precision team.
In the past year, the figure skating
club has followed the lead of several
other leading club teams - namely
soccer, lacrosse, water polo and crew,
of which Kepner was a part as a
freshman - in trying to take the
"club" out of "club sport." The result
has been a widespread campaign that,
in its early stages, is less like recruit-
ing than information-spreading.
"We haven't even really had to do
any recruiting at all," said Juliet
Newcomer, one of the club's vice
wandY.

TODAY

M
,
it

presidents. "We've had all kinds of
people coming to us."
Newcomer and Kepner both grew
up skating, and eventually decided to
pursue the sport at Michigan.
Newcomer has actually trained with
prominent skaters such as Tara
Lipinski, Todd Eldredge and Nicole
Bobek. She also worked at the Detroit
Skating Club in 1994 during the now-
infamous Tonya Harding/Nancy
Kerrigan/lead pipe weekend, and, in
her words, "helped out with that
not with the incident, with the com-
petition."
Now, in 1999, the word continues
to spread that Michigan's precision
team is serious about competing at
the national level - and as a result,
the team is starting to reach a new
audience.
"There are tons of
skaters at this school,"
hi ig Kepner says. "But the
haiY r f good skaters wouldn't
rwheel want to skate with what
ation was going on last year.
vst the Now, it's just a matter of
Lst bit getting the word out and
urse. letting people know that
we're really serious."
-------- With a team victory in
this weekend's meet, the
Wolverines finished the season in
second place in the Midwestern
Collegiate Conference. Just last week,
however, they actually beat Miami
(Ohio) - a full varsity team and the
defending national champion - in
the precision event.
As far as this past weekend, well
to the untrained eye (specifically,
mine) it appeared that both Michigan
and Michigan State pulled off perfect
routines yesterday, which is to say
- that nobody on either team fell down.
Bowling Green, on the other hand,
was not as flawless - even novice
eyes (again, mine) could tell that
much.
But according to the judges, nei-
ther Michigan nor Michigan State
was perfect - Miami was singled out
as the top team by every judge.
Actually, as far as I could tell, one
of the more dangerous parts of the
event yvas after the routines had
ended, when many of the skaters tried
to go up into the bleachers - while'
still wearing their skates. One
Michigan State team member found
this out the hard way - though I sup-
pose it was her own fault, for think-
ing she could make it up the steps
and keep taping with her hand-held
video camcorder. If you ask me, the
rickety benches at Yost are dangerous
enough with just plain shoes on.
At any rate, the teams will meet
again in a couple weeks at the nation-
al championships in Florida. And,
according to Kepner, the Wolverines
are not just hoping for second place.:
"If you do a halfway program,";
she says, "you're not gonna be in the;
same game. We're ready to take it to,
the next level."
- Jim Rose can be reached via
e-mail atjwrose@umich.edi.
00 ®

Men's gymnastics crushes
UMass;' may vault to No1.

By Dan Dingerson
Daily Sports Writer
Outstanding individual performances are an
important part of a successful team, but they do
not always assure victory. Consistency throughout
the team is one of the keys to winning.
In recent weeks the Michigan men's gymnas-
tics team has lost two close meets despite seeing
solid performances from some of its gymnasts. On
Saturday, against Massachusetts, the team was
strong in every way, cruising to a 229.275-220.15
victory.
The Wolverines, who are healthier than they
have been all season, showed the depth of their
team. Only two gymnasts competed in the all-
around competition. In all, the team saw 11 of 13
healthy gymnasts compete in at least one event.
Their consistency was shown in the team's
scores - only two scores from the evening were
below 9.0 for the Wolverines. In contrast,
Massachusetts did not finish one event without a
score below 9.0. The Wolverines also 'hit' 90 per-
cent of their routines for the night, a team high
under coach Kurt Golder.
The team score of 229.275 is a Michigan
record, and also is the highest score of the season
in the nation. The score could move Michigan to
No. 1 nationally.
The Minutemen came in ranked ninth and had
their sights set on knocking off the second-ranked
Wolverines. As soon as the meet started however,
Michigan started to excel. After the first rotation
of the evening, the Wolverines had already built a
lead of almost three points.

"We were focused on only ourselves. When we
had Ohio State and Illinois in here we went one
event at a time, which gave us a chance to watch
everyone," Golder said. "Tonight we just went all
the way through and kept the focus on our team.
It's something that the guys need to learn to do for
the big meets, because they go one event at a
time"
Michigan won five of six events for the
evening, only losing the vault, 37.95-37.925. In
four out of six events, they scored over 38.0.
The Wolverine who led the way was freshman
Scott Vetere. Vetere, who has been one of the top
all-around competitors in the nation, performed
his best of the season. He won the all-around with
a score of 56.95, finishing ahead of LaLo Haro
and the Minutemen's Jeff LaVallee. Haro and
LaVallee tied for second in the competition with a
score of 56.6.
Vetere hit on all six events, a first for him at
Michigan. Vetere changed his high bar routine a
little, and performed his vault routine for only the
second time. The changes helped him by giving
him more confidence in his ability to compete.
That confidence resulted in winning performances
on the pommel horse and vault.
"He was hitting the high bar about 50-50 in
practice, and we decided that he needed to go six-
for-six. You can tell someone that they can do it,
but until they do they are not going to have the
confidence," Golder said.
"Vetere is my performer of the day. For hitting
all six, for his vault which was a 9.7, and for his
pommel horse which was a 9.85."

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& veral months ago, the Michigan men's gymnastics team
was doing promotional stunts out on the Diag. Now, after a
big home win over Massachusetts, the Wolverines are threat-
ening to take over the No. 1. spot in the nation.

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