10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February_26, 1999
It's around 5:30 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. While most students sit down to relax, the
Michigan wrestling team has just finished it's second grueling practice of the day. These guys have
been up since 6 a.m. for morning practice, and they're tired. But, you won't hear any complaints.
Each member of the team is working toward a goal. Whether it's the desire for a national
championship or the desire to wrestle one varsity match, these Wolverines do it all for .
By Tracy Sandler *
Daily Sports Writer
6:17a.m. - Wrestler Damion Logan (141 pounds)
6:30 a.m. -- Morning practice at Crisler Arena.
The team begins its workout with sprints across the
basketball court. They lift weights, and a starter is
paired-up with a non-starter. Logan 's partner is
freshman Mike Kulczycki. The two wrestlers are
supposed to push each other to go as hard as possi-
ble. After practice, Logan goes home, eats some
cereal and does his laundry.
This time of year is the most important for the
Michigan wrestling team. The Big Ten
Championships, which will be held March 6 and 7
at Crisler Arena, are only a week away.
So, what motivates these guys to work so hard?
Day after day, practice after practice, they push
themselves harder and harder every day.
"You have to be a little crazy to be a wrestler,"
wrestler Joe Warren (133 pounds) said. "To get up
every morning and put your body through hell every
day, no one wants to do that."
9 a.m. - Logan, a sports management and com-
munications major in the Division of Kinesiology,
has class at the Central Campus Recreation
Logan has been up for three hours, but in many
ways, his day is just beginning.
"You have to be focused," assistant coach Joe
McFarland said. "You need to have goals. Those are
things that inspire you and keep you going. I see that
with some of the guys this year. In the past, guys
have complained in practice. With these guys this
year, I don't here any complaints, and I've put them
through some grueling workouts."
Balancing class, wrestling and a social life is not
easy. Not everyone can do what these guys do every
"It takes a special person," Michigan coach Dale
Bahr said. "I don't think a lot of people realize the
amount of time expected from the athlete. Maybe
it's not so much the time either ... We expend so
much energy at that time, and it's so intense. It can
literally drain you for the day.
"Then to turn around, go to class and do all the
things you have to do as a normal student, it's very
difficult. You've really got to love the sport to do
10 a.m. to 12p.m. - Logan studies for an exam
and eats lunch at the Bagel Factory - a blueberry
bagel toasted with butter, a fragel and a protein
drink. A light lunch, because de doesn't like to eat
too much before practice.
12p.m. - Another class at the CCRB.
Here's why the athlete differs from the normal
student. Everyone goes to class and everyone stud-
ies, but not everyone gets up at six in the morning
for a tough practice. Not everyone practices for a
second time that same day.
"I guess what I was saying about being crazy is
we're putting ourselves through this every day and
we're living a college life," Warren said. "We have
to go to school and wrestle. We have to practice in
the morning at least three days a week, go to class,
practice in the afternoon and then compete on the
"You've got to want it so bad. If you don't want
to work that hard, then you're not going to be a good
wrestler. And you're going to have to start liking to
said. "Sometimes I get too intense before I go out
there, and I let the first takedown happen. That's why
I need to focus my intensity."
An important aspect of practice is support. The
team relies on each member to push his teammates
to go harder and harder.
"During practice, make sure that if your fine and
if you have it, share it with everyone else," Logan
said. "Let everyone else know that you've got it.
Once you've found it, look around. See who's down.
Whether it be me saying, 'Have a good practice,' or
getting the freshmen ready - guys who are feeling
the long season."
3:30 p.m. - Practice begins.
The team runs laps around the wrestling room.
While running, each person drops to the floor to do
a few somersaults and a couple of cartwheels. After
the running, Warren leads the stretches. Then the
fun begins. Each wrestler gets a partner and prac-
tices live wrestling. McFarland gives the wrestlers
different scenarios to simulate. One example would
be sudden death overtime, with the first wrestler to
score crowned the winner.
Otto Olson (174 pounds) lives by a saying he
learned in high school - "It's not the time you put
in, it's what you put in the time."
"In high school I was working out maybe six
hours a day," Olson said. "I may not be working out
as many hours now, but the work I'm doing in a
shorter amount of time has actually made me a bet-
ter wrestler ... Now I'm working for three hours at
a real intense pace. That's more match-like, and
that's really better for me."
The match simulations really portray the intensity
of the sport. The wrestlers yell and scream, similar to
emotions portrayed in actual matches. A minute of
hard running follows live wrestling, and then the
wrestlers take a five-minute break for water. After
the break, they switch partners and practice more live
wrestling. Logan practices with Warren, Kulczycki
and freshman Maalichai Walker. At the end of prac-
tice, Chris Viola (125 pounds) stretches out the team.
They clap in a circle and yell, "Go Blue!"
When practice is over, Warren says to the coach-
es, "Thanks for pushing us that hard. We needed it."
But, the Wolverines were not always thankful for
the tough workouts.
"It used to be that we had guys on our team that
didn't buy into the idea that if you work as hard as
you can, you're going to do well," Warren said.
"That's what we've all bought into. The harder we
work, the better we're going to do.
"That's why the Michigan wrestling team will
never be a losing team again. The attitude it has now
will stay this way forever. We're going to see a
national championship out of this team. If it's not
this year, it's going to be in the next two years. We're
going to shock people."
The Wolverines give a lot of credit to McFarland
for the work ethic they have developed. He has
passed on the idea that hard work equals success.
"It makes me happy, because this is what I'm
said McFarland, who will take over for Bahr next
season."This is what I'm going to build my program
around - commitment, hard work and dedication.
That's the only way in this sport to be successful,
because it is a grueling sport. It's very demanding,
and the more things you do right, the more success-
ful you're going to be."
Members of the Michigan wrestling team said the
hard work they put into the program not only bene-
fits them as individuals, but it is also for benefits the
entire team and the University.
"If you come back with a national championship,
that's great," Logan said. "If you come back with
three or four All-Americans representing your team,
that's great, too. You worked hard for yourself and
for the University."
6 p.m. - Logan eats dinner - a slice of pizza,
pasta and half of a chicken caesar sandwich - and
studies for his exam the following afternoon.
So, now you're probably asking yourself, why
would a person put.himself through this type of tor-
ture every day? What is the motivation? It's a desire
to win. It's the desire to be the best. No matter how
bad he feels, Logan knows that he still needs to prac-
tice like he's having the best day of his life.
"Even during your bad day of practice, you've
got to make sure you're working harder than any-
one else that's ranked in the country," Logan
said. "You're always going to fall back on it ...
If you don't see it right away, you're going to see
it in the long run.
"You have to constantly believe that you're
working harder than everyone else in your weight
class, and you have to make sure of that to feel
One reason the Wolverines work so hard is for
strong conditioning. Being in better shape than their
opponents goes a long way, especially toward the
end of a match.
"You have to be completely convinced that you
have the conditioning that you're going to need at
the end of the match," Warren said. "That's one
thing that we have to do now as a team - buy into
and believe that they're not going to get tired.
"We need to believe that we're going to be able
to go as hard in the third as you did in the first. If
something goes wrong in that first period, you
know that that guy is going to be tired, and you're
not going to."
Strong conditioning gives athletes the energy they
need to push past their limits and compete at their
"A lot of it is being physically fit, physically ready
to go, physically ready to battle," Logan said. "We
have to be able to go for 10 minutes, if it does go
into overtime, and we have to be able to constantly
abuse our opponents."
Now maybe the grueling days are easier to under-
stand. When Big Tens are over and the lights are
turned off in Crisler Arena, each member of that
team will know he gave it his all.
"It's all for your hand getting raised," Logan said.
"When your hand gets raised, that's
what you did all that work
for. When you lose, it
r. . hurts so bad."
A True Wolverine
by wrestler Dane Tabano
It's 3:25 and practice is near,
How long will we go, how long will it be,
an hour or two or will it be three?
Does that really matter, should we really care?
Hell, we could be here 'til we lose all our hair.
We're all stretched out now, and warm-ups are done.
And you say to yourself, "Now the hell's begun."
An hour goes by, and Joe (McFarland) gives us a break,
Time for a drink and to feel yourself ache.
The rinse is over, and it's time to go live,
You reach down inside and search for more drive.
Get in groups of three, or grab a guy for a grind,
one minute goes, coach will keep time.
Down on the mat, or up on your feet,
You brawl as do lions over freshly killed meat.
Your face it gets battered and tattered and torn,
Your ears swell up and you wish you weren't born.
Then live wrestling ends, but practice does not,
and you want to tell Kevin (trainer) that it hurts a real lot.
But as Coach Bahr says, "That's wimpy stuff,"
And you know you can finish if you stay mentally tough.
Practice is over now and tomorrow's the meet,
pretty soon you'll shake hands and start on your feet.
From there it's a battle, a goal to achieve,
two men will enter, but only one man will leave.
Yeah, you'll be nervous, but fear you will not,
If you wrestle your best, you'll come out on top.
Regulation ends, and overtime's past,
the winner now will be the one to outlast.
Get out from the bottom, hold him on top,
but for that 30 seconds, don't ever dare stop.
The final buzzer sounds, the match is through,
but adrenaline took over and the ref has to stop you.
But even he can't make you quit,
is like training an angry grizzly to learn how to sit.
Finally you go to the center and your hand gets raised,
but your bloodied-up face can't see the crowd's craze.
And your rubber-scuffed knees are shaking in pain,
and your sore-stricken shoulders are crying in vain.
And the toes on your feet are chafe-ed and sore,
And your whole body's scarred with nail scratches galore.
But at the very moment when most people would cry,
You extend a crooked finger and point it to the sky.
At that very moment, unknown to a boy,
The man you've become starts jumping for joy.
"Good job," Way to be," "Nice match" they all say,
And you stand there victorious, hero of the day.
Yes, you gave it your all and you never went soft,
And now you see all the hard work paying off.
The meet has ended, the two teams exchange sides,
But only yours walks away with their heads held high.
Yes, you've proven your talent, exploited your gift,
and now tomorrow you'll have a great morning lift.
There's something to be said now, that's unknown to all,
something only we few and proud can be called
A TRUE WOLVERINE.
125 p unds
"He's a gewat athlete. He
has g9at quIckness ..
H. needs to stay healthy.
He needo to stay positive
..He could have a gua-
. elT enand
"He's streUl this
ywmbut ie sown
sjg~s In the last couple
weeks of coming out of
,1 would like to see him
get to te NCAA tourna.
ment ... If we can get him
back into his January
Us'a walthad at hnant
Otto Olson, Matt Brink,
174 pounds Heavyweight
ir wback to the "H's stil trln to fld