The Michigan Daily -- SportsMonday - February 21, 2000 - 38
'Grapplers learn to believe in rivalry
By Jon Schwartz
Daily Sports Writer
COLUMBUS -- Maybe the wrestlers
After practice last Thutsday, several
Michigan wrestlers vehemently denied
Sany belief in wrestling's version of the
Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. They
claimed that it was great for football, but
that it really didn't mean anything to
That could be, but then another expla-
nation would be needed for the strange
atmosphere that dominated St. John
Arena yesterday, as the Michigan grap-
plers ended their dual meet season with
a 22-15 victory over the Buckeyes.
With yesterday's victory and the 20-17
Win at No. 21 Penn State on Friday night,
Michigan upped its record to 12-3-1 and
3-0 on the various senior nights that they
have wrestled in - home against
Indiana, and in State College and
At Penn State, Michigan won a
thrilling match. Dawn 17-10 with two
matches left, 149-pound Mike
Kulczycki recorded a major decision
over Dave Martini, and in possibly the
most shocking finish to date, Michigan's
157-pounder, Tony Holifield, notched a
fall over Nate Wachter only 1:53 into the
match, thrusting the Wolverines into the
But at Ohio State, the truth came out.
The rivalry does exist, a reality that led
many of the Michigan grapplers to go
back on their words from the previous
"There's a lot of emotion between
Michigan and Ohio State," Michigan
coach Joe McFarland said. "I don't care
what sport you're in."
The proof was found in the old arena,
where things happened that would have
been considered impossible on any other
On any other day, 141-pound Matt
Michalski would have been a huge
On any other day, Joe Warren would
probably be working himself back into
shape in the 133-pound class after a six-
And on any other day, a meet between
the No. 7 team in the country and an
unranked opponent wouldn't have been
interesting at all.
But yesterday wasn't just any day - it
was Michigan-Ohio State day..
"There was a lot of fire today"
And the fire manifested itself in the
most unlikely of characters - Michalski
Filling in for Damion Logan in the
141-pound class, Michalski, usually a
substitute in the 133 class, won his first
dual meet of his career in what will also
be his last college wrestling match -
unless Logan is not healthy enough to
wrestle in the Big Ten Championships,
to be held in two weeks in West
"I made up my mind that if this was
going to be my last dual meet before I
graduate, I want to go out on a high
note," Michalski said.
But for McFarland, Michalski's 13-3
major decision over Sean Petersen was
almost magical. Acting like Michalski's
father, the coach beamed over his finally
"I was so happy for Matt," McFarland
said. "What a way to go out."
But Michalski's victory was just one
of Michigan's shining moments.
Warren, in only his fourth meet back
from the knee injury, was able to pin
Jesse Leng to put Michigan on top 6-3.
For Warren, the recovery stage is over,
and the pin was just proof of that.
"I said it would take a few matches,"
he said. "Now I'm feeling like every-
thing's starting to click."
But the team also got a pin from 184-
pound Andy Hrovat and decisions by
Kulczycki and HWT Matt Brink to fin-
ish Michigan's first two-win weekend in
the Big Ten season.
"I was happy with the way we per-
formed," McFarland said. "Some of my
guys are really coming together."
athletic director slot
gymnastics home stretch
The Michigan men's gymnastics team is coming into the final
stretch of its season ranked No. I. Here's a look at the defend-
ing national champions' major matchups this season, and the
challenges that lie ahead.
for three M' wrestlers
Ohio State No. 2
Iowa No. 5.
Illinois-Chicago No. 13
Penn State No. 2
Ohio State No. 3
Massachusetts No. 13
By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Witer
at Big Tens
Last home meet - Michigan leads season series, 1-0.
Michigan peaked at the perfect time last year and won it.
Justin Toman led the Wolverines to a team title last year.
retain top ranking
By Dan Dingerson
Daily Sports Writer
Following a weekend without inter-
collegiate competition and two weeks
removed from its second loss of the
season to Ohio State, the No. I -ranked
Michigan men's gymnastics team trav-
led to Amherst. Mass., with some-
thing to prove.
Despite coming into this weekend
ranked No. I in the traditional point-
derived poll. and in five events, the
Wolverines found themselves behind
Ohio State in the newly-instituted
Although the team has a practice of
not following the exploits of oppo-
9ents, the pollsters do. If the
Wolverines could have kept track of
meets going on simultaneously with
theirs on Saturday, they would have
seen that Ohio State was in the process
of eclipsing Michigan's national sea-
son-high score of 230.55 with a
While Michigan's score this week-
end was certainly not a response to
Ohio State's, it should serve as a mes-
sage to the coaches who the top team in
She nation is.
The Wolverines reclaimed the sea-
son's top score with a mark of 231.125,
defeating Massachusetts, which posted
a 221.225. The score was the best for
the team not only because it was the
highest of the year, but also because it
was the most consistent performance. It
also marked the largest margin of vic-
tory for the Wolverines this year
Michigan scored above 38.0 )n all
*ix events for the first time this season.
Up to this point, there has been at least
one event in every meet that has kept
"Consistency is important to us,"
Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. "I
was impressed with the way that we
competed this weekend."
Michigan completely dominated this
weekend's meet. The team took four of
the top five places in every event. and
placed first in every event other than
Junior co-captain Justin Toman
paced the team with two event titles, in
the floor exercise and parallel bars-
both were school records. It was a
strong performance by the entire team,
though, that made it a successful meet.
Scott Vetere, LaLo Haro and Daniel
Diaz-Luong also won event titles, and
10 Wolverines placed in the top five of
an event. Bryan Pascoe earned his Fet-
ter by placing third in the pommel
Diaz-Luong was impressive in his
first meet back from an ankle injury,
which had sidelined him for the begin-
ning of the season. In addition to win-
ning the pommel horse, he finished
third in the still rings, and fourth in the
"He competed for the first time in
six months, and won the event in his
first routine," Golder said. "That just
shows his talent, that he can come near
the school record so early coming
The Wolverines won the meet and set
their high score despite not competing
with their top lineup. Brad Kenna was
out due to injury, Diaz-Luong missed
his All-American event, the vault, and
Vetere competed in only one event.
"We definitely can still be better than
this," Golder said. "We probably won't
have our strongest lineup until Big Ten
COLUMBUS - For three of
Michigan's wrestlers, last weekend's vic-
tories over Penn State and Ohio State
were a little bit sweeter than your run-of-
the-mill dual meet wins.
Sophomore Andy Hrovat, freshman
Mike Kulczycki and junior Jason Rawls
shunned in-state universities in order to
come north and don the maize and blue.
This weekend was a chance for them to
prove they made the correct choice.
"They wanted to perform well,"
McFarland said. "They wanted to look
good and represent Michigan well, and
For Cleveland native Andy Hrovat.
Sunday's match against Ohio State's
Donovan True clearly had more mean-
ing. Even before he came to Michigan,
Hrovat hated the Buckeyes.
His disdain was compounded early in
the dual meet when Ohio State coach
Russ Hellickson attempted to have
Hrovat's dad, Bob, thrown out of the
arena for improper conduct.
"As a coach, I think I have the right to
get emotional, Hellickson said. "But I
don't need to have someone on the side
yelling obscenities and vulgarities and
Bob Hrovat denied the allegations.
"I didn't say anything that was deroga-
tory to him or to his players," the elder
Hrovat said. "That's why Andy is at
Michigan, where a coach is a coach, not
some guy who thinks he can fight the
fans" An exceptionally motivated Hrovat
proceeded to pin True in the first period.
"I've hated Ohio State with a passion
ever since I was a little kid,"Andy Hrovat
said. "I'm not going to come back here
and lose. This is my state."
Sixteenth-ranked Mike Kulczycki also
had extra incentive to return to his home
state of Ohio and tally a victory against
the Buckeyes. They never showed much
interested in signing him to wrestle for
"They never really looked at me or
recruited me, Kulczycki said. "It's theiri
loss" He succeeded in proving to Ohiol
State that they made a mistake when hej
overcame No. 15 Brian Roskovich, 6-2.
Kulczycki controlled the match from the
outset, and missed a major decision by a
few close calls.
For Harrisburg native Jason Rawls, the
choice to attend Michigan rather than
nearby Penn State was never difficult.
Rawls has the perfect pedigree to wrestle
at Michigan, having a father and two
brothers that grappled for the
"That's Why Andy is
at Michigan, where a
coach is a coach,
not some guy who
thinks he can fight
- Bob Hrovat,
Father of Michigan
wrestler Andy Hrovat
His Pennsylvania homecoming was
bittersweet. He was able to overcome
Penn State's Doc Vecchio I 1-8, taking
the lead early and maintaining an edge
throughout the match.
"It was a pretty good match," Rawls
said. "I put him to his back, and got the
win with a few late take downs"
But facing the Nittany Lions doesn't
conjure extra feelings of contempt for
"I don't like Penn State." Rawls said,
"But I feel about them like I feel about
every other school in the Big Ten"
For Rawls, playing in State College
meant an unusual opportunity to have his
family see him wrestle. But due to the
inclemente weather in the Pennsylvania
area, his relatives were not able to make
"I just wish I had my family there:'
Rawls said. "I don't get to see them that
Besides the individual wins, the week-
end was also meaningful for all three
Wolverines because the team scored vic-
tories over both Penn State and
They can return home with bragging
rights over neighbors and friends. And
although there isn't always bad blood, a
wrestler only gets one or two chances in
their collegiate career to return home vic-
"Some of these guys are almost con-
sidered traitors," senior Mike Michalski
said. "They want to come back and prove
that we have the better program."
Wen Tom Goss "resigned" as
Michigan's athletic director
on Feb. 8, it marked the cul-
mination of a rocky four years in the
Ever since I arrived on this campus
in September 1996, the athletic depart-
ment has seen its share of chaos.
Boosters with Ford Explorers, football
players taking blue-light specials a little
too far, forced resignations and allega-
tions of dealings with - --
agents have allhaunted the heil
athletic department. i
When I was in high sch
school, I thought Michigan thcr
was the model of how Mich
should be handled. The the n
Wolverines won a ton of how i
games and sold truckloads legiat<
of merchandise while ics sh
keeping the program off har
the police blotters and -
away from the investigative reports.
I would laugh haughtily as schools
such as Nebraska, Florida State and
Michigan State were dragged through
the mud on Sportscenter due to viola-
tions or overzealous athletes.
But now when the phrase 'thug pro-
grams' is mentioned, Michigan is on
the tip of many people's tongues. This
disturbs me greatly.
Unfortunately, these negative points
are out in the open for everyone to see.
There are many reasons why this prob-
lem has arisen, but one rises above the
others in my opinion - lack of stabili-
ty in the position of athletic director.
The successor to Goss will be the
third athletic director that Michigan has
had since my parents have sent checks
to the Office of the Registrar.. Joe
Roberson was athletic director my
freshman year, Goss served as boss the
last two-and-a-half years, and Flippy
von Slapalot will fill the post when
Goss' tenure expires at the end of
Three athletic directors in four years.
That's poor no matter how you slice it.
The lack of stability in the head posi-
tion of any business is bound to cause
problems. When you add that you are
dealing with kids ranging in age from
18 to 22 and a governing body which is
intent on finding any sort of violation
- from new vehicles or a free super
sizing of an extra-value meal -- the
instability can cause problems.
So when Michigan chooses its next
AD, it should go with someone who
will be a rock in the athletic depart-
ment. That person: Michigan hockey
coach Red Berenson.
I know Berenson hasn't given any
indication that the job interests him. For
all I know, his chances of applying for
the position are about as good as the
chance of me getting a date with Anna
But Berenson is the best candidate
for the job for many reasons. The pri-
mary reason is that Berenson is a win-
ner. Lost in the rubble that has become
the men's basketball program is the
national power that the hockey program
has become under Berenson's watch.
While Ed Martin has been buying
birthday cakes, the hockey
Iwas team has won two nation-.
ti h al titles and been in six
o, Iw Frozen Fours. And
tht Berenson's team has done
an wa this while graduating
l was almost all of its players.
idel o The hockey team hasnt
terco t- faced any allegations of
athiet- wrongdoing during my.
Uld be time at Michigan. The r
lied. only time that Michigan
- - hockey players have been.
in the local news is after games.
In fact, the only member of the
Michigan hockey program to get in
trouble with the law during the past
five years is Berenson, who got arrest-
ed for public urination - a two-days-
per-week offense for most college stu-
Berenson also has the intelligence
necessary to fulfill the job of athletic
director. While playing at Michigan in..
college, Berenson was in the Business
School and got his M.B.A. early in his;
As a hard-nosed guy with a business
degree, Berenson is more than quali-
fied to handle the complicated budget
issues that an athletic director has to
deal with. Considering the deficit that
occurred in Goss' reign, a guy like
Berenson would be great to get thingsl
back on track.
The last, and possibly most impor-
tant, reason that Berenson would be a
great athletic director is his loyalty to
Michigan. Ever since the days of
Fielding Yost and Fritz Crisler, there
has been an emphasis on hiring
"Michigan mei" to coach here
Berenson has been part of Michigan
for four decades as a student, player,
alum and coach. Berenson has manned
the bench for the hockey team since'
1984, forsaking possible professional
positions to coach at the school he
I would be greatly surprised if Red
Berenson is the next athletic director.
But if he is, it would be one hell of a
- TJ Berka has ajersevfom Red
Berensons hockey camp, even though
he can 't skate worth a damn. He can be
reached via email 'at
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15404 front beach rd
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www.ho Iowayhouse. coim
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