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March 17, 2000 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-03-17

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, March 17, 2000 11

Netters open league
season on the road
tomorrow the Michigan men's tennis
team will make tracks to No. 23
Minnesota for its first Big Ten meet of
the season. The Wolverines will try to
begin the season the same way they did
tst year - with a win on the road.
"I think we have
a lot of confidence
going up against
them," senior John
Long said. "Our top
six match up well
against their top
six.
The last time
Michigan saw the Mees
Golden Gophers
as in the Big Ten Singles
'Championships. The Wolverines split
their four matches with Minnesota.
"Top to bottom, they have a very
good depth," Michigan coach Mark
Mees said. "We can't afford to have any
off days anywhere in the lineup"
In preparation for the Big Ten season,
the Wolverines have faced four top 50
teams. A theme at practice going into
the Minnesota match is "control what is
?ossible to control"
Mees "has really stressed that you can
control how you prepare, control how
you act, and you can control your effort
level" Long said. "Other than that, you
are going to have bad days."
At 7-1, Michigan hasn't seen many
bad days yet. "The one thing I don't
want to see is anyone losing confidence
after just one loss," Mees said.
The Wolverines deserve to be confi-
dent. Despite losing their last match, the
*am is ranked No. 21 - their highest
ranking in four years.
- Rv Jeff Phillips
Men's track escapes
to Sunshine State
Following a grueling indoor season,
the Michigan men's track and field team
*oes back to work this weekend as it
travels to the Florida State Invitational.
The competition marks the first meet
of the outdoor campaign and offers the
Wolverines an opportunity for a fresh
start. After finishing sixth in the confer-
ence and 41st nationally during the
indoor season, Michigan is looking to
improve.
"We had a lot of injuries," Oded Padan
said. "If guys stay healthy, we can defi-
nitely be a much better team."
Padan, a triple jump specialist, is
expected to be a catalyst for the
Wolverines. After missing much of the
indoor campaign with a fractured fibula,
the sophomore returned to score points
at the Big Ten Championships.
Ironically, his injury has set him up for a
potentially strong outdoor season.
"This is basically the start of the sea-
son for me," said Padan. "I feel like I am
fresher than all the other guys."
W Seniors Jay Cantin and Steve
Lawrence are also vital cogs. Lawrence
was named. an All-American indoors,
and both will be hoping for a repeat per-
formance in their final seasons compet-
ing for the Maize and Blue.
- By David Mosse
Women punish selves
to prep for outdoors
* Michigan women's track coach James
Henry looked up towards4he sky yester-
day in practice, and his face changed into
an expression of discomfort.
'"t sure would be great if we had 75-
8 degree weather in Michigan right
now' he said.

Temperatures notwithstanding, the
Wolverines can't avoid feeling a little
heat. Michigan, hoping to win a third-
raight conference title, came in fifth
lace in the Big Ten Indoor
Championsiiips.
"The team was where I thought they
-would be in the indoor season, but they
performed disappointingly," Henry said.
The Wolverines begin the outdoor
track season this week in Tallahassee,
Fla Temperatures are expected to be in
-thei80's for the event, which is today and
tomorrow. But the team has been forced
to prepare for the event this week in
windy weather that barely topped 50.
Conditions are more pleasant in the
Indoor Track Building, where some ath-
fetes have practiced, but the coaches'
would prefer that they run outside.
, The biggest adjustment is getting
used to the wind," assistant coach Mike
Mcuire said. "For distance runners, the
wind is more an obstacle than the heat."
So the team has been spending most
of its time braving the March weather.
"We aren't expecting too much at
Florida State," Henry admitted. "More
than anything else, this week is about
recovering from injuries we've suffered
in the indoor season and getting used to
competing outdoors.
- y James Mewimer

women favored
in Big Ten gym final

By Richard Haddad
Daily Sports Writer
The list of recent winners in the
women's gymnastics Big Ten
Conference Championships shows a
recurring trend: Maize and Blue.
In this Saturday's Big Ten champi-
onships the rest of the conference
doesn't figure to challenge No. I
Michigan.
Michigan has competed against only
two Big Ten teams this season because
Michigan coach Bev Plocki prefers to
take on tougher competition.
But in No. 16 Penn State, the meet's
host, and No. 17 Minnesota, the con-
ference does boast two other national-
ly ranked teams. But Michigan can't
take victory for granted - a lesson it
learned two years ago, when the
Golden Gophers upset the Wolverines.
"From a statistical point of view,
we're two points better than Penn
State," Plocki said. "If we hit, and do
what we're capable of, we should win.
"We can't open the door for other
teams, because they have the capabili-
ty to beat us. You can never go into a
competition and be too overconfident.
We just have to not open the door."
Another possible uncertainty for
Michigan is its inexperience. Several
gymnasts will be tasting postseason
competition for the first time, and their
reaction to that initiation will be key.
"I'm confident they'll be fine
because we have met the nation's best
all season long," said Plocki, alluding
to Michigan's grueling regular season.

"They've performed well in high pres-
sure competition so far, and this
shouldn't be any different."
The Wolverines are peaking at the
perfect time, ending their season with
a string of performances to vault them
to No. 1. If Michigan maintains its cur-
rent level, its postseason run should
last to the national finals in four
weeks.
"I've tried to challenge them to be
very picky with what they're doing and
to not accept less than their very best,"
Plocki said. "We're at the point where
a quarter of a tenth of a point can make
a difference, so we need to be critical
and to clean up our little mistakes.
Doing so will ensure that the door
remains closed and deadbolted for the
rest of the contenders.

CCHA
Continued from Page 10
overcome personal adversity, through perseverance and dedi-
cation, en route to success on the playing surface.
As a sophomore, Peach suffered three concussions making
him ineligible for much of the final stretch of the season. The
concussions almost ended his playing career as well, some-
thing he has not forgotten.
"To be recognized as the player who receives this honor, I
am truly humbled," Peach said. "Every player undergoes
adversity, but when I thought I might not play again, I was truly
terrified. But to come back and be recognized as someone with
character means a lot."
Though the first and second all-conference teams were
announced several of weeks ago, Michigan sophomores
Jillson and Mike Comrie received first team honors while
junior defenseman Dave Huntzicker picked up second-team
accolades. Yesterday Comrie also received news that he was
named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award - col-
lege hockey's most prestigious honor, equivalent to college
football's Heisman Trophy.
The biggest winner on the night was Michigan State captain
Shawn Horcoff, who picked up five awards.

DANCE
Continued from Page 10
a few aces up his sleeve. His teams shoot quite a few.3-
pointers, and they work that strategy quite well. No. 12
Utah State is a sleeper, but their undefeated record in the
Big West has not gone unnoticed. Utah State won't have
the edge of surprise on anyone, unlike other lower seeds in
the tournament.
Fighting chance: No. 9 Missouri may have the best
chance of any 8-9 winner to knock off a No. I seed.
Stanford has been unimpressive in its past few games
namely, its loss at Arizona and its squeaker win at Arizona
State, although the Cardinal trailed big early in the first
half before rallying. Stanford is not exactly peaking at the
right time.
An excited Missouri team could give the Cardinal a
close game. The Tigers might not win, but they'll have a
chance.
Favorites: No. I Stanford, No. 2 Cincinnati, No. 3 Ohio
State, No. 5 Connecticut. Connecticut and Tennessee will
be an interesting 4-5 game, but the Volunteers lack tour-
nament experience - precisely Connecticut's best
resource.

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