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January 12, 2000 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-12

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(5) AUBURN 66,
(23)Kentucky 63
(6) Syracuse 76,
(11) MICHIGAN ST. 77,
(9) Indiana 71 (OT)
(17) OKLAHOMA 76.
Baylor 43.

Seton Hall 52
Nebraska 81.
(23) KANSAS 69

Toronto 89
Chicago 88
Miami 116,
Phoenix at
Dallas at

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No. 1 wrestler, Olson, out for season

By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Writer
It's close to the worst thing that
could possibly happen to the
Michigan wrestling team. Junior All-
American Otto Olson's season is
Yesterday, Olson learned that his
lateral cruciate ligament and posteri-
or cruciate ligament were blown out
Saturday in a match against Northern
Iowa's Randy Pugh.
Olson's knee will require surgery,
and he will have to participate in
rehabilitation in order to return next
season. The doctors estimate an
eight-month recovery time.
Olson believes dirty play spurred
the injury.
"It definitely was a cheap shot,"
Olson said. "I heard the ref call 'two
points' and then I felt (Pugh) pop my
The questionable play resulted
after Olson and Pugh found them-
selves in a precarious position, with
Olson on top of Pugh. When Pugh
leaned up, the injury occurred.
Pugh said he had no intent to hurt

"It was completely clean," Pugh
said. "It was a real weird position. It's
unfortunate, but I'm definitely not
out to hurt anybody."
Northern Iowa coach Mark
Manning also feels that Olson was
accidentally injured in the natural
course of wrestling.
"It was a dangerous situation for
both guys," Manning said. "Randy
was trying to get out of that position
but he still had a hold of Otto's leg.
"I think Randy Pugh is not only a
great wrestler but also a great person.
He would never hurt anybody pur-
But Pugh also said Olson's injury
was a shame.
"I really respect Otto Olson as a
wrestler," Pugh said. "And I'm really
crushed for him because he's a great
Whether Pugh meant it or not,
Olson won't be wrestling again this
year. But the season must continue
for the Wolverines. Now the team's
main concern becomes finding a way
to win without the No. 1 174 pound
wrestler in the country.
Olson was 19-1 before Saturday's

match, his only loss coming to a non-
collegiate wrestler in the Midland
"With Otto in the lineup, it's
almost like a win," sophomore Matt
Brink said. "Now maybe we will win,
maybe we won't."
But the team isn't bellyaching.
Injuries are a part of sports and a part
of wrestling.
"Nobody is walking around mop-
ing," junior Joe Degain said. "Sports
teaches you to deal with adversity
and setbacks"
The immediate issue for coach Joe
McFarland is to decide who will
wrestle in Olson's place. The team's
other natural 174-pounders, who had
been stuck behind the best wrestler,
left the team earlier in the season.
One of the 165-pound wrestlers
will probably have to move up a
weight class. McFarland ; hasn't
decided who will replace Olson, but
he expects whomever it is to rise to
the challenge.
"It's a blow to the team, but we still
have some great wrestlers here,"
McFarland said. "We haven't
changed our goals at all."



Home sweet home - Dave Huntzicker
finds niche as a top Michigan defender

3y Uma Subramanian
Daily Sports Writer
No one ever gave the 1997-98
Michigan hockey team a chance.
That year, the Wolverines played
0 freshmen after having graduated a
remendous senior class that had
iccomplished nearly everything dur-
ng its time at Michigan.
For Dave Huntzicker, that adversi-
y made winning the 1998 NCAA
,hampionship all the more incredi-
"I remember all the pain and suf-
:'ering and hard work that went into
winning it," Huntzicker said. "What
mnade it so special was that nobody
ave us a chance. From day one it
was 'this team will be okay.' Nobody
;icked us to finish very high.
"They said 'they're too young,' or
.oo this or too that. 'They can't do it.'
We did it and proved a lot of people
No one really gave Huntzicker a
Ihance either.
But from those humble beginnings
:ts a recruited walk-on, Huntzicker
fas become indispensable. He's not
the flashy defenseman who makes the
orilliant play to save the game. But
pe's a consistent force that helps hold
he team together.
Huntzicker's rise through the ranks
of Michigan hockey's elite nearly
nirrored that of his cherished
inderella team, but it was very dif-
erent from that of his classmates.
Midway through the 1996-97 sea-
,;on, Huntzicker was playing his third
and final year with the Compuware
Ambassadors. At that point, he had
no idea what the future held and time
appeared to be running out on his
hockey career.
"I never thought I'd end up playing
at Michigan," Huntzicker said. "I'd
always wanted to, but my last year of
junior hockey, I came to the conclu-
sion that I probably wasn't going to
play here. I was scrambling trying to
find anywhere that would take me.
"The cards worked out in my favor;
I was looking for a place to play,
Michigan offered me a walk-on spot
and I took it."
The Wolverines' 1996-97 squad
notched a Michigan-record 35 victo-
ries and were the No. I team in the

land for all but two weeks of the sea-
son. The following season's team had
a tough act to follow and was
required to prove itself on the ice to
earn national recognition.
Huntzicker had to surmount a chal-
lenge himself. By becoming a mem-
ber of that freshman class,
Huntzicker first and foremost had to
prove himself to friends and skeptics
alike while helping his team return to
the winner's circle - all this from a
guy who never expected to play.
"I told him when he came that I
couldn't guarantee that he'd ever play
a game here," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "We weren't sure
about him - nobody was, really. He
wasn't a kid who was recruited heav-
It didn't take long before everyone
stood up and took notice. As a fresh-
man, Huntzicker played in all 46 of
Michigan's games - including the 3-
2 overtime victory over Boston
College in the 1998 championship
game. He was one of only four play-
ers to play in every contest that year.
"As a freshman he was a big sur-
prise," Berenson said. "No one
expected him to play every game for
us and play them as well as he did."
This year, Huntzicker continues to
further his quiet success story. Take a
look at the Great Lakes Invitational.
In that tournament, Huntzicker was
plus-I and assisted on Mark Kosick's
game-winning overtime goal against
Lake Superior.
But it was his consistent play, not
his numbers that earned Huntzicker a
spot on the GLI all-tournament team.
"Huntzy came here and stepped
right in," Michigan captain Sean
Peach said. "I didn't think he'd be in
the lineup, but he's been a leader on
this team for the last couple of years.
He's a defensive force."
It would almost seem as though
Huntzicker was destined to play
Michigan hockey. Raised in Ann
Arbor, he grew up watching the
Huntzicker's father played at
Colgate and taught his sons to play
the game from a very early age.
Living near Burns Park, just off cam-
pus, the Huntzickers would spend
winter days skating on the ice pond in

the park.
"When they were little, their dad
would take them over to the park to
skate," Huntzicker's mother, Kay,
said. "As (Huntzicker and brother
Joe) got older it just seemed natural
that they would take to hockey. It was
also something that kept them busy."
Yost Ice Arena soon followed
Burns Park as Huntzicker's home
In the wee hours of the morning -
around 6 a.m. - when most college
students were still asleep, the rink
was filled with pee-wee hockey
teams that skate circles around Yost's
freshly zambonied ice.
According to his mother,
Huntzicker got his hockey start under
the same conditions - his father
drove the boys to early morning prac-
tice in the winter. Occasionally there
was time for cartoons and a quick nap
before it was off to school.
Coaches and teammates alike
attribute Huntzicker's development
into a top Division I defenseman to
his work ethic. His mother attributes
part of her son's success to his posi-
tion in the family.
"David was a younger brother who
had to work harder," she said. "He
wanted to play with the older kids
who lived on our street. But in order
to do that, he had to play at their
level. He didn't like being left out.
"He became a defenseman because
his father wanted him to learn to
skate backward, but as a kid he only
wanted to skate fast."
Huntzicker went on to become a
standout defenseman at Pioneer High
School, but still he was not recruited
by college teams.
"Because of his size he was so
awkward when he was young that he
hadn't caught up to his body in terms
of agility, strength, balance and
everything else," Berenson said. "He
appeared to be a very gangly, fragile
player. But he wasn't far away from
catching up to it when he came to
When Dave Huntzicker got to
Michigan, the number 27 was one of
the only numbers remaining. Plus,
Blake Sloan, who currently plays in
the NHL, wore the number and
Huntzicker thought it would bring
him some luck.
If nothing else, the number brought
a smile to his mother's face.
"The first time I saw him skate out
with the maize jersey, it was stun-
ning," Kay Huntzicker said. "It was
amazing, he was just so huge when
he skated out there.
"The number 27 was a big birthday
number in my father's family, and

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