And then there were 12 ...
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MARCH 24 ..200 10
Depleted men's swim team 16th
Thompson third in 400-meter freestyle on Day 1 of NCAAs
By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS-The underrepresented Michigan men's
swimming team will have a tough time meeting a team goal.
With just six swimmers, no divers and one relay, a top-10
finish is, in the words of coach Jon Urbanchek, a long shot.
Michigan is in 16th place with just 29 points, well behind
first-place Texas (173).
"We don't have a team here," Urbanchek said. "We have to
weigh (success in terms of) individuals."
An All-America and two honorable mentions helps those
Junior Chris Thompson earned the fifth All-America recog-
niition of his career in the 400-meter freestyle by coming in
first place in the afternoon preliminary trials with a time of
The favored Ryk Neethling of Arizona took first place over-
411 for the third year in a row. Neethling knocked five seconds
off his preliminary time to set a United States record in the
400 free, touching the wall in 3:40.47. Thompson finished
"I knew he took it easy in the prelims,' Thompson said of
Neethling's dramatically increased time in the finals. "I did the
same thing last year (coming in first in the trials and third in
the finals). Maybe it's fate I get third every year."
Thompson hopes a similar fate doesn't play a hand in his
race tomorrow. He has placed second to Neethling in the
1650-yard freestyle - replaced by the 1500-meter in this
championship - each of the past two years.
"That's my better event," said Thompson. "Hopefully I'll
come in first this time."
Sophomore Tim Siciliano came in 12th in the trials but fin-
ished I11th in the finals with his best time of 3:46.69 for an
"Thompson and Siciliano got into the rhythm of this meet,"
Urbanchek said. "They're on pace to do well this champi-
Freshman Tony Kurth just missed an All-America in the
200-meter individual medley as he finished .9 seconds behind
eighth place, a mark he needed to get into the finals. In the
consolation heat, Kurth added about 2.5 seconds to his time in
the afternoon to finish just 16th for his honorable mention.
"That's alright, he's a freshman, Urbanchek said. "He was
so psyched for the finals, he wasn't prepared for the conso-
FIRST ROUND - MICHIGAN VS. COLGATE
TOMORROW, 3:30 P.M., WFUM (TV 3124)
It's Opening Day for
Michigan baseball - again
By Raphael Goodstein
Daily Sports Writer
The last time the Michigan baseball
team was seen in Big Ten country was
this past May in Columbus, when it was
celebrating its Big Ten Tournament title
and the automatic-NCAA Tournament
bid that accompanied it.
The Wolverines then lost to Cal State-
Fullerton in the NCAA Tournament
regional finals - and 14 seniors to
Nine months later, the Michigan Nine
lost its ace, Bryce Ralston - one of its
three co-captains - to Tommy John
Two weeks later, the Wolverines (6-8-
1) were preparing for their home opener
against Eastern Michigan.
* 1002 PONTIAC TR.
. U,.. .
But a problem with the infield dirt
pushed the Wolverines' Opening Day
back to today at 3 p.m.
Now, instead of playing the Eagles -
a team Michigan likely would've beaten
- the Wolverines are playing
Minnesota (7-9), a Big Ten title con-
But none of this is deterring Michigan
from the excitement of a new season of
Big Ten baseball.
"It's disappointing considering the
kind of day that it was," captain Rob
Bobeda said about Wednesday's post-
ponement. "But with the weather in
Michigan, you get used to it."
So newfound ace Vince Pistilli will
start the Wolverines home opener
against the Golden Gophers - assum-
ing the weather permits.
Starting the home opener is "an
honor," Pistilli said. "With Bryce out -
who would have been our No. I - it's
important for me to go out and have a
good outing because it sets the tone for
the whole series."
Don't expect Pistilli to crack from the
pressure of a home opener.
Last year, in the NCAA Tournament
second round game against Notre Dame
an elimination game - Pistilli
pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed just
three runs in Michigan's win.
The pitchers' goals this weekend are
"getting ahead of the batters and throw-
ing strikes. We've been falling behind
more than we should." junior catcher
David Parrish said. "For the hitters, it's
not striking out as much. We've been
getting better at that."
This year's Wolverines are striking
RAY FISHER STADIUM
Who: Michigan (6-8-1) vs. Minnesota (7-9)
When: 3 p.m. today, I p.mdoubleheader
tomorrow, I p.m. Sunday.
Latest: This will be the home opener for the
Michigan Nine. Both teams will likely finish in
the top half of the Big Ten standings. Michigan
was supposed to open itshome schedule this
past Wednesday against Eastemn Michigan, but
unplayable ground conditions forced Ixztpoxne-
ment of the game until a later date.
out nine times per game, while scoring
just six runs per game.
If the Wolverines are to repeat last
year's feats, they will need that number
to go up - the runs, not the strikeouts.
But there is reason for hope. At this
point last season, the Wolverines were
averaging just four runs per game, they
finished the season averaging seven.
"It's a matter of guys maturing and
how fast we come together as a team,"
head coach Geoff Zahn said. "We'll
keep improving every day."
401k: Only three numbers have had
their jerseys retired at Ray Fisher stadi-
um: Moby Benedict's I, Bill Freehan's
11, and Don Lund's 33 - which was
retired last year.
Benedict played shortstop for three
year at Michigan and was head coach
Freehan was an All-American catcher
who hit .446 for his career which set a
Lund took over for Michigan legend
Ray Fisher - for whom the stadium is
now named - and took the Wolverines
to the 1962 national title.
Location: Hamilton N.Y., about 30 minutes east
of Syracuse. Within 90 minutes of Albany.
Nickname: Red Raiders
Colors: Maroon, white and gray
Students: 2,650 undergraduates
Average SAT score: 1339
Record: 14-4-2 ECAC (sec-
ond place), 24-8-2 overall
Coach: Don Vaughn (1.39-
' -11.3-23 in eighth season)
Last NCAA appearance:
1990 - the Red Raiders gar-
nered a second-place finish in
the NCAAs behind Wisconsin. The Badgers
posted a 7-3 decision in the championship game.
Record: 19-6-3 CCHA (first
place), 26-9-4 overall
Coach: Red Berenson (420-
206-40 in 16th season)
Last NCAA appearance: st
season - the Wolverines came from dow -0
halfway through their first-round match with
Denver to win 5-3. Michigan then lo e next
night to New Hampshire 2-1 in ov ne, one
goal short of making it Fr( 1Four in
All-time: Tomorrow's game will be the fifth
meeting between the two teams. Michigan is 3-
1-0 against the Red Raiders. The two teams have
never battled in the postseason.
Last meeting: The two faced off in a two-game Both Mi
series at Yost Ice Arena, Oct 17-18, 1997. In the ey's mos
second game, Josh Langfeld and Bill Muckalt each ner, sopt
scored two goals, as the Wolverines got by the playoff r
Red Raiders 6-4. Colgate slipped up Michigan 2-1 chance f
in the first. The Wolverines went on to win the
NCAA Championship that season. Michiga
DANNY KALICK/Da ly
Battle of the Hobey
ichigan and Colgate have a player vying for college hock-
t prestigious award - the Hobey Baker. In Michigan's cor-
homore Mike Comrie readies himself for an impressive
run. For Colgate, senior Andy McDonald hopes his final
for a playoff runs ends in gold. Here's how the two stack up.
n forward Mike Comrie: First-team all-CCHA . ..current-
in points per game with 1.52 and seventh overall in scoring
ation ... youngest player of top nine scorers. Scored in 27
ies this season.
forward Andy McDonald: ECAC Player of the Year
[he ECAC in scoring with 52 points and was second in
on in points per game with 1.68 ... topped the ECAC
and assists ... recorded 16 multiple-point games this
Designed and compiled by Daily Sports Editor Mark Francescutti
Michigan has not lost a first-round NCAA
Tournament game since the
modern format began in 1991.
Colgate has not participated in
the modern format.
in the n
of 33 gar
... led ti
M' softball continues tourney circuit
By Arun Gopal
Daily Sports Writer
With an 18-6 record and a No. 13
national ranking, the Michigan softball
team. has built up a nice head of steam
during the nonconference portion of its
schedule. Wins over ranked powers such
as UCLA and Arizona State have
cemented the Wolverines as a legitimate
national contender this season.
Michigan will look to continue its
momentum this weekend when it takes
part in the Boilermaker Invitational in
West Lafayette. The Wolverines will face
Toledo and Notre Dame tomorrow
before squaring off against Bradley and
Kent on Sunday.
As the three-time defending champi-
on of this event, Michigan has some
lofty standards to live up to. The
Wolverines lost just once in 12 games en
route to those three titles, so this year's
squad will have the target squarely on its
After starting the season a pedestrian
- by Michigan's standards - 7-5, the
Wolverines have caught fire in their last
Michigan won five out of six games at
the NFCA Leadoff Classic over Spring
Break - including victories against
then-No. 5 Louisiana State and No. 4
Arizona State - and followed that up
with a dominating performance in the
Tallahassee Democrat-Florida State
Invitational this past weekend.
The Wolverines outscored their oppo-
nents in Florida by a combined 33-4
margin en route to an unblemished 6-0
record and the tournament champi-
onship. In the final - a 9-0, five-inning
waxing of Kansas - freshman Marissa
Young pitched a one-hitter with six
strikeouts and was named tourney MVP.
"We definitely have improved,"
Hutchins said. "Our pitching has been
consistent, but we're hitting only .271.
That's not good enough to win in the Big
Ten. We have to continue to improve."
Aside from the obvious motivation to
win that Michigan has for every tourna-
ment, there is some added incentive.
In their second game tomorrow,t
Wolverines will take on Notre Dgmee.
Last season, the fifth-seeded Fighting
Irish shocked top-seed Michigan, 1-0, in,
the NCAA Region 6 Championship, at
Alumni Field. The loss shattered the
Wolverines' dreams of a national title
and left them with a sour taste in their
mouths heading into the offseason.
"It's nothing that I would speak of,"
Hutchins said. "What I tell my kids is'
that anybody we're playing is in our way,
But I think that the girls would ha*
some extra motivation for this game."
Michigan is 43-2 in regular-season
conference play over the last two sea-
sons. With such an impressive reputation
to live up to, it is important that the
Wolverines be in top form once confer-
ence play begins April 4.
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