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November 05, 1999 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-05

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 5, 1999

'M' wrestlers 'Otto'
work for success

D-III runner making
'run' at rushing record

By Brian Galvin
Daily Sports Writer
With three All-Americans and six of
seven NCAA qualifiers returning, the
Michigan wrestling team has its eye on
the big prize - an NCAA champi-
onship.
Under new head coach Joe
McFarland, the Wolverines are putting
in their 20-plus hours a week of run-
ning, weight training and constant
drilling to prepare for the dual-meet
season, which begins in early
December.
This weekend, several 'M' grapplers
will check their progress at the Eastern
Michigan Open in Ypsilanti.
The competition pits individual
wrestlers from each school against
each other to gain experience for the
season ahead.
,,None of the grapplers can be guided
directly by their coaches and no team
scores are kept.
If the early national rankings are any
indication, Michigan should be
impressive.
But McFarland isn't buying into the
hype that has the Wolverines ranked
seventh in the country.
"I don't know if we're that good,"
McFarland said. "Maybe by the end of
the year, we'll be there."
McFarland plans to get to NCAAs
the old-fashioned way - through hard
work and a little help from technology.
The Wolverines will spend a good deal
of time watching film of themselves
and their opponents and hope that

studying past matches will give themf
the extra edge on the mat.
"The coaches get together individu-
ally with the guys to go over film andY
critique their form' McFarland said.
"I'm big on that."
Another factor that may give
Michigan an edge is its choice of cap-
tain, All-American senior Otto Olson.
Olson advanced to the championship
match at the NCAA Tournament last
season. McFarland hopes his captain
can pass along that experience to his
teammates.
"Otto is one of the mentally toughest
guys I've ever worked with,"T
McFarland said. "The guys have a,
great leader in front of them."
Not only is Olson an example of
Michigan wrestling success, but three
members of the coaching staff are
training themselves to make the 2000 .
Olympic team. Assistants Sean
Bormet and John Fisher, along with The Michigan wrestling team competes at
volunteer coach John Vogel, will
work with the team extensively in Olson, Damion Logan, and Andy
order to pursue their Olympic dreams Hrovat, Michigan adds a heralded
and give younger Wolverines an idea seven-wrestler freshman class.
of what they can become. McFarland, like most college
Although leadership is an asset for coaches, was cautious not to praise
Michigan, hard work is what will his young wrestlers, noting that they
drive the Wolverines this season. would have to compete for their posi-
McFarland praises the team work tions.
ethic and maintains that it will serve Freshman Foley Dowd, ranked No.
his wrestlers down the road well. I in the nation his senior year, may
"We can win a lot of matches by still have to sit behind senior Joe
outconditioning and outhustling the Warren in the 133-pound weight
other wrestlers," he said. class.
In addition to All-Americans Though McFarland wrestled at
Michigan with World Championship
Wrestling's Steiner Brothers, he sees
- the future of his team in amateur
competition and not at the "made for
television" professional wrestling.
"I want out guys to try to make
+. , Rworld and Olympic teams," he said.
l4UNiTIE5:

DAVID R5CHKIND/Daly
the Eastern Michigan Open this weekend.
'M'lwrestling roster
Ma Bank So. t
Matt Ckurella Fr 149
Joe Dein Jr. 184
Foiy Dowd Fr. 133
Clark Forward Fr. 141,
Etis Goldenber Fr. 125
Arron Grant Fr. 125
Antkony Hoifiekt F. 157,
Andy Hrovat So 184
Nick Kacher So. 149
Mike Kulczycki Fr. 149
Mark Lazzo Fr. 157
Frank Lodeserto Sr. 197
Damion Logan Jr. 141
Brad Lusk Fr. 165
Charles Martelli So._ 15
Jared Martin Fr. 133
MattMichalski Jr. 133
Otto Olson Jr. 174
Pat Owen Fr. 157
Jason FRawls Jr. . 195
Dan Seder Fr. 1.7
Kyle Sith Fr. 197
Katskhiko Seeds Fr. 125
Matt Thomas Fr. 149
Malacki Walker Fr. 149
ron Water So. H
Ma Wik Ine. Jrm n 125
Joe Warren . Sr: . 1aa
OkCip IWilliamson .So.. 184

GROVE CITY, Pa. (AP) - What
Barry Sanders was to NCAA Division I-
A, R.J. Bowers is to Division Ill.
Bowers doesn't set rushing and scor-
ing records, he annihilates them. Just
like Sanders did when he played at
Oklahoma State, Bowers finds a 100-
yard game a huge disappointment.
With a normal game Saturday against
Muhlenberg - he averages 192.9 yards
- Bowers could move into 12th place
on the NCAA's all-time rushing list, past
Charles White (5,598) of Southern Cal.
Bowers then would need about 1,300
yards next year to break the all-class
record of 6,958.
"What he is doing is simply unbeliev-
able," said Chris Smith, Bowers' coach
at Grove City College, a small school 60
miles north of Pittsburgh. "I've never
seen anything like this"
By next year, it could be that nobody
in college football will have seen any-
thing like this 6-foot-1, 245-pound full-
back, who runs through would-be tack-
lers as if they were those tiny plastic fig-
ures on an electric football board.
Bowers is 1,507 yards behind Shay,
who last year surpassed former Texas
A&M-Kingsville star Johnny Bailey's
record of 6,320 yards.
"If I don't get injured, I know I can do
it," said Bowers, who has rushed for at
least 100 yards in a record 26 straight
games. "I'd love to set the record, but what
I really want to do is play in the NFL"
Last year, Bowers led the nation with
2,283 yards and set Division III records
with 34 rushing touchdowns and 206
points, despite fracturing his left ankle at
the end of the season.
Bowers spent most of the offseason
recuperating from surgery, and was lim-
ited - by his standards - to 121 and
124 yards in a pair of early-season
games. But he has four games of 253

yards or more in his last seven games.
What's remarkable is that Bowers,
who will tomn 26 in February, spent f'
years away from football as an outft
er in the Houston Astros' farm system.
Bowers was recruited to play football
out of West Middlesex (Pa.) High
School by Division I-A Akron, but
switched to baseball after being drafted
on the I1th round by Houston in 1992.
After quitting baseball, he wound up
at Grove City mostly because he -ws
looking for a good academic school.
Bowers broke into the starting linetp
as a 23-year-old freshman and
excelled in Grove City's wing-T offen
which features the fullback as the first
running option. With a combination of
size and strength seldom seen In
Division III, Bowers has dominated.
"I know some people say, 'You're 25,
you're a man running against boys""
Bowers said. "But it's not like I'm 20 and
everybody else is 15. Most of the players
are only a couple of years younger than
me and are physically mature.'
A year ago, Bowers went to bolt to
NFL and didn't anticipate staying for his
senior year. But after being timed at 4..1
seconds in the 40-yard dash - too slow
for an NFL back - he realized he had
no chance of being drafted.
Bowers says he can now run between
4.55 and 4.61 in the 40-yard dash.
"Do I want to play in the NFL?"
Bower said. "Yeah, and if I break the
record, I'm sure I'll get invited to sonte
all-star games, and then I can show *
scouts what I can do.
"I'm not a typical Division Ill athlef',
because I was a pro athlete before I canal
here. If I were to come out now, they'd say,
'That's R.J. Bowers, Division III recQy
breaker' But if I come back, they could
say, 'That's R.J. Bowers, he broke all tl
records and did well in the Senior BowlI'

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