16 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 13, 2000
He was ranked No.:1 at 174 pounds, amassing a 21-2
record entering the Virginia Duels on Jan. 8. His only loss-
es came against non-collegiate wrestlers.
During the meet, Olson tore his lateral cruciate ligament
and posterior cruciate ligament, which stabilizes the knee
when it is fully extended. His season was over; his dreams
of a national championship vanished.
"It had to be completely reconstructed," Olson said.
"They started from scratch. It was skin and bone after the
The treacherous road of rehab to save Olson's career
"After I got hurt, I worked on the things I thought would
help me in other areas, like upper body strength and my
upper body conditioning," Olson said.
Enter the pull-up bar.
Olson lifted weights religiously while rehabilitating his
knee. Only 10 months after complete reconstruction of his
knee, Olson would again wrestle competitively - and
again as the No. I wrestler in the nation at 174 pounds.
Every time Olson came to the practice room, he was
more determined to fulfill what he lost to the injury.
"I had goals that I thought I was going to accomplish last
year, and I had my dreams taken away from me'" Olson
said. "Now I have another chance to get what I rightly
Without full use of his knee, Olson knew that he would
have to learn to be a better technical wrestler.
"We've continued to work in certain areas, technical
areas, that we've felt, as a staff, he needs to work on. He's
been open-minded," McFarland said. "With his intensity,
that's only going to make him that much better."
Regardless of his technical improvement, teammate Joe
DeGain continues to be astounded by Olson's determina-
"Obviously, he progresses technique-wise, but I think his
intensity is what he's really been able to master," DeGain
said. "It's awesome."
Freshman Landon Greene has the unenviable task of
being the backup to the nation's best 174-pounder. They
wrestle against each other every day.
To the frustration of Greene, it is difficult to see any last-
ing effects from Olson's injury.
"He's just constantly going," Greene said. "He takes
advantage of every mistake you make."
Olson's first match since the injury was at the Eastern
Michigan Open last month - a pin in only 72 seconds.
Witlt his semifinal victory in the tournament, he became
only the 18th wrestler in Michigan history to wits 100
matches in his career.
It was an honor, but it should have happened last season.
"It was going to be in the first home dual meet oftthe sea-
son, in my first home meet since my second place finish at
nationals," Olson said. "It was going to be a big deal to me."
He is not disappointed that he missed the opportunity,
rather that it came when he was not competing for Michigan
in the unattached meet.
In the finals, Olson solidified his comback by defeating
Mike Feeney from Eastern Michigan, the No. 4 174-
Olson went on to victory at the Michigan State Open. A
showdown with second-ranked Josh Koscheck of Edinboro
was on the horizon.
But, Olson was hit by a car while riding his bike to his
student-teaching job, rupturing ligaments in his shoulder.
He would have to miss the chance to wrestle Koscheck.
Olson returned this week for his first home meet in 16
months, pinning Nate Mesyn from Michigan State in 4:52.
"I was pretty fired up. I've pictured that moment for more
than a year, because that's the last time I wrestled here"
Olson said. "I'd picked out the song I was going to listen to,
I'd seen it in my head a thousand times in the weight room,
in the practice room. I finally had a chance to do it, and it
was against MSU, so it was fun.'
GET IN THE RING
A tribute to hard work, Olson's success has not gone
unnoticed by his teammates.
"Out of the practice room, he's still focused on being in
the practice room," DeGains said.
The leadership role is one that Olson relishes, because as
a 23-year-old, he know the ins-and-outs of collegiate
"I just try to lead by example and help out the freshmen,
showing them the way," Olson said. "I want them to see the
way that I wrestle on the mat, and the way I wrestle in prac-
tice, the way I lift weights."
The example is evident with Olson's strenuous work
ethic. Follow-the-leader is perhaps more prominent here
than even on the elementary school playground.
McFarland likes the cavalier attitude Olson has adopted.
"He adds a lot to our program and brings a lot of intensi-
tv into our room. That's a good example for our younger
guys, because his aggressiveness and intensity are really
what wins a lot of matches for him," McFarland said.
It is not all hard work for Olson. lie began working as a
disc jockey in the sixth grade and continues to drive his "DJ
OTTO" van around Ann Arbor for parties, weddings and
"It has kind of grown a little bit, and turned into a pretty
good small business for me - potentially profitable after
college," Olson said.
The image of Otto Olson the DJ is difficult to imagine,
watching him come off the practice mat with a cut above his
eye and sweat pouring down his face. But DeGain insists
that away from wrestling, ultra-intense Otto the wrestler can
turn into fun-loving Otto the college student.
"He's a fun guy to be around, for sure" DeGain said.
"He's always able to balance music, and having fun, with
"I enjoy mixing music and being creative with it, doing a
little scratching," Olson said. "Just for the hell of it"
It does not seem like Olson would ever do anything "just
for the hell of it" When asked about his personal music
preference, the intensity resurfaces.
"Personally, I'm more into motivational music -
AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, the Rocky Soundtrack."
He rises off the couch and heads back to the mat. Practice
may be over, but there is a feeling that Olson's march to a
championship has just begun.
hey begin clapping, slowly, but in unison. The fre-
quency increases until there is a deafening roar, and
with a cheer and a huddle, they disperse.
So ends practice for the Michigan wrestling team, which
lives and breathes its motto: In-your-face.
The grapplers drag themselves away from the huddle.
Some go to the showers, some tease the wrestling dummy
hanging from the wall, and some just crash on the couches
strategically placed in the room.
Otto Olson stalks the pull-up bar Teammates see him and
groan on their way back to the stat, ready to fine-tune
moves with the coaches.
Up and down, up and down. The senior's shoulders twitch
from overuse, but he goes on.
Up and down, up and down. Eventually, he lets go of the
bar and hits the floor, his weight on the knee that almost
ended his career.
SWEET CHILD O' MINE
Erick Olson began wrestling at the age of five in Everett,
Washington. He also played quarterback, but after his fresh-
man year in high school, he quit football in favor of
"Wrestling was the sport because I'm not a really great
athlete, and you can succeed in wrestling without being a
great athlete," Olson said.
Olson used his perceived lack of athleticism to his advan-
tage, demanding a level of intensity from himself that far
surpassed that of his competitors.
"When I saw him wrestle in high school, I said, 'This is
the kind of kid I want in my room,"' coach Joe McFarland
said. "lie adds a good flavor to our room, and that's what I
Erick was given the nickname "OT" for his propensity to
take his matches to overtime. The name evolved, and Otto
Olson was born.
Olson placed second in the NCAA tournament as a
sophomore and returned for his junior year full of with
expectations and ready to win.
In the first scoring meet of the season, he won the Cliff
Keen Invitational, a tournament that featured wrestling
powerhouses Minnesota and Oklahoma State.
'M' tankers seek balance, consistency in second half
By Naweed Sikora
Daily Sports Writer
After placing second at the Big Ten
Championships last season, coach Jim
Richardson and the Michigan women's
swimming team began looking forward
to the 2000-01 season. With freshman
freestyler Samantha Arsenault - a
member ofthe 2000 U.S. Olympic team
-joining the squad, and veteran swim-
mers Missy Sugar and tennifer Crisman
returning, team expectations were high.
Now, at the halfway point of the sea-
son, the team that began the year ranked
ninth in the nation dropped to 13th,
with a record of 2-3. For Richardson,
the frustration began in early
"I wasn't pleased with the readiness
of this tcam when we started in the
fall" he said. "W'e spent the fall trying
to get back in shape instead of improv-
The inconsistency of the team makes
it difficult to predict how the second half
will unfold. On Nov. 10. the Wolverines
performed brilliantly at the Continental
Airlines Classic, finishing first in a field
of six. Present at the mect were No. 2
California and conference rival Penn
State. Yet, at other times, the team did
not perform as well. It dropped its sea-
son opener to No. 14 Wisconsin.
Richardson is looking to bring con-
sistency to the lineup by adding speed.
"At this point in
acquisition is our nut
Along with speed,
a big challenge fac
for the second hal
Sugar, Crisman and
swimming in freesty
has difficulty gettin
from any of the othe
An obvious exam
in which Michigan
first-place finish in
At the Texas Ini
earned 362 points,
seventh place in a1
those 362, only 80
other than freestylef
the season, speed In all the butterfly events that week-
mber one concern," end, Michigan only managed to score
, scoring balance is Still, there is much to salvage from
ping the Wolverines the first half of the season.
f. With Arsenault, Richardson witnessed many spectac-
Laura Kaznecki all ular swims he felt were significant
yle events, the team breakthroughs for his swimmers. Both
g point production Crisman and Sugar have performed
r major events. consistently well so far in the 200-yard
ple is the butterfly, freestyle. Crisman has recorded five
has set to record a NCAA consideration times in three
a meet this season. separate events.
itational, Michigan Arsenault, who broke the school
good enough for record in the 500-yard freestyle at the
field of 14. Out of Texas Invitational with an NCAA auto-
came from events matic qualifying time of 4:42.91, has
events and relays. been Michigan's best swimmer thus far,
repeatedly finishing at or near the top in
all of her races.
Looking ahead, the Wolverines will
travel to Honolulu over winter break
where they will participate in a rigorous
Though striving for consistent swim-
ming, Michigan can count on fresh-
man Tealin Keleman in diving. Here
are just a few of her many accom-
NCAA diving zone qualifying ores
in the one-meter (271.85) and three-
meter (282.90) dicing events.
Big Ten Diver of the Week award
for her two first place finishes at the
First-place in every event until the
Texas/ Michigan State dual meet
two-week training program. They will
participate in a one-day competition
against Texas A&M, on Dec. 27.
"This team has the willingness to
work hard," Richardson said. "I think
that in order for us to do well at the Big
Ten championship, we have to be per-
fect for the rest of the year."
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Continued from Pago 14
Michigan. The Wolverines will get t
demonstrate how much they've devel
oped since the 97-90 Oakland defeat.
The Falcons are the defending MA
champions, but their competition wa
meager through five games and the
have yet to pick up at victors on the roa
Bowling Green's tallest player, 6-9 cen
ter Len Matela, is also the leading scor
er at 18.8 points per game.
Michigan has a chance to reinvn
itself during the winter break if it (a
pick rsp wins against Bowling Gre
and the three subsequent opponent
The team is going into this portiono
the season with an opportunistic mental
"We're down ight now, but we hv
to be back ready to go to play Bowin
Green," sophomore Gavin Groninge
said. "We're going to try to get bete
that's all we can do."
MoRRIs BROwN (DEc. 23): The inde
pendent Division I team is 2-7, lael
due to ambitious scheduling. Wes
Virginia, Pittsburgh and Minnesota ar
among the large schools that have beat
en Morris Brown.
TowsON (DEC. 27): The Tigers ($3
immediately signed on for incrace<
exposure when Tamir Goodman, 'h
media-dubbed "Jewish Jordan," com
mited to Towson. The Jewish Ortho o
Goodman was at one time considere
be among the nation's top Mte
prospects, but in his first eight gamel h
has averaged a mere 3.6 points.
EASTERN MICHIGAN (DEC. 10)
Michigan's well-publicized struggle
have overshadowed the Eagles' 1-4 start
Eastern Michigan won its first game o
the season in a 67-64 come-from-belin
effort against IUPUI Dec. 6.
Continued from Page 14
Boileruakers are not a team that th
Wolverines are afraid of. The highgg
of last year's Big Ten season was a 74-6
win over then-No. 12 Purdue. Ann
Thorius led Michigan with 18 point.
Purdue has shown some vulnerablit'
It has lost twice to ranked opponents
including No. 10 Louisina Tech
Michigan defeated the then-No. 8 Cad'
Techsters, 69-66, in its season openr.
Purdue is led by Katie Douglas, vh
was picked by both the Big Ten coah
and media as their pre-season Player o
the Year. Last year, Douglas averges
20.4 points per game on her wa t
being named an Associated Press sec
ond team All-American and Naisnit
Plaver of the Year finalist.
Ilinois, a preseason top 25 team ha
fallen from the rankings after losss t<
No. 1 Connecticut and No. 2 Tennessee
Last year, Michigan had Illinois' sum
ber, upsetting the ranked tllini both
times. When the two played at Cssl
Michigan won 70-59.
Purdue was picked to finish first is
the Big Ten, Illinois was picked to fhnis
third. The Wolverines were left off the
conference's pre-season rankings -
which picked just the top three - an
felt that they were not respected I
respect is to be the Christmas prescst, i
won't unwrap itself-- the Big Tet'sea
son begins Dec. 28 in Champaign.
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