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September 06, 2000 - Image 25

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SportsWednesday - September 6, 2000 - The Michigan Daily - 118

.Despite comeback, Toman misses cut '

By Rohit Bhave
Daily Sports Writer
Despite beginning the U.S. Olympic Gytn-
nastics Trials mired in 14th place, Michigan
senior Justin Toman clawed his way into the
mix with excellent performances on the par-
allel bars and the still rings. When it was all
over, Toman missed making the six-man ros-
ter, placing ninth overall.
The standings were determined by weigh-
ing performance from the pre-qualifying John
Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships 40
percent, and weighing performance at the
Olympic Trials 60 percent. The top four were
given automatic bids, and the remaining two
spots were picked by coaches.
Toman's bid for the Olympic squad began
at the qualifying meet for the trials, the John
Hancock U.S. Gymnastics Championships at
the Kiel Center, St. Louis. While he strug-
gled, the Michigan captain managed to land
the final trials roster spot at 14th place.
Toman's promising Michigan teammates
Kris Zimmerman, Brad Kenna and Scott Vet-
ere could not say the same thing, finishing
20th, 17th and 15th respectively.
At the Fleet Center, Toman hit all twelve

routines. While he hit everv event, his injured
knee limited his floor and vault routines, thus
lowering his potential score on the event.
At the highest level of gymnastics competi-
tion in the country, Toman won the parallel
bars with a 9.775, beating out five-time U.S.
Champion Blain Wilson. He also took fourth
in the still rings with a solid 9.65. By per-
forming well at the trials, Toman garnered
consideration for the final two additions the
roster despite his low overall score.
The last two spots were reserved for gym-
nasts who could balance the weaknesses of
the top four - they did not have to necessari-
ly finish in the top six.
"Many observers were commenting on
how I had a chance to make those final two
spots ... my name was included with John
Roethlisberger, Jamie Natalie, and Morgan
Hamm," Toman said. "However, I knew it
would still be a longshot"
Despite not making the squad for Sydney,
Toman found the trials to be a rewarding
experience. Most notably, he re-discovered
how to compete at big meets.
"Previously, I have been very inconsistent
in high pressure situations. This time, I hit all
twelve routines, and I really enjoyed compet-

ing, and took in a great experience," Toman
said.
The experience of the trials included police
escorts throughout the city of Boston, and
tremendous hospitality throughout the event.
"Just to be part of (the Olympic Trials
process) was special," Toman said.
The 2000 Olympic Trials did not end
Toman's quest for Olympic glory. Rather, it
marks a stepping stone for the 2004 Olympic
Games in Athens.
Though he enjoyed the Trials process,
Toman does admit to having difficulty watch-
ing Olympic promotions and commercials.
"Everytime I see a commercial or some-
thing (associated with the Olympics), I try to
change the change the channel or something.
It is definitely hard to watch. But I will watch
the Olympics, and I wish the team all the
best," Toman said.
Entering his senior year at Michigan,
Toman might be facing a medical redshirt sit-
uation. His knee, wrapped in a brace since
March of last year, needed surgery to repair
the torn ACL and meniscal tears. Last week,
Toman was operated on by Dr. Wojtys. Cur-
rently, prospects for competing in the 2001
season are up in the air.

Senior Justin Toman climbed from 14th place to 9th place after the Olympic Trials, but failed to make
the games in Sydney. Toman also injured his knee at the competition, and his senior year is in jeopardy.

'M' IN THE OLYMPICS

Sullivan rested, ready for Sydney

'M' STUDENTS
Chris Thompson(1997-present) USA
Tom Dolan (1994-96) USA
Tom Malchow (1996-'99) USA
Owen von Richter (1995-98) Canada
Mike McWha (1997-2000) Canada
Gustavo Borges (1992-'95) Brazil
Marcel Wouda (1993- 95) Netherlands
rancisco Suriano Siu (1997-00) EL Salvador
Derya Buyukuncu (1995-98) Turkey
Shannon Shakespeare (1997-'04) Canadia
Abel Sanchez (1992-'951aPeru
Kevin Sullivan (1994-98) Canada
Rudy Tomjanovich(1968-'70) USA
'M' COACIES
Jennifer Brunda'e (1999-present) USA
Bernice Orwin (5000) USA
Jon Urbanchek (1993-present) USA

men s swimmin"
men s swimming
men s swimmin
men's swimins
men's swimming
icit s swsimming
men's swimming
men's swimming
men s sw mming
women's simming
divn
mens track
hasketball coach
softball
water polo
simitminL coach

9
f
k:
y.
LOUIS OPOWN! 'ti

By Ryan C. Moloney
Dat11%ruSorsiter

It just so happens, that the Greatest-
Athlete-You-Never- eard-of-on-Cam-
pus is also the Greatest Athlete on
Campus -period.
M ichi"an cross country assistant
coach Kevin Sullivan is attempting to
accomplish a rarity fir a North Ameri-
can - medaling in a distance event in
the Olmpics.
Canada's representative in the 1500
meters, Sullivan made the trip to Syd-
nex last week. After acjusting to the
time chance and the jetiag of a 15-hour
flight, Sullivan appears rested.
"Kevin didn't race a lot in the past
few months" former track and cross
countrv teammate Jay Cantin said. " Ic
wanted to stay fresh for the three heats
iefre the final.
If Ile susives the three prcliminarv
heats, as experts believe, Sullivan will
compete fior a medal on September 25.
Sullivan finished fifth in the event at
last year's world championships and is

ranked eighth in this week's iAAF
world rankings. His personal best in the
cent is an impressive 3:31.
Current record-holder Hicham E
Guerrouj is the gold-medal favorite.
with a blistering 3:26 to his credit.
The 1500 is reputedly a race for
younger runners whose muscle-twitch
hasn t slowed down
At 26, Sullivan is not old for the race,
but the decision to compete in the 1500
wasn't a foregone conclusion.
"A couple of years ago, he decided
that he still had the potential to compete
for a medal," Cantin said. "Kevin's very
strong and that's good for all those
qualifying heats.
But a finals berth isn't the end all.
"If Kevin makes the final, there'll be
hell to pay" Sullivan's coach Ron
Warhurst said. "He s going to leave it
all on the track."
Sullivan's medal hopes might also
hinge ott everybody's favorite Olympic
albatross - drug-testing. The introduc-
tion of testing for EPO, a popular per-
formance enhancer for distance athletes,

sight only enhance Sullivan's medal
aspirations according to Warhurst.
I im vers iterested in some of the
incredible injuries that will pop-up
between now and thei" W tarhurst said.
"A few guys have already dropped out
of the race because of injuries; but I
think it smells a little fishy.
In terms of training, Sulluvan s choice
was simple. Stay at home and train
alone, or travel to running meccas
Boulder or Eugene - a popular choice
amone North America's rather
mediocre distance contingent.
Sullivan preferred the loneliness of
the long distance runner in Ann Arbor.
"I don't bus into the training at high
altitudes' talk and neither does Kevin,"
Warhust said. " iis an elite rnnet so
lie couldn't be expected to fly anywhere
for somebody s benefit. He loves to
coach and he wants to train here."
Sullivan's leave of abscence doesn't
sit as well wilh him as one stay expect
"He's pissed because he's missing
two (cross countr) meets," Warhurst
said. "That's just the kind of guy lie is.

Softball trio faces Olympians

By Benjamin Singer
Daily Sports Writer
Near the end of the 2000 softball
*eason, Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins asked rightfielder Melissa
Taylor, catcher Stefanie Volpe and
pitcher Marie Barda to stay after
practice.
"We thought we were in trouble,"
Taylor said. "I hadn't done ansthin
wrong, but I thought maybe she
dug something up."
Hutchins did not confront her
players with a reprimand, but rather
an opportunity.
The United States Olvmpic team
as going to prepare for the world's
best in Sydney by taking a tour
around the country against the
nation's second-best.
Regional All-Star teams were
being formed and Hutchins asked
her three stars to represent the Mid-
west team for a doubleheader in
South Bend on June 18.
"It was a good opportunity. a
!*bod experience," Volpe said.
"I just thought it was a great
honor," Taylor said.
Volpe led the team in batting
average at .363 and also in home-

runs with five. Taylor had a .325
batting average and led the team
with 62 hits. Barda was their ace
pitcher with a record of 17-7 and a
1.79 ERA.
The Michigan trio was facing
their assistant coach - not just the
defending Olympic gold medalists.
Jennifer Brundage, an alternate for
the 1996 team in Atlanta, was the
starting left fielder.
Brundage is in the top fi e in
eight major offensive categories for
the OJympic team for the tour.
She led in homeruns (17), runs
(43) and is tied for first with 3 sac-
rifice flies. She also hit .371 with
51 RBIs.
The players did not feel too awk-
ward playing against their own
coach. They were, of course, very
excited.
I was excited to play "not just
her, but the whole team," Volpe
said.
The Olympic team swept the dou-
bleheader wiining 3-1 and 12-0.
Both Volpe and Taylor started its
the first game going 1-fir-3 and 0-
for-2 respectively.
Barda was the starter in gaine
two, pitching the first three innings

and notching t wo strikeout s.
Though she allowed four runs, none
were earned.
On the other side of the field,
Brundage went a combined 3-for-6
with two runs and an RBI, includ-
ing a single against Barda.
"Jennifer was on first base kind
of cheering for (Barda)," Volpe
said.
A little bit of teasing went on
between Brundage and her pupils
as well.
"I told her, We'll do better than
you."' Volpe said.
"We didn't care if we won or lost.
It was a one in a million chance
that we'd win. We were just out
there having fun."
The run scored by the Midwest in
the opening 3-I loss was the first
given up in 16 games by the U.S.
team.
Such a close game made Taylor
feel the odds of winning were high-
er than one in a million - although
the U.S. team went 60-0 for the
tour.
"If you take the best of the U.S.
against the best of the Midwest. I'm
not sure they beat us 10 out of 10
times," Taylor said.

r

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