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March 19, 2001 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-19

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6B -The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 19, 2001

All-American
Olson returns
By Richard Haddad{
Daily Spon rt\iu :.. :

Senior gymnasts
end in grand fashion

Wielding a No. 3 national ranking and eight
national qualifiers, the Michigan wrestling team
entered Iowa City for the NCAA Championships
with lofty aspirations. Although they fell a bit short
of realizing those aspirations, the Wolverines fittingly
concluded one of their most successful seasons in
years..
In scoring) 65.5 points to take seventh place,
Michigan achieved its highest finish in seven years.
And in seeing five wrestlers earn All-America status,
it solidified an exceptionally strong base from which
to build on next year.
"I was real proud of the way the guys competed
this weekend," coach Joe McFarland said. "All eight
guys that went really wrestled hard, and we're excited
about having five All-Americans, which we haven't
done in a long time.'"
In placing fourth, fourth, and seventh, No. 10 125-
pounder A. J. Grant, No. 7 1 84-pounder Andy
Hrovat, and No. 11 149-pounder Mike Kulczycki,
respectively, each exceeded their seedings and expec-
tations. and heavyweight Matt Brink also took sev-
enth place.
In light of their fifth-place Big Ten finishes and the
obstacles that stood in their paths, Grant's and
Hrovat's performances were especially impressive. In
compiling a 5-2 record over the weekend, Grant suc-
cumbed only to Iowa's No. 2 Jody Strittmatter and
Minnesota's No. 3 Leroy Vega. Hrovat's run was
highlighted by decisions over No. 2 Nate Patrick of
Illinois and No. 5 Damian Hahn of Minnesota. His
two losses cane at the hands of Oklahoma State's
No. 3 Daniel Cormier and and Indiana's No. 4 Victor
Sveda.
"Grant and Hrovat had great tournaments," McFar-
land said. "Both stepped up and really got after it by
wrestling with intensity, grit and toughness. They
won big matches, and that's why they were out
there."
Michigan's senior captain, No. 2 Otto Olson,

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Dadiy
Andy Hrovat placed fourth at NCAAs this weekend to help the Wolverines take a seventh-place finish.

attained the most success of any Wolverine by plac-
ing third, but his finish came under questionable cir-
cumstances. Michigan failed to achieve its team goal
of placing an individual national champion, but the
denial of a chance to achieve that goal can be some-
what attributed to those circumstances.
After finishing second at the NCAAs in his sopho-
more year, Olson was sidelined for last year's tourna-
ment because of a knee injury. With his 32-1
regular-season record in hand, he entered the week-
end determined to finally win a national champi-
onship.
When Olson looked up at the scoreboard in the
third period of his semifinal match with Army's
third-ranked Maurice Worthy, he held an 8-7 advan-
tage with only 55 seconds remaining. Olson, who is
famous for his physical conditioning and intensity,
allowed an obviously-fatigued Worthy a one-point
reversal to tie the score at 8-8, figuring that he could
utilize his superior endurance to get an overtime
takedown to secure the victory.
However. after time had expired, the match's offi-
cials announced that the wrong score had been post-
ed at the 55-second mark. Worthy had actually been
e falls, Gophe

I

Iowa's empiri

up 7-6, and with that late reversal, Worthy's hand was
raised, and he was awarded an 8-6 victory.
Michigan's protest was upheld, and Worthy and
Olson took the mat again an hour later to wrestle the
match's final 55 seconds one more time. But after
Worthy had enjoyed an extra hour to recuperate,
Olson was unable to exploit his adversary's exhaus-
tion and suffered an 8-6 defeat.
"I don't understand why they didn't let them wres-
tle the whole match," McFarland said." The biggest
advantage in the original match was the conditioning,
and after resting an hour to wrestle 55 seconds, we
couldn't take advantage of it.
"Otto didn't reach his goal of being a champ, so it
was a tough and disappointing loss, but he rebounded
very well."
Olson did receive some positive news over the
weekend - the NCAA decided to grant him a sixth
year of eligibility due to last year's season-ending
knee injury.
While Michigan failed to reach its team goals of
finishing in the top four, with Olson back in the
maize and blue, each of its five All-Americans will
return to mount another attempt next year.
rs take title
e the finals prepare for the Olympic Trials,
merica 174- clinched the team victory for Minneso-
. Iowa will ta by defeating Iowa's Jody Strittmatter
s to replace in the finals.
"It feels good to help Minnesota win
even more a team title. I'm just glad to see Iowa
tournament not win it again," Abas said. "Minneso-
vors teams ta did a great job. All of their guys are
All-Americans and that's unbelievable."
and Okla- The only team to defeat Minnesota
wrestlers in during the regular season, Oklahoma
yes and 1lli- State finished third, with only 197-
pound senior Mark Munoz claiming a
e season as championship.
ael Sander- Munoz summed up the theme of the
unds), who tournament for the seniors.
utstanding "Since high school, I wanted to be
Fresno State the NCAA Champion. This year, I was
ms of Iowa focused" Munoz said. i
ck of Edin- But the secret'?
chael Light- "I did what hulk H ogan does -
unds). pr ay, eat vitamins and cat right,"
st season to Munoz said.

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
Talk about going out with a bang.
The Michigan women's gymnas-
tics team saved its best for last,
putting together its most impressive
performance of the year on Senior
Night on Saturday. In the last regu-
lar season meet of the year, the
Wolverines put up their best team
score of the season, routing West
Virginia 197.575-193.675.
But the stories of the evening
were the performances of Bridget
Knaeble, Christine Michaud and
Karina Senior -- the three members
of team making their last regular
season appearances as Michigan
gymnasts.
"It's such a mixed bag of feel-
ings," Michigan coach Bev Plocki
said.
"It's hard when you think about
losing kids from your program that
have meant so much. We feel like
we've been able to touch their lives
-- it's awesome, but at the same
time it's sad."
Michigan controlled the meet
from the very beginning; eventually
winning all four individual events.
Elise Ray won the individual all-
around with her second best score of
the season, a 39.6 -- a mark that
included an event victory on beam
with a 9.950.
Michaud, a vault specialist,
closed out her regular season career
by matching her personal best vault
score of 9.950, good enough for an

event win. Knaeble too the uneven
bars title with at 9.975, and then ~
shared the floor exercise title as she
and Senior finished off the night
with back-to-back 9.950 scores.
"It was icaLly exciting," said
Senior of the meet's conclusion
"Bridget and I had made a pact that
we were going to get twin 10.0's to
go out -- we didn't quite get them,
but it was still a great way to fin~
ish."
The Wolveriacs also managed to
put together a 49.375 team score on
the beam, easily their best score of
the year on the event that has causet
them the most probems this seasOl
"I think our practices on beam1
have been going really well," l"ock
said. "Our hit percentages in prac
tice have been way up, and I think
we're seeing the result of that.-
Other than honoring the seniors,
the most important aspect of Satur-
day ight 's meet was that the
Wolverines gained some always,
valuable momentum heading into,
the postseason.
Three more prolific team perfor-
mances -- at Big Tens, regionals,,
and nationals --- and the team will
have an outstanding opportunity to
reach their ultimate goal of a nation--
al championship.
Saturday night's meet went a long
way towards the idea that this team
is peaking at exactly the right time.
. "We're definite.y feeling that,"
Knaeble said. "We're improving and
we're in terrific shape for Big
Tens."

By Nathan Linsley
Daily Sports Nrter
Dynasties, by definition, are not per-
manent. The Roman Empire, the
Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago Bulls
all ruled without rival before falling
from grace.
Perhaps the lowa Halaw keye's dynasty
is faliing in collegiate wrestling.
Big Ten champion Minnesota used
superior balance to upend the I1lawkeyes
in their home arena for the Golden
Gophers' first NCAA championship.
Iowa had won six consecutive team
titles and 10 of the last 11.
Minnesota, which proved itself to be
the best dual meet team in the country
at the National Duals in January, did
not place a single wrestler in the finals,
becoming the first squad to win a team
championship without individual
championship contenders.

The Gophers set another first when
all 10 of their wrestlers finished in the
top-eight of their classes, becoming
All-Americans.
"We had a game-plan for this year. I
thought that we could win with 10 All-
Amencans and that became our game-
plan for the year,"
Minnesota coach .1 Robinson said.
"We knew that the only way we could
win was with a team effort, and that is
what it came down to."
Iowa finished second by placing four
wrestlers in the finals, claiming two
championships. But the Hawkeyes only
qualified eight wrestlers for the tourna-
ment, with seven All-America finishes.
"Minnesota had 10 guys coming in
and 10 guys who scored points," Iowa
coach Jim Zalesky said. "We had eight,
so we knew we were behind going in."
The trouble for the Hawkeyes could
continue in the future. All four of

lowa's wrestlers that mad
were seniors, as was All-An
pounder Gabe McMahan.
have to find five new starter
their stars.
Minnesota's victory was
impressive because of thet
scoring system, which fa
with individual champions.
Though teams like lowa
homa State placed multiple
the finals, only the H awkey
nois fielded two champions.
Fiv e wrestlers finished th
undefcated champions --, C
son of Iowa State (184 po
was named the meet's o
wrestler, Stephen Abas of F
(125 pounds), I. Willia
(157 pounds), Josh Kosche
boro (174 pounds) and Mi
ner from Oklahoma (141 po
Abas, who redshirted la

i.

L _

0:

BRANDON SEDuOFF/Daily
Karina Senior performs on the uneven bars last Saturday in her last regular-season
meet as a Wolverine. Her next step - the Big Ten Championship.
Lady Bulldogs fall to
10th-seeded Missouri

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - When the
final horn sounded, Kelly Miller
buckled over as if she had been
punched in the stomach. Coco Miller
gnawed at her jersey and fought back
tears as she trotted off the court.
Amanda Lassiter scored 22 points
and 10th-seeded Missouri upset the
second-seeded Bulldogs.78-65 yes-
terday in the second of the NCAA
East Regional.
The Bulldogs (27-6) felt they
deserved a No. I seed but couldn't
even get by the subregional on their
home court.
Missouri (22-9) snapped Georgia's
24-game winning streak at Stegeman
Coliseum and became the first road
team to win an game at Athens since
1990.
"The whole team played hard,"
Coco Miller said, choking with emo-
tion at the postgame news confer-
ence. "It's just too bad it to end like
this."
The Millers made it to the Final
Four as sophomores but never got
back. The Bulldogs were beaten in
the regional final a year and then

same team in the WNBA.
"We haven't really spoken about
that," Coco said. "We don't have to.
say much. We know what the other
one is thinking."
Kelly Miller was held to 1 points
on 5-for-16 shooting, while her sister
made only five of 15 attempts forlO
points.
Missouri moved on to the regional
semifinals at Pittsburgh, advancing o
to the third round for the first time in
school history.
"We came in confident, knowing
we could compete vith Georgia,
Lassiter said. "We didn't want to
seem timid. We wanted to get them
out of their comfort zone and control
the tempo."
Lassiter hit four 3-pointers and
had seven rebounds and six steals.
Marlena Williams added 19 points0
for the Tigers, who until this year
had not won an NCAA game since
1986.
"I'm not really big on history
myself," coach Cindy Stein said.,
"This has more to do with the pre-.
sent. We don't want to be satisfied

W-

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