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April 09, 2001 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-09

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 9, 2001- 7B

Seniors add final chapter

o an admira

ALBANY, N.Y. - Fighting back
tears, Josh Langfeld reluctantly took
he podium after playing his final
game in a Michigan uniform.
> Exhausted and heartbroken,
Langfeld held a great sense of pride
he continued to don his blue
sweater -nearly 30 minutes after
Thursday's game ended.
His Wolverines fell two games
short of a national title in a loss to:
eventual champion Boston College.
The loss closed the book on a disap- JOE
pointing season by Michigan stan- S
dards. It's the first year since SMITH
1988-89 that Michigan finished the The one
season without hanging a new ban- and only
at Yost Ice Arena - whether it
in celebration of a CCHA conference
crown, tournament title, Great Lakes Invita-
tional title or an NCAA final appearance.
Langfeld's senior class is also the first not
'to win at least one GLI title in its career since
the class of 1988.
But Langfeld wasn't ashamed of the block
M' on his chest on Thursday night.
And neither he nor the rest of the nine-
mber senior class should be.
Langfeld, along with the rest of the
seniors, gave his heart and soul to the Michi-
gan hockey team in his four years. They
played at their best when playoff time came
around and found a way to bring the team
together at the right time.
And that's what they should be remem-
bered for.
.Everybody counted us out at the begin-
A season of
By Ryan C. Moloney
Baily Sports Writer

ble legacy
ning of the year and we had a few bumps
along the way," Langfeld said. "I think we
handled the adversity great, we showed up in
the last month of the season to definitely lead
this group of guys. I hope they
learned from it, and I hope we
earned a lot of respect."
At the very least, the seniors
*> earned respect -especially from
their teammates and coaches - -
the ones who know them the best.
Many doubted the Wolverines
chances to make it to the Frozen
Four after the preseason loss of
leading scorer Mike Comrie to
Major Junior hockey. The skepti-
cism continued after a devastating
fourth-place finish at the Great
Lakes Invitational and increased on the heels
of a disappointing 1-4-1 skid to end the regu-
lar season.
But when adversity stared the Wolverines
in the face, and the team's confidence fal-
tered, the seniors were the rock that the
underclassmen could lean on.
The seniors believed, and their winning
attitude became contagious.
"Thank the seniors,"junior goalie Josh
Blackburn said. "They stepped up and
brought this team together when we needed
to come together."
Not only through their leadership, but with
actions speaking louder than words, the
seniors made their presence known on the
ice. Just like in the glory days of their fresh-
man year playoff run that brought a national
championship, the seniors recaptured their
scattered g

Senior Josh Langfeld and the rest of the seniors fought for their playoff lives last Thursday.

scoring touch in crunch time, tallying five of
Michigan's 10 goals in the NCAA Tourna-
These contributions will not be forgotten
by the coaching staff, as they are the ones
who tried to squeeze every last drop of
potential out of a senior class that was hand-
ed hefty expectations following a fairy-tale
freshman year.
"There are a lot of college hockey play-
ers who would trade their careers for the
ones the seniors had," Michigan associate
head coach Mel Pearson said. "Down the
stretch they did a nice job. I kncw they'll
look back 20 years from now, and they'll
really realize that they accomplished a lot
as a class."
Not only are the seniors credited with two
Frozen Four appearances and a national

championship on the ice, these nine Wolver-
ines will each leave Ann Arbor with a degree
from the University of Michigan.
"They don't have anything to look down
upon," Pearson said. "Individually they're
great kids and I'm just happy to be associat-
ed with them."
It's fitting that character is the first
attribute mentioned by coaches when talking
about this year's senior class. Character is,
after all, the cornerstone of any great Michi-
gan hockey player.
And it is something that cannot be taken
away from any of the nine Michigan seniors,
no matter when they decide to take off their
game sweaters.

Pole vaulter
DeWildt leads
By Shawn Kemp
Daily Sports Writer
North Carolina-Wilmington's Matt Price didn't have a
chance to win the pole vault this past weekend despite his
effort of 16-04.75.
Michigan senior and 2000 Big Ten pole vault chaipi-
on Charles DeWildt not only obliterated Price, but also
the rest of the field to win the event in the 2001 DUke
DeWildt jumped 17-0 3/4 in his first outdoor meet of
the season to lead Michigan in Durham, N.C.
Also adding to the Wolverines' success were freshmen
Ryan Hesselink and Brian Turner. Hesselink competed in
the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the first time of his run-
ning career this past Saturday.
Hesselink ran 9:43.92 to finish 1Ith, but he said he fiad
expected to run at least 30 seconds faster.
"It was my first time for it, but I wasn't used to the heat,"
Hesselink said, referring to the near 90-degree temperatures
he raced in.
"It's fun, I liked it," he added. "You get sick of track -
at least it's not the 10K."
Turner, on the other hand, had just four laps to race in
the 1500-meter run. He clocked 3:50.69 to finish I 1th, run-
ning a personal best in the event. Senior Steve Lawrence
was not far behind, running 3:51.54 to finish 16th.
"They went out way too slow in the beginning," Turner
said about the competition. "I expected to go out in 2:02 or
2:03 for the 800, and it kind of made for a slow race."
Although Turner went out in 2:08 for the first 800
meters, he said he still felt confident switching gears torun
his last 700 meters in 1:42.
Turner's 1500 race was affected by his 1200-meter leg in
the distance medley relay the night before.
The relay team, composed of Turner, Ravi Smith,
Tommy Greenless and Mason Ward, finished third behind
the unattached winning team and second-place Villanova,
Ward led the 1600 meters -- the last leg of the relay',
until 350 meters to go when the pace increased. With 30
meters left in' the race, Ward was passed by Villanova's
anchor leg who finished with a total relay time of 9:44.0,
just .65 seconds ahead of the Wolverines.
Senior co-captains Andy Derr and Josh Sellers each
turned in season's bests in their respective events. Derr fin-
ished ninth in the javelin throw with a toss of 188-11, while
Sellers ran 53.38 - beating his previous season's best; by
.01 seconds - to finish 14th in the 400 hurdles. Teammate
Andrew Ochs finished 19th in the event, running 54.18, also
a season's best by .01 seconds.
Michigan coach Ron Warhurst said that while some of his
athletes might not have performed their best this past week-
end, the team is constantly improving.
"We had some good performances and some bad ones,"
Warhurst said. "Now we're looking forward to this upcom-
ing weekend for scoring against Michigan State and Central
The Wolverines will face the Spartans and the Chippewas
at next weekend's triangular meet, hosted by Michigan at
Ferry Field.

Joe Smith can he reached at

reatness for Wolverines

ALBANY, N.Y. - The Michigan hockey team won twice
as many games as it lost, beat the No.'s 1,2 and 3 teams in the
country, and made it to the NCAA Frozen Four in its 2000-
2001 campaign.
And yet, the consensus is universal - it was a down sea-
* for the Wolverines.
Granted, Michigan's record and its advancement in the
NCAA Tournament would cause most college hockey pro-
grams to trade a decade of marginal success for the Wolver-
ines' level of accomplishment this season.
But Michigan hockey holds itself to higher standards. Like
the third Godfather movie, this year was pretty good, but,
when compared to the accolades of prior ensembles, it was a
bit of a letdown.
"When you think about it, we ended up fifth or sixth in the
country and seeded here fourth, and that was an off-year for a
higan team," coach Red Berenson said after the Wolver-
ines lost 4-2 to Boston College in the Frozen Four semifinals.
After going unbeaten in their first eight games, the
Wolverines garnered a No. I ranking going into their Oct. 27
natchup with Michigan State at Yost Ice Arena. In a game

that tripped-up Michigan for the first time, and introduced
this year's Spartans to the rest of the country, the Wolverines
were suffocated by Michigan State's tenacious defense and
goalie Ryan Miller en route to a 1-0 shutout loss.
It was the start of great things for Michigan State and its
eventual Hobey Baker-winning goalie, but Michigan spent
the rest of the season playing the part of the country's
favorite condiment. The Wolverines would fall three out of
four more times to the Spartans and finish 10 points out of
first place in the CCHA - the largest deficit since finishing
18 points behind Michigan State in the 1989-90 season.
After weekend losses to Ferris State and Alaska-Fair-
banks, Michigan got back on track, going unbeaten in seven
straight games, including an impressive 4-1 win over then-
No. 2 Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Then came the Great Lakes Invitational. Playing without
the services of Mike Cammalleri, Andy Hilbert, Dave Huntz-
icker, Mike Komisarek and Jay Vancik, the Wolverines lost
a jaw-dropping, opening-round decision to perennial door-
mat Michigan Tech, 7-3. Believe it or not, Michigan played
better the next night, losing to eventual national champion
Boston College by only three goals, 8-5.
Cammalleri, Hilbert and Komisarek were away in
Moscow playing in the World Junior Championships, and

their collective return injected a much-needed serum into a
depleted team. The Wolverines dropped only one of their
next eight games after their return.
On Jan. 27, Michigan came face-to-face with its own
potential, beating No. 1 Michigan State, 4-3 in an intense,
exhausting, overtime contest at Joe Louis Arena.
But in the typical fashion of this team, the Wolverines
quickly fell down the chute, winning only three of their last
nine games, crash-landing into the CCHA Tournament.
Michigan jumped back on the wave and rode another crest
into the CCHA final, only to wipe out again against Michi-
gan State, 2-0.
After a season of inconsistency, virtually nobody expected
much out of the team in the NCAA Tournament. That said, it
was perfectly logical for Michigan to fend off pesky Mercy-
hurst, then stone a Goliath of its own in downing St. Cloud,
4-3, to avance to the Frozen Four.
Michigan's 4-2 loss to Boston College was, if nothing else,
an appropriate tribute to the team's season-long, schizo-
phrenic playing style. The Wolverines played up to the Eagles
in the game's second and third periods, but could not erase a
first period in which Michigan looked as though it was play-
ing underwater. The first 20 minutes allowed Boston College
a two-goal lead and an insurmountable leverage.



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