The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 17, 2001- 5B
,Big Ten foes looing up at rowers
By Jim Webw
Daily Sports Writer
After the Wolverines' dominance
of the other top three teams in the Big
}Ten at the Buckeye Invitational last
aweekend, the last thing Michigan
,wants to do is become overconfident.
*fter all, these schools will meet
again at the second annual Big Ten
;Championships at Lake Belleville on
"A lot of things can happen in two
weeks," head coach Mark Rothstein
And if anyone besides Michigan is
,going to win the championship, a lot
will have to happen. Last weekend
all six of Michigan's boats dominat-
their Big Ten competition - No.
WMichiganbeat No. 9 Ohio State,
'No. I Iowa and No. 19 Michigan
State - by at least six seconds in
every race they faced each other. The
Wolverines' first varsity eight boat
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was especially impressive, beating all
of these schools by at least 13 sec-
onds. Along with the crews present at
the Buckeye Invitational, Wisconsin,
Indiana and Minnesota will also
compete in the Big Ten Champi-
Despite its success, Michigan
knows it can't become overconfident
in the next two weeks and win the
championships because of the
strength of the conference.
"The first varsity eight has, had this
attitude that expects anything," first
varsity coxswain Helen Dalis said.
"The Big Ten has become - over
the past three years - arguably the
top rowing conference," Rothstein
said. "The Big Ten would certainly
be one of the top three rowing confer-
ences," along with the Ivy League
and Pac 10 as other powerhouses.
Along with having four Big Ten
teams ranked in the top 20, the con-
ference also placed three teams
(Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan
State) into the NCAA Championships
last season. The Ivy League was the
only other conference to do that.
The Big Ten Championships will
also give the Wolverines a chance to
further establish themselves as one of
the top collegiate crews.
"Everybody around the country
always looks to see the results for that
(the Big Ten Championships) as an
indication for what kind of speed
there is," Rothstein said.
From May 12-13, the Wolverines
will be at the Central Region Champi-
onship in Oak Ridge, Tenn. searching
for an automatic bid to the NCAA
The Wolverines are currently the
top-ranked team in the Central
Region and if they win the Regional
Championship, they will receive an
automatic bid to row at the National
Championships in Gainesville, Ga.
from May 24-26.
Continued from Page 11B
to fight through it.
But having already competed there
earlier this year, Plocki and her squad
feel that they hold a slight advantage
over some of their competitors.
"We have all been there so even the
freshman have seen it," Plocki said.
"The team knows where they are going
to compete. But I guarantee that if Geor-
gia makes the Super Six, the fans will be
going nuts. It's just something we will
have to deal with, we will have to con-
centrate and focus through the crowd's
Although the hostile crowd is obvi-
ously a factor working against Michigan,
the Wolverines do have a few things
going their way. In Saturday's prelimi-
nary round, Michigan is scheduled to
start on the uneven bars and finish on the
vault - with the balance beam and floor
exercise sandwiched in between. Unlike
most meets this year, the team will not
have to face the pressure of finishing on
the balance beam. Considering the beam
problems the Wolverines have experi-
enced this season, they could not be hap-
pier with the rotation.
"I like this rotation because it will
allow us to get out of the gate strong,"
Plocki added. "Having the beam in the
middle is good because the outcome of
the meet will not be riding on our perfor-
mance on that event. We have a high
level of confidence on the floor and the
vault, so all the momentum should be in
Another advantage the Wolverines
have is not being ranked as the best team
in the nation. Although this statistically
means that it won't be the best team at
nationals, Michigan felt that the pressure
of holding the top ranking at nationals
last year worked against it. The Woluer-
ines seem to be just as confident gojng
into this year's competition rank~ed
fourth as they were last year.
"This team has a slight advant4ge
because nobody expects us to wip,"
Plocki said. "(No. I ranked) UCLA has
all the pressure this year, nobody will be
talking about Michigan there. Our kds
can relax because we really have nothing
In Saturday's preliminary rounid,
Michigan will compete against Ala a-
ma, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon Stpte
and UCLA. In the evening Georgia, Ari-
zona, Denver, Nebraska, Stanford and
Utah will be matched up together. 'the
top three teams from each bracket Will
advance to the Super Six on Friday to
determine the national champion.
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