The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 24, 2001- 3B
Superstar freshman is expected to lead Michigan
BY BENJAMIN SINGER DAILY SPORTS EDITOR
Somethings never change,
IM sports and winning
While most of the sports world,
spent last weekend reflecting
on what was happening in the
world, senior School of Business Admin-
istration student Pat Schmidt was playing
in the intramural tennis tournament,just
as he has the last three years. And just as
he has the last three years, he and his dou-
bles partner cakewalked through the tour-
nament, ultimately winning the final
Schmidt is an avid sports fan, who fol-
lows football, basketball and, yes, tennis.
What's more, he also makes it a point
to play all of those sports, as he also cap-
tured an IM championship t-shirt in foot-
ball last year.
IM sports are "pretty competitive," he
said. "There are a lot of kids who played
in high school and only a few can play
varsity sports here."
Then there are some who use IM
sports as an opportunity to drink a few
beers before getting a little fresh air.
IM tennis is played as a team sport.
Each team has two singles players and
a doubles team, and the team with the
most wins at the end wins the tourna-
As you might guess, IM tennis isn't
much of a spectator sport, as a reporter
and a few girlfriends were the only ones
who bothered to watch last weekend's
But nobody playing last Sunday was
p laying for the attention. They were
laying for the same reason that every-
one plays IM sports - a desire to play
competitive sports and a desire to stay in
Everyone who played in last week-
end's tennis toumament played tennis in
high school, and while none of them are
good enough to play for Michigan, they
all enjoy the competition, and the oppor-
tunity to play with friends.
Pat's team, Uno Mas, was made up
Sf fellow high school teammates Paul
!amazsky and Mark Gorski as well as
former roommate Caleb Noordmans.
Schmidt and Noordmans, who won the
doubles title the last two years, decided
to "mix it up a little," as Schmidt said,
and not play doubles together. Instead
Schmidt won the title with former high
school partner Tarnazsky.
The two "journeymen," as they call
themselves in reference to doubles teams
who play to eat, won the No. 3 doubles
title together in high school.
"Not even Jordan" won a title four
years in a row, Schmidt joked after-
The competitive nature of IM sports
was exemplified in last year's semifinals,
when Pat and Noordmans played a dou-
bles semifinals match where Noordmans
played shoeless because he wore prohib-
ited black-soled shoes on the brand new
Varsity Tennis Center Courts.
What compounded the problem was
when their opponents continuously
attempted drop shot after drop shot, in an
attempt to throw Noordmans off his
game and keep him running after he had
developed blisters all over his feet.
"We started the match and the manag-
er said that Caleb couldn't wear dark
shoes," Schmidt said. "So then they start-
ed hitting drop shots, but we still kicked
- Actually, the match almost came to
Schmidt and Noordmans were upset
with the way their opponents were play-
ing and at one point, Schmidt hit an over-
head right at his opponent. Words were
exchanged from both sides but ultimately
Schmidt and Noordman, rniinral
unrattled and won.
This is just one example of the "pretty
competitive" nature of IM sports.
So now that Schmidt's days of playing
tennis at Michigan are over, what's next?
"We'll play football again," he said.
Raphael Goodstein can be reached
R ecounting a typical moment from his first look more like a re
weeks at Michigan,,Alan Webb lays out the an exciting new beg
cenario of standing with a group of his class- school started we
mates in casual conversation. The subject will shift to appearances. He w
track, and then the identity of the unassuming 5-foot-9, awards.
140-pound freshman will be revealed. Webb already kn
"Eventually one person will say, 'Are you that run- tations, of fans' exr
ner guy?' And I say, 'Yeah, that's me,' " Webb said. azine interviews,4
"It's not like I'm instanteously recognized. I'm not demand.
quite that popular. He was named
"I'm working on it, though," he added with a smile. lete" by Time mag
Webb knows that he is "that runner guy." Toda, Sports i/lu.
He's not a superstar, but he's not anonymous. He's The Washington P
in the national spotlight, but on the edge where he's races live on Sports
not fully illuminated. Webb comes
to Michigan as a highly-touted Runnin' over Ryun
recruit, but in a sport most of the Webb broke three of Jim Ryun's (R-
nation doesn't really notice. Kan) high school track records:
The fact that Webb elevated OUTDOOR MILE RECORD
himself to being recognized as Webb (2001): 3:53.43
"that runner guy" shows the Ryun (1965): 3:55.3
impressive nature of his accom-
plishments. 1500-METER RECORD
Webb gained national attention Webb (2001): 3:38.26
when he broke legendary Ameri- Ryun (1964): 3:39.0 '
can distance runner and current
Kansas congressman Jim Ryun's SOPHOMORE MILE RECORD
high school sophomore record for Webb (1998): 4:06.94
the mile in 1998. He solidified Ryun (1963): 4:07.8 Jim Ryun
latively tame conclusion rather than
ginning. His last few months before
re a whirlwind of celebrity-style
was showered with accolades and
nows the pressures of track's expec-
pectations, of camera lights, of mag-
of photo-shoots and of being in
the country's "Best Amateur Ath-
azine. 'He's been covered in USA
strated, The New York Times and
ost. ESPN broadcasted one of his
Center. He's been on several morn-
ing shows, The Late Show with
David Letterman and he accepted
an invitation to the White House
for a tee-ball game. Alan Webb
memorabilia has even been auc-
tioned off on eBay.
And in the words of Michigan
track coach Ron Warhurst, he's
handling it "like a pro."
He may be handling it better
than a pro. He doesn't simply
treat the national media attention
as business as usual. He eats it
J "It's flattering. I'm not sur-
himself as one of the best young track stars at the Penn
Relays in 2000. Representing his South Lakes High
School of Reston, Va., he ran a 3:59.9 1,600-meter
split - a meet record.
Webb then set the high school records for both the
indoor and outdoor mile, making not just the track
world stand up and notice, but the rest of the country
The freshman entered Michigan off a summer with
experiences that make the challenge of starting college
prised that I've gotten attention, but I'm a little sur-
prised at the scale at some points," Webb said. "It's
been a lot of fun, I've had a lot of great experiences. I
can't see a negative in it.
"I never really thought I'd be in this position, but
now that I am, it's definitely been fun."
Warhurst has coached runners of high caliber at
Michigan, including past Olympians. But he's never
had a track athlete come in this highly publicized.
"Nobody has," he said.
In January, Webb finally reached his goal and broke
the four-minute mile for the high school indoor record
with a time of 3:59.86 at the New Balance Games at
New York City's Armory.
Webb opened even more eyes to his talent at the
Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore. On May 27, the
36-year-old high school outdoor mile record held by
Ryun fell to Webb's 3:53.43, surpassing Ryun's mark
by .almost two full seconds.
He broke an impossible record by setting an even
more impossibly high standard.
"It felt so good to exceed anybody's expectations,
including my own," Webb said. "The best part was
that in my own mind, I knew that I had worked really
hard to do that. And I can tell you that I sacrificed a
lot, that's why it felt so good. I put in the time
and I like to think that I deserved it.":
The attention heightened, and the spotlight
brightened after Webb proved he was ther
best high school miler that the country had
Although he's got a long way to go, some
people have anointed Webb as the great Ameri-
BR TT MOIUINTAIN/tDily
After a stellar high school career, Webb is going to
give his lofty goals a rest and focus on improvement.
can hope for distance running - a sport long dominat-
ed by foreign nations.
The long-term outlook places Webb as a challenger
in the Olympics - Warhurst says maybe by 2004, and
certainly by 2008. With proper training, Olympic
medals and an American record are plausible dreams
"It's hard to predict for seven or eight years in the
future," Warhurst said. "But they take freshmen in col-
lege and predict them as first-round draft picks, so I
figure what the hell."
Warhurst takes over where Webb's high school
coach Scott Raczko left off
During the recruiting process, the two coaches
befriended each other and discussed how Webb's
training had gone and how he should continue to
develop at the next level. Based on what Warhurst had
done with his runners in the past and how he intended
to handle Webb, both agreed Michigan would be a
Webb, who was born in Ann Arbor, had his sights
set on Michigan early on and was never swayed.
The fact that both his parents once worked at the
University and that he grew up as a Wolverine fan
despite moving away early in his childhoo'd were hard-
ly deciding factors. It was the program and school
itself, the coaches and runners.
Webb is putting no time frame on his hopes for the
future. For now, the goals are much simpler than mas=
tering the world. Suddenly transformed from high
school senior and record holder to unproven college
freshman, Webb is no longer looking at which top
times are within his grasp.
"I'm out of high school. Those records are now
gone. My chance to do anything else in that category is
done," Webb said. "Now I'm at the collegiate level and
I just want to keep things very general at this moment.
In the future I'll have more specific championship, title
goals. For now it's just general improvement."
Continued from Page 1B
Powers said. The forward added a
tally in the second half. "The rain
lelay gave us a chance to go back in,
focus again, and I don't think it hurt
s at all."
Massachusetts couldn't seem to get
anything going after the first goal.
With the ball in its half of the field for
nost of the game, they only produced
>ne shot in the first half. While
Michigan's offense was putting up
iumerous shots on Egland, Tasch had
luite an afternoon behind the net for
he Wolverines. Tasch only had to
leal with four shots on goal from the
Minutewomen, but the saves she
ade were impressive.
"A couple (of shots) created some
>ressure, but our defense broke them
lown before they got to me," Tasch
With the victory, Tasch earned her
fifth shutout of the season.
The Wolverines' offense had
opportunities all game long. The team
finished with 28 shots on goal and 11
penalty corners. Senior defender
Catherine Foreman had three assists
on converted penalty corners and four
"It's good (that the corner is scor-
ing) because we've worked on our
corners a lot, and we've been working
on earning them," Foreman said.
"Now the corner team has finally
pulled our weight and put some in."
Michigan will continue its Big Ten
season this Friday when the Iowa
Hawkeyes invade Ann Arbor for a 3
p.m. showdown, then the team travels
to Muncie, Ind. for a non-conference
match-up with the Ball State Cardi-
nals on Sunday.
On the fast track
Though truly a track athlete, Alan Webb has
been running cross country for Michigan
since the indoor season has yet to start. In
his debut, a non-scoring event, he finished
first at 27:05. On Friday, he finished first
again in a scored event, with a time of 24:05.
Webb finishes up at the Prefontaine Classic where he
became the high school record holder for the mile.
Fall 2 Season: Oct. 28th - Dec. 23rd
Now accepting Registrations for Fall 2 Leagues
Registration Deadline: October 22nd
Individual Registrations are welcome
Call (734) 913-4625 for Details
WIP EWORLD www.wwsports.com
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