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February 20, 2002 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 9

Seniors face Spartans in final dual meet

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
The No. 3 Michigan wrestling team wants to
close out its dual meet season with a bang when it

wrestles No. 18 Michigan State in
Cliff Keen Arena on Sunday. The Big
Ten Championships are coming up
quickly (March 9-10), and coach Joe
McFarland hopes to end the regular
season on a good note.
"I want to keep the momentum
going," McFarland said. "We want to
finish off well, and I want to see inten-
sity, and we really need to stay sharp."
Michigan State will be looking to
avenge a loss earlier in the season in
which Michigan invaded East Lans-
ing and emerged with a 27-6 victory.

CLIFF KEEN
Who: No. 3 Mich
Big Ten, 15-3 ove
N~o. 18 Michigan
4,5-9)
When:1 p.m.
Latest: Clark For
hospitalized with<
infection last Frid
not expected toc
Had Michi-

matches in the contest.
Michigan will be wrestling without 141-pounder
Clark Forward, who was hospitalized on Friday in
Iowa City with an ankle infection. He has since
been released, but the coaches don't expect him to
compete against Michigan State.
McFarland does expect Forward to be
ARENA ready by the Big Ten Championships.
The marquee matchup on Sunday will
igan (61 at 125 pounds where be Michigan's No.
ral) vs. 10 A.J. Grant versus Michigan State's
iStte(2- 1No. 15 Chris Williams. In their last
match at Michigan State, Grant beat the
ward was home-crowd favorite, Williams, 7-5.
an ankle Grant has won two of the past three dual
lay and is j meet matches between the two rivals.
compete. Most rivalries in college sports usual-.
ly happen between two teams that are
fairly evenly matched. But, in the case of the com-
ing clash between these in-state rivals, Michigan is
heavily favored. One may think that the rivalry is
not an intense one, but that is not the case.
"I think this is a pretty tough rivalry," McFarland

said. "In the past, we've had some great duals withP <..
them. Some of them have come down to the last
match."
Michigan has won the last three meetings
between the two teams, and in the 1999-2000 sea-
son, the rivals tied in a heated contest. In that y
match, the Wolverines led 18-15 going into the last
match where they had former heavyweight Jason
Rawls facing off against then-No. 12 Greg 9
DeGrand. The underdog Rawls brought the match _.
into overtime, but eventually lost, ending the match
in an 18-18 tie.
Sunday's dual meet will be the last one for the
senior class. Michigan's 165-pounder Charles
Martelli, 174-pounder Otto Olson, 184-pounder
Andy Hrovat and heavyweights Matt Brink and
Aaron Walter will be stepping on the mat at Cliff
Keen Arena for the last time this weekend.
"There hasn't been enough time for sentiment,"
McFarland said. "We had those two matches this
weekend (Iowa and Wisconsin) and we had RYAN LEVENTHAL/Dail
(Monday) off. The guys are just focusing on the The Wolverines will head into its final dual meet before heading to Champaign for
next match." the Big Ten Championships March 9-10.
Top recruit Abram ready for Blue

gan State's Anton Hall not upset Charles Martelli,
and had All-America heavyweight Matt Brink
been wrestling, the Wolverines may have swept
the Spartans. Michigan won eight of the ten
Difficult seaso:
unexpectedfo
Wolverines
By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports-Writer

For the seniors on the Michigan's women's basketball
team, the season was not supposed to be like this.
It was going to be the year where the Wolverines were
going to go where they have never gone before. After three
years of unparalleled success with two NCAA and one
NIT bid, four starters returning and a 10-1 start, all signs
were pointing in that direction. But between the season-
ending ending injury to Raina Goodlow, the fallout of the
defense and the pileup of turnovers, the Wolverines have
found themselves with shattered dreams and a spot near
the bottom of the Big Ten standings.
"To be 10th place in the Big Ten is hard," Alayne Ingram
said.
For Ingram and Heather Oesterle, this season was going
to be a payment for all the dividends they had earned since
coming to Michigan. When Ingram and Oesterle came to
Michigan, the program had only been to the NCAA Tour-
nament once and rarely had a winning season.
"Heather and Alayne came to this program when you
weren't supposed to," Guevara said. "If you wanted to play
college women's basketball and you wanted to win, you
went some place else."
But since they arrived, they have been a big part of the
program's resurgence, which makes this season's disap-
pointments all the more painful.
"I feel for them that they are having the season that we
are having because all of us expected more," Guevara said.
Because the Wolverines can no longer have a winning
season in the Big Ten, making the NCAA Tournament
would require winning the Big Ten Tournament. And for a
group that had very realistic hopes of being a top four seed
in the NCAA Tournament and hosting the school's first
ever sub-regional, it's been tough to swallow.
But for senior Susana Jara, this year has been a blessing
despite the team's play on the court. Right before her
freshman year, Jara came to the program's elite camp hop-
ing to get a spot on the roster. She was cut but was offered
a position as a manager. Then at walk-on tryouts in Octo-
ber, she gave the squad another shot only to be rejected
again.
Despite her fallbacks, Jara stayed on the team as a man-
ager and occasionally got into drills. But as injuries started
to pile up, Jara finally got the chance she always wanted,
the privilege of wearing the Michigan uniform.
"For three years she was the perfect practice player,"
Guevara said. "Susana has never, ever, complained once
about not playing."
Then this year Jara's hard work paid off, as she has aver-

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
On the day Lester Abram signed with Michigan, there
were plenty of lights, cameras and reporters.
The only thing missing was Abram himself.
Abram, a serious student with a 3.65 G.P.A. at Pontiac
Northern High School, refused to leave his AP Trigonom-
etry class early despite several phone calls down to the
classroom by his coach Robert Rogers.
"They tried to get me out of class
while my teacher was explaining
something, and I told them to hold
off," Abram said..
After making everyone wait for 15
minutes, Abram finally showed andf
signed on the dotted line to become av
Wolverine - something he always
wanted.
Abram, a lanky swingman who is a Abram
top 50 recruit nationally, chose Michi-
gan not only because he loved the "Fab Five," but also
because of its reputation as a prestigious academic institu-
tion.
"It was a big factor," said Abram just a few short hours
before his Huskies took on rival Pontiac Central last night.
"Because if basketball doesn't work out, with a University
of Michigan degree I can pretty much write my own ticket
as far as getting a job is concerned."
Abram's non-sport role model is Bill Gates and the left-
handed small forward has aspirations of attending Michi-
gan's highly-regarded Business School. Rogers said that
with Abram's study habits, he's on the right track.
"After school there will be just two people in the school
library," Rogers said. "The librarian and Lester."
But Abram shouldn't be thinking past his basketball
career quite yet, as he has a bright future ahead of him on
the hardwood.
Abram is averaging 23.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.2
assists for the defending state champion Huskies.
Although Abram said he's still having a hard time pick-
ing up the slack left by last season's point guard and spir-
ited leader Ricky Morgan, Rogers believes that Abram is
starting to speak up more often.

"Sometimes I don't have to stop practice to correct
something because Lester is already talking to a player
about it," Rogers said.
While recruiting analysts drool over Michigan's future
point guard, Daniel Horton, who today became the first
Wolverine recruit since LaVell Blanchard to be invited to
the McDonald's All-America game, they also feel Abram
is a great catch that can make an impact right away.
"He's just a great athlete - he's very talented, he can
run, block shots and score inside," said HoopScoop
recruiting analyst Clark Francis, who compares Abram to
Michigan guard Bernard Robinson.
As a 6-foot-6 wing, Abram is a versatile player who can
play both the small forward and guard spot. Francis said
that if Abram improves his jumper or grows a few inches,
his "stock will go through the roof."
Abram's models himself after the L.A. Clippers' for-
ward Lamar Odom, and his slashing ability and offensive
capabilities will definitely help a Michigan team next year
that is desperately in need of another player who can cre-
ate his own shot.
Rogers said that Abram uses his long arms to wreak
havoc defensively and block shots as well.
"We look for him to score, we look for him to create
and we look for him to rebound," said Rogers, who men-
tioned how hard Lester has worked on improving his off
hand.
Brian Ellerbe had a major hand in Abram's recruitment,
and Abram felt a sense of loyalty to the former Michigan
coach. So when Ellerbe was dismissed last spring, Abram
re-opened his recruitment search.
"After Ellerbe left I kind of second-guessed my deci-
sion - I just didn't know," Abram said.
But it didn't take long for new Michigan coach Tommy
Amaker to make a good impression on Abram, who even-
tually turned down Georgetown and Michigan State.
Amaker visited Abram in Pontiac and had a lengthy dis-
cussion with Rogers at a St. Cecilia fundraiser this past
summer, showing his interest in the mild-mannered
Abram.
Amaker "is a real passionate guy and you can see in his
eyes that he means it when he says he wants to turn this
program around," Abram said. "I have no doubts, he's a
man of his word."

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Susana Jara's hard work has started to pay off this season
and is six highest in minutes played on the team.
aged more than 15 minutes a game while starting in 15
contests.
"This year, to start games like she has, has been icing on
the cake for her," Guevara said. "She appreciates every-
thing that she has earned. You could give her a pair of
socks, and she is very grateful."
As for the rest of this season, this trio is just trying to go
practice by practice, game by game.
"The thing I fall back on is how much I like to play bas-
ketball," Ingram said.
Ingram hopes that her career will not end in March
because she aspires to play at the next level. She plans to
attend the WNBA combine this April in Chicago and is
hoping for the best.
While an WNBA combine invite would be a treat for
Oesterle as well, she is just trying to get healthy. Ever
since she injured her knee in last year's Big Ten tourney
every game has been a struggle.
"Heather is giving us as much as she can give us," Gue-
vara said. "I think Heather's body is mad at her."
But despite all the disappointments, Ingram, Oesterle
and Jara still have work to do.
"My goal from now on is to finish this year, strong,"
Ingram said. "I'd like to finish out the way that I came in."
And there is still one last chance. With the Big Ten Tour-
nament on the horizon next week in Conseco Fieldhouse in
Indianapolis, there is still an opportunity of making a
statement, showing that this team is not what their record
indicates.
"This team is very capable of doing that," Ingram said.

BIG TEN
Continued from Page 8
scoring event next season.
Since the tower dives are scored at
NCAAs, many will take their chances
now to practice for them.
"We'll have four of our six divers
(Kelemen, Vander Kuyl and the fresh-
man Alexis Goolik and Lauren Roth)
participate in the event," Kimball said.
"This will be the first time for three of
the girls competing on the tower, so

this an experience more than a compe-
tition for them."
In the one. and three-meter dives,
Kimball believes Kelemen and Vander
Kuyl to be the most likely to score for
Michigan, but he doesn't dismiss the
possibility of a senior in her last
events at Michigan scoring for the
team.
"Lindsey McElroy could sneak into
placing (for points)," Kimball said.
The diving schedule begins tomor-
row at 11 a.m. with the preliminary

rounds of the 1-meter with the finals
to follow at 7 p.m. Three-meter will
be on Friday and the tower will be on
Saturday with preliminary and final
times at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., respec-
tively.
The swimmers open tonight at 7
p.m. with 200-yard medley and 800-
yard freestyle relays. Michigan will be
looking to open with a fast start as
they are 3-1 in the Big Ten, only los-
ing to Penn State, when beginning a
meet with a relay victory.

Softball to march through south

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
If the No. 11 Michigan softball
team is going to make its second
straight trip to the Col-
lege World Series, it will
need to have a strong COLUMB
showing from its one- TAMPA
two punch on the PLANT C
mound. - Who: Connect
Pitchers Marissa Fot Fria,
Young (2-1) and Nicole na, Ohio, Cent
Motycka (2-0) each Missouri and
bring a different style to When: Feb. 22
the rubber, which was Latest: Pitcher
clearly apparent last Young looksto
weekend at the Camp- tion during spr
bell/Cartier Classic.
Young struck out 34 in four games
and pitching the team's first perfect
game since 1996.
Motycka allowed just two runs in
her first two games as a Wolverine,
but succeeded in different fashion
than Young. With just seven strike-
outs, Motycka used her drop-ball to
force groundouts from a majority of
her opponents.
"Nicole has a really good
demeanor on the mound," coach
Carol Hutchins said. "She got in a
couple jams, but she didn't show any
signs of getting frazzled. And that's
what I expected out of her after
watching her throw in the preseason.
"She is a drop-ball pitcher, and
drop-ball pitchers have a tendency of

I
BU
BI
IT
icu
)na
Sc
ral
Pitt
2-
ire
ing

scoreless ball with 14 strikeouts.
The historic performance came
one day after a game that Young
would probably sooner forget - a 7-
1 loss to No. 11 Pacific.
"She was a totally dif-
ferent pitcher (on each
s, GA., day), and the pitcher
AY AND against Utah State (is)
rY, FLA. the pitcher we need on
t, Mississip- the mound," Hutchins
uth Ca roli- said. "She was confident
Michigan, and going after them
sburgh with no fear. And on the
- March 3 first day she didn't look
larissa comfortable and didn't
peat perfec- really have her stuff.
break. On several occasions,
Young allowed hits with
two strikes on the batter that she
would normally have the ability to
put down.
"For a pitcher like (Young), when
she has two strikes on you, she aught
to be able to put you away," Hutchins
said.
But, like a good veteran, Young
rebounded from the defeat with two
straight days of solid pitching,
including a four inning, nine strike-
out shutout against Pittsburgh.
Meghan Ritter finished the game out
against the Panthers to preserve the

win and kept them off the score-
board.
At 4-1, Michigan will need the
same types of pitching performances
during the long spring break week
that it saw last weekend. The Wolver-
ines will get their first challenge Fri-
day at the NFCA Leadoff Classic
against Connecticut and Mississippi
State before playing No. 8 Arizona
State.
They will next travel to Florida
next Wednesday to play No. 25 South
Florida in a doubleheader. The week
ends in a five-team tournament that
includes No. 22 South Carolina
among its contestants.
With all the innings to be played, it
will be up to Michigan's duo to come
up huge again.
"Marissa and Nicole compliment
each other very well," Hutchins said.
"Marissa's a pitcher who (keeps the
ball up) and Nicole's a down-ball
pitcher. Really that's a good compli-
ment to come at teams with, because
they just start adjusting to one and
then we throw the other.
'"The pitching staff's role is to
keep us in the game and to not give
up big innings. That's all I ask from
them now, and that's all I'll ask from
them in two months."

BASEBALL
Continued from Page 8
this season's team is quite experi-
enced.
"Most of the time in a club, when
a guy is a freshman, he doesn't play
much. As a sophomore, he's fighting
for a position. And the junior has it
(the position)."
But Harrison praises Brock
Koman, Gino Lollio, Blake
Ruthowski, and Jordan Cantalames-
sa. "They have all played a lot of
innings as freshman and, sopho-
mores." Because of the teams exten-
sive early experience on the
diamond at the collegiate level, this
is anything but a rebuilding season.
"We are not looking at rebuilding
season. This is a year that these
guys have been playing a couple
years for. We are expecting to play
well," Harrison affirmed.
Coach Harrison is excited to be
the Wolverines' new skipper after
Coach Geoff Zahn resigned as
Michigan's manager last fall after a
.500 season (10-14 Big Ten, 28-28

overall). Because falling inches
short in a well-played, 3-2 game to
Minnesota at the Big Ten Tourna-
ment last season, Harrison and com-
pany are encouraged with what they
can become this year. In addition,
strong summer league experience
for many Wolverines has also boost-
ed the team's confidence.
Although Coach Harrison chuck-
les at the thought of an NCAA
Championship, he says that the con-
centration of the team is to play
good ball with solid defense and
pitching.

The team's realistic goal for the
2002 season is the Big Ten Champi-
onship. But this goal will be diffi-
cult to attain. In the seven seasons
that Harrison has been a part of the
ball club, the Big Ten has been an
even, tough league. "There isn't a
gap between the sixth-place team
and ninth-place team."
Knowing the level of play must
remain at a high level throughout
the season to achieve this goal, Har-
rison wants to fill Fischer Stadium.
If students come, he promises,
"they'll see some good baseball."

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