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March 05, 2002 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-03-05

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 5, 2002



Former Michigan quarterback
starts strong in spring training


Continued from Page,9
K to begin preparing for its "second sea
,r . son"

. i

By Steve Jackson
Daily Sports Editor

TAMPA, Fla. - As of today, Drew
Henson is neither a major league
baseball player nor a Michigan gradu-
ate. But both of those things appear to
be just around the corner for the for-
mer Michigan quarterback and cur-
rent New York Yankees' prospect.
Although it is clear that he will not
make the Yankees' opening-day roster,
Henson wasted no time in making his
presence felt at spring training.
Henson started the Yankees' first
Grapefruit League game last Thurs-
day at third base, and in his first at-
bat, he hit a solid two-run single.
"I had fun," Henson said. "It was
nice to get out there. That first hit, get
it out of the way."
After hitting .222 last year at
Triple-A Columbus, Henson's excit-
ing start - he batted .428 with hits
in each of his first three games - in
Florida was reason for optimism.
"I'm closer than I ever have been to
getting to that level," Henson said of
his major-league dreams.
New York manager Joe Torre is also
impressed with Henson's potential
and his performance so far this

"I don't think he's that far away,"
Torre said. "I think next spring you
can look very seriously at him being
our third baseman. We expect big
things, and we don't have any reserva-
tion about his high upside."
After trading for 12-year veteran
Robin Ventura this offseason, the Yan-
kees can give Henson all the time he
needs to develop.
The more immediate change for the
Brighton native will come next
During spring training and through
the early months of the season, Hen-
son will continue to work on the last
two classes he needs to graduate from
"I'm responsible for all the work,"
Henson said. "I still have to e-mail in
my papers and take all the tests."
Henson left a stellar football career
and a chance at NFL fame and for-
tune last March, when he signed a
six-year, $17-million contract with
the Yankees. But he remains confident
that he will return to Ann Arbor to
graduate with his former, classmates,
four years after he first set foot on
"If I'm in Columbus, which is
where I will most likely start out, then
I will do my best to get up there (for

graduation)," Henson said.
Despite being labeled a traitor by
many Michigan fans, Henson still
remains close to the program.
The Michigan football games "are
always on my schedule," Henson said.
"We play into September, but I caught
as many games on TV as I could last
Henson has also been following the
exploits of his former teammate and
the New England Patriots' reigning
Super Bowl MVP quarterback, Tom
Brady. The two talked a few days after
the game, and Henson had nothing
but good things to share.
"With all the hours I spent with
him on the practice field, you grow to
appreciate all the things he has gone
through this year and what he's been
able to do," Henson said. "I told him
that I hope he enjoys it because it was
a remarkable accomplishment. Guys
work their whole careers to get there."
But Henson's career is clearly
going in a different direction.
"He was a big-leaguer in football
- he could have been that quarter-
back in that Super Bowl," Torre said.
"But he realizes that baseball is a dif-
ferent game. He knows there's no
magic wand you wave that makes you
a player without putting in the time."

"The season comes down to three
parts' Michigan coach Red Berenson
said. "The regular season, the CCHA
playoffs, and the NCAA Tournament.
We're in the second season now
"We have to refocus, regroup, and
get ready for the next two weekends.
Lake Superior can put away their reg-
ular season record for this series.
They have a chance."
Most expect the CCHA Tournament
to come down to the top two teams in
the conference, Michigan and Michigan
State. But the Wolverines are being
careful not to look any further than one
game. Unlike years past, all 12 CCHA
teams will be playing in this year's tour-
nament, which means the chances of an
upset occurring are greater than usual.
"We can't think about (Michigan)
State," Nystrom said. "We have to
worry about Lake Superior. They'll be
looking to knock us off, and anything
can happen. If we don't'come ready to
play, we can forget about State. We can
forget about Joe Louis (Arena)."
Said Shouneyia: "Lake Superior's got
just as many wins as we do in the sec-
ond season, and that's what it's going to
come in here thinking."
Though it's tradition, Berenson does
not remember so many of his players
changing their hair color for the play-
"It's playoff time, and the team wants
to do something to get ready" Berenson
said. "I don't know if it turned out the
way they wanted it to. They've done
this before, but never to this extent."
When asked if he thought the changes
would stay, he said "I hope not."
But as long as the team can carry its
regular season success into the playoffs,
it won't be hearing any hair complaints
from the coaching staff.


Drew Henson left the Michigan football team before his senior year to sign a $17
million contract with the New York Yankees. He is hitting .428 this spring.

Elvis has left the NFL;
Grbac calls it a career
BALTIMORE (AP) - Former Michi-
gan quarterback Elvis Grbac will retire
from the NFL instead of trying to play
for another team, the quarterback's agent
said last night.
Released by the Baltimore Ravens last
week after rejecting a restructured con-
tract, Grbac turned down a proposal
from the Cincinnati Bengals over the
weekend. He told his agent, Jim Steiner,
he was ready to quit football.
"He is going to retire," Steiner said in
a phone interview. "He's had a great run
in the NFL, and he just feels like it's
Grbac was not willing to relocate for
the fourth time in his career and third
time in three years.
"They asked him to take a $5 million
pay cut, which is totally unsatisfactory,"
Steiner said.
Grbac has thrown for more than
17,000 yards in his career and has 99 TD
passes compared to 81 interceptions.

McFarland leads on and off the mats

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
Standing with his back against a wall
covered with photos of past Michigan
wrestling greats, coach Joe McFarland
watches his wrestlers practice. At any
given time, he could see something he
doesn't like, tuck in his sweat-ridden T-
shirt, tighten up his laces and demonstrate
the move himself.
Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr
would never jump in with full pads and
practice at the linebacker spot, nor would
gymnastics coach Bev Plocki demonstrate
dismounts off the uneven bars. McFarland,
who turns 40 in April, is unique because
he can still put on the old wrestling shoes
and compete with anyone on the mat.
"He's great - I've had a bunch of
coaches, and he's the best I've had. He's
tough and he's intense," Michigan 174-
pounder Otto Olson said. "He's real mean.
He's probably about 155 (pounds) and he

can jump in with those lighter guys. I'm
usually on the other side of the mat when
we're going live, but I'm sure he shows
them a thing or two."
None of the Michigan wrestlers, includ-
ing All-Americans Olson and Andy
Hrovat, have as many accolades as McFar-
land. Wrestling at Michigan from 1981-
1985, McFarland was a four-time
All-American and had an overall record of
166-24-4. He was also the 1988 World
Cup Champion and a silver medalist at the
1986 World Freestyle Championships.
"Being a wrestler has helped my coach-
ing because my goal as an athlete was to
win a Big Ten championship, and it's the
same today," McFarland said. "I was
always fanatical about my conditioning.
My experiences showed me that highly
conditioned, aggressive wrestlers who can
go hard for seven minutes are the most
In just his fourth year as head coach at
Michigan, McFarland has indeed been

successful. The gombined record of the
Michigan teams lie has coached is 56-13-
2, and this yer's team holds the highest
ranking in Michigan wrestling history at
No. 2. Before joining the Wolverines'
coaching staff as an assistant in 1992,
McFarland enjoyed a short stint at Indi-
ana. In 1990, he coached the Hoosiers to a
flawless 14-0 record, and was voted Big
Ten Coach of the Year.
"The key is getting a kid to believe that
all the hard work and preparation is worth
it. Also, a team needs good leaders, and
we have that. Our whole coaching staff
has been positive," McFarland said. "It's
nice that we're seeing these kind of
results. What's really important is having
good kids. I think we have 32 real good
kids in the program that are able to push
each other in practice."
This weekend, McFarland, who was a
Big Ten champion himself in 1984, will
lead the Wolverines to Illinois for the Big
Ten Championships.

The thought of a third team in three years did not appeal to
NFL journeyman and former Michigan quarterback Elvis Grbac.

Prep rivalry continues at Canham

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer

If tradition is to continue, freshman
Amy McCullough will win the 500-
yard freestyle at the Big Ten Champi-
onships next year for the Michigan
women's swimming and diving team.
It only makes sense, seeing as how
she and Wisconsin freshman Carly
Piper have rotated winning the 500-yard
freestyle since the 1997 Michigan Class
A finals, when they were high school.
Piper, formerly of Grosse Point North
High School, won the 500-yard freestyle

last week at Big Tens, beating the ninth-
place McCullough, who attended Farm-
ington Hills Mercy High School.
While there currently appears to be a
large separation between the two -
seven seconds to be exact - the past
shows that McCullough does have the
odds in her favor next year.
In McCullough's freshman yearxat
Mercy she finished seventh in the event,
10 seconds behind the first-place Piper.
By their sophomore years the two
switched positions, with Piper this time
looking up at the state champion McCul-
lough. The 1999 state finals brought
another role-reversal, when Piper beat

McCullough by nine seconds. But
McCullough got the final say to end their
high school careers, winning the 500-
yard freestyle by five seconds last year.
.So it was only fitting that their new
collegiate-rivalry started in the state of
Michigan, last week in Ann Arbor.
"I was nervous, but I was more excit-
ed because I was coming home to peo-
ple I knew," Piper said.
She went on to win three other events
en route to becoming the Big Ten Cham-
pionship Swimmer of the Meet and the
conference's Freshman of the Year.
With her success arises an interesting
If Piper was combined with Michi-
gan's current distance swimmers -
Mc Oillough, a NCAA qualifier in the
1,650-yard freestyle, and Emily-Clare
Fenn, an All-American in the event last
year - the Wolverines would have one
of the best distance trios in the nation.
Unfortunately Piper will never be
seen in the maize and blue.
Piper "was sent materials from us,
but my understanding was that she was
really interested in leaving the state;"
Michigan coach Jim Richardson said.
Michigan wasn't able to land Piper,
but it were able to get McCullough,
whose success in high school carried
over into her first season with the
"I'm not going to take anything away
from Wisconsin, they recruited (Piper)
really, really hard," Richardson said.
"And we recruited McCullough at the
same time because Amy showed a
strong interest in us. We know we got a
really good one in Amy, and (Wiscon-
sin) knows they got a really good one in
In the future, Piper hopes to secure a
sub-16:11 time in the 1,650-yard
freestyle (her current best is 16:16.25).
McCullough, on the other hand, will
endure Richardson's grueling training
regimen, which may take away some
sneed this season, but should add to her




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