The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 25, 2002 - 7B
Star-power not needed
to win conference tide
WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS 11REN COLUMBUS
'M' hurdles opposition
in its outdoor opener
By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer
COLUMBUS - It was not an
ideal performance from the Wolver-
ines at the Big Ten Championships on
Saturday. A slew of gymnasts experi-
enced falls in one event or another.
Neither member of Michigan's sensa-
tional sophomore duo of Calli Ryals
and Elise Ray could finish in the top
five of the all-around competition.
None of that mattered, for Michi-
gan though, since it came out as the
Big Ten Champion.
The title was the Wolverines'
fourth straight and their 10th in 11
years. Their 196.475 was their third
highest road score of the season and
was .7 higher than their closest com-
petitor, Minnesota. It further cement-
ed how far ahead of the competition
the Wolverines still are in the Big
"We definitely didn't come in
expecting to win because you can't
do that," senior Shanon MacKenzie
said. "We came in knowing what we
had to do, and, if we did that, we
knew we'd be ok."
With some of their top gymnasts
faltering, Michigan found some
much-needed help from one of its
oldest and one of its youngest on the
vault, their second rotation of the
night. A pair of 9.9s from MacKenzie
By Matt Kramer
Daily Sports Writer
and freshman Chelsea Kroll earned
second-place finishes in the event.
"The level of our depth is very
good," Michigan coach Bev Plocki
said. "That's why we can count a fall
and still win the meet while other
teams have a so-called 'perfect'
Those scores would prove vital as
the Wolverines experienced their fair
share of difficulties in the final two
Ray suffered the first fall of her
career on the uneven bars, dropping
her out of contention for the all-
Michigan followed a 48.975 on
bars with a 48.9 on beam, their final
event of the night. Michigan was
forced to count junior Cami Singer's
9.375 after Ryals mustered just an 8.9
in the event.
Ryals and Ray were ranked No. 1
and No. 2 in the nation by GymInfo
rankings coming into last weekend,
so their absence in the final all-
around standings was a shock to
"I think it had to be (in the back of
our minds) just because we were
nationally ranked," Ryals said. "Hon-
estly, though, the outcome of the all-
around wasn't really my main
"I think they were fluky things,"
Ray said on the team's falls.
By Jacob Loonhardt
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's track team
began its outdoor season on a positive
note this weekend at the Florida State
Relays in Tallahassee, Fla., with strong
performances by the relay runners and
The hurdlers rarely get a chance to
prepare for the outdoor season, battling
the cold weather in Ann Arbor. They
felt added pressure this weekend
against the Florida runners, who had
been competing for the past few weeks
in warm weather.
"Hurdler Andrew Ochs had a great
start to his outdoor season with a first-
place finish of 53.62 in the 400-meter
hurdles," Michigan assistant coach
Fred LaPlant said.
Also in the 400 meters, David Bat-
tani took third place with a 54.25, and
Derrick Applewhite took fifth place
"You have to run smart in the 400-
meter hurdles. I was pleased with most
of the runners' performances," LaPlant
said. "For the limited amount of prepa-
ration time, I thought we established
our baton passing zones very well this
The Wolverines also shined this
weekend in the sprint medley, taking
first place with a time of 3:23.23. The
medley consisted of Nathan Taylor
and Ike Okenwa in the two 200-meter
legs, Kevin Lamb in the 400-meter
leg, and Jeremy Schneider in the 800-
The 4x200 meter relay team rose to
the occasion by taking first place with
1:28.60. The team consisted of Taylor,
Okenwa, Lamb and Anthony Beal.
The same runners placed third in the
4x100-meter relay with a time of
"We earned a decent time in the
4x100 relay," LaPlant said. "Our goal
is to run a second faster than the 41.01,
hoping to qualify for the NCAA cham-
pionships later in the season."
In a strong field of competition in
the 4x400 meter relay, the Wolverines
battled hard and earned a sixth-place
finish with a time of 3:13.10. The team
consisted of Darnell Talbert, Andrew
Ochs, Chris Yee and Seth Waits.
The "10.0 Club" has followed the Michigan women's gymnastic team all season
and lent their support In Columbus this weekend at the Big Ten Championships.
"That's gymnastics for you. It's
almost a good thing. It gets you
more focused going into regionals
Ray actually did have plenty to
smile about after the meet. Her 9.95
on the balance beam catapulted her to
the first Big Ten event title of her
career. It was her eighth beam title of
Overall, seven Michigan gymnasts
earned 11 All-Big Ten honors. While
Ray was the only individual event
winner, the Wolverines had five
gymnasts finish in second place. Ray
and Ryals tied for second on the
floor exercise with a 9.9 and Ryals'
9.925 on the uneven bars rounded
out Michigan's spots on the awards
Michigan now wait to see what
its draw will be for the NCAA
Regional Championships. Those
pairings will be announced today
and are based on the team's regional
COLUMBUS - The setting was St.J
Arena, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
for the Michigan women's gymnastics t
Saturday's Big Ten Championships may as
have been in Crisler Arena because there w
lot of cheering going on for the Maize
More than 100 loyal fans decked out in ye
booster club T-shirts took up most of thes
side of the arena and watched the Wolverine
their 10th Big Ten Championship in the la
"We had a great fo
that helped us out
John Most of the contin
But of the 10.0 Club, the
eam, that have shown up fo
well "The booster clubl
was a years," club presider
and this year we got a cc
just the parents of t
south The most noticeabl
s win Columbus, however,
st 11 who have dubbed the]
"We are actually
to Wolverines' success
llowing come down here and Fans," senior Rishi Moudgil said. "We followed
a lot," co-captain Janessa field hockey before they were champions, went to
the NCAA Championship, and now we're with
gency consisted of members the gymnastics team. There is just so much excite-
group of 100 or so boosters ment in the non-revenue sports that people don't
r every home meet. know about."
has been around for a lot of Throughout the meet, the Super Fans continued
nt Bruce Wilson said. "But to be the loudest group in the arena, as they
re of folks who are beyond chanted "10.0, 10.0!" after every solid Michigan
the gymnasts. We're really routine.
They even brought with them numerous signs
e members of the fan base in to hang up, but Big Ten officials would not allow
may have been five students them to.
mselves "the Super Fans." But it wasn't just the Super Fans who made a
the women's sports Super presence in Columbus. Bob Mantilia, father of
sophomore Christine Mantilia, even went so far as
to take down a flag at a bank near the arena and
put up a big, Michigan flag.
"The bus driver on the way to the meet actually
pointed it out to us," Christine Mantilia said. "I
think he had to ask for some permission first."
Co-captain Jodie Rosenberg said the fans were
very important to the Wolverines success.
"We fed off of them tonight." Rosenberg said.
"We really needed them after the bars and beam
didn't go so well for us."
That kind of support is just what the Super Fans
said they were there for.
"The gymnastics team always said that they
perform a lot better when they aren't stressed, and
so that's what we like doing," senior Super Fan
Justin Bright said. "We like making the meets fun
for them and fun for the fans too."
The Super Fans are so supportive that during
Michigan's final home meet two weeks ago Wil-
son, and his 10.0 club gave the Super Fans a gift
by helping them finance a trip to the NCAA
Championships in Alabama next month.
"A lot of people ask why we do it," Super Fan
TOM FELDKAMP/Daily Dave Colmann said. "From the outside, you can't
eir 10th title in the past 11 understand it and from the inside we can't explain
it. It's just a Wolverine thing."
Michigan thrower Ashley Eckel finished 22nd and 21st In the javelin and discus
throws, respectively, on Friday at the Florida State Relays.
Blue wins three events
in ow e yweeen
By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer
Snow, fierce winds and tempera-
tures in the 30's greeted Ann Arbor
residents this weekend, but the Michi-
gan women's track team didn't experi-
ence the chill. That's because the
Wolverines were enjoying a little fun
in the sun at the Florida State Relays
in Tallahassee, Fla.
"The weather wasn't as warm as we
had wanted, it was mid to upper six-
ties," coach James Henry said. "But
still, that felt warm to us."
Most Michigan students would
agree that these days anything above
50 feels like summer. The Wolverines
took advantage of the location of their
first outdoor meet to relax, but they
didn't forget the competitive aspect of
The Wolverines won both the
800-and 1,500-meter relays as well
as the 400-meter hurdles. In the hur-
dles, sophomore Vera Simms turned
in a personal best time of 59.5 -
the second fastest time ever for the
In the field events Teyonna Simp-
son turned in a triple jump of 39 feet
10 inches to take second place and
Sharifa Jones placed third in the long
jump with a jump of 19 feet 1 inch.
Jones also took sixth in the 400-
meter hurdles, right behind teammate
Senior April Phillips continued her
throwing success by finishing second
in the hammer with a combined dis-
tance of 183 feet 2 inches. Her 55 feet
3 inches toss in the final round broke
the track record.
Overall, Henry was pleased with
his team's results. The first meet of
the outdoor season afforded him a
chance to assess the team as a whole
and on an individual level, but Henry
said that's not what this meet was
"It's too early to make that kind of
assessment," he said. "Just because
someone doesn't perform as well as
we expected this early in the season
doesn't mean they won't improve as
the season goes on. I like to look at
the positives at a meet like this."
There were plenty of those, as
shown by Michigan's finish in the top
five of most of the events in which
they competed. Another positive
aspect was the fact the Wolverines got
to take a trip to someplace warm and
have a chance to unwind after a
lengthy indoor season.
"This meet was more low key,
which was excellent for us," Henry
said. "We had a chance to get out in
warm weather and have some good
competition as well."
Next weekend, the team again
travels to a warmer climate, heading
to Palo Alto, Calif. for the Stanford
ike last year's squad, the Wolverines captured the Big Ten Title to capture th
years. Michigan had one individual champion and six earned All-Big Ten honors
Wolverines shock Big Ten by placing second
MEN'S GYMNASTICS lIT N MINNEAPOLIS
By Evan Brown
Daily Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS - The Michigan
men's gymnastics team finished sec-
ond with a 215.1 in the Big Ten
Championship on Friday in the
midst of an electrifying atmosphere
in Minneapolis. The upstart Wolver-
ines entered the event last in the Big
Ten according to the national rank-
ings, but performed closer to their
expectations this weekend. Ohio
State was the champion with a
three-point margin of victory over
Michigan in the event.
"I was surprised with Michigan
today," Ohio State coach Miles Avery
said. "It's been so bunched up at the
top (during the season). Everyone's
scoring the same thing in the Big Ten,
so I was quite surprised we could win
by three points."
The Golden Gophers hosted the
event and their fans engulfed more
than three-fourths of the entire
crowd. Gophers fans consistent
cheering and support couldn't help
the team as they finished fourth
behind Ohio State, Michigan and
Penn State. Illinois and Iowa round-
ed out the six-team competition.
Ohio State and Michigan didn't let
events and six teams, so each team is
on a different event, and they rotate.
Michigan was led on its first event by
senior Brad Kenna with a 9.375 on
The Wolverines moved on to paral-
lel bars, an event in which they are
one of the best in the country and
"We had some problems and part of
being a good team is being able to
overcome adversity," Michigan coach
Kurt Golder said. "We had a lot of
guys slipping on the parallel bars. We
had a real low (parallel bar) team
score, but we came back on high bar
and just rocked it."
The Wolverines scored the highest
of any team on the high bar, led by
junior Kris Zimmerman's 9.5 and sen-
ior Daniel Diaz-Luong's 9.2. Michi-
gan continued to the floor exercise
and performed well. Then they moved
to pommel horse, which has been
their nemesis all year. Junior Jamie
Hertza was the first to go and led the
way with a 9.25, the sixth-best score
on the event. But that was by far the
best score the Wolverines could
muster as they took a step backwards
as a team.
"On pommel horse, we had (some
problems) there, (we) had a few falls,
mel horse, we gave up three points,"
Burns said. "Shoot, I think we gave
up two points on parallel bars alone."
On Saturday, the top eight per-
formers in each event would come
back to compete to be the event
champions. The Wolverines had
seven gymnasts come back to com-
pete for the titles, and some compet-
ed for more than one.
Hertza was the first to go on the
pommel horse, tallying a 9.4. It
would only be tied by Ohio State's
Raj Bhavsar, making Hertza the
"It was good, it is easy not to come
away with a Big Ten Champion,"
Golder said. "Jamie Hertza is only
the third (Big Ten pommel horse)
champion ever at Michigan."
Conan Parzuchowski finished
second to Penn State's Kevin Tan in
the still rings by two-tenths of a
point. Parzuchowski and Tan were
the last two to go, which was only
fitting for the two best in this event
in the country.
Eddie Umphrey and Diaz-Luong
competed in the floor exercise and
placed fifth and sixth, respectively.
Brad Kenna finished fifth on the
vault, and Toman finished fourth on
the parallel bars. Diaz-Luong and
Toman were able to compete in the
still rings and finished eighth and
sixth, respectively. Kris Zimmerman
finished sixth in the high bars.
The events ended with the Big Ten
season awards being distributed.
Minnesota's Guillermo Alvarez was
named the Big Ten Freshman of the
Year, Ohio State's Raj Bhavsar was
named Gymnast of the Year, and the
Coach of the Year was Ohio State's
Michigan will try and continue its
upswing into the NCAA Champi-
onships, which will take place in two
weeks in Oklahoma.
"We're going to win NCAAs,"
Parzuchowski said. "(You can) bet
A look at the
underside of U of M