2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 27, 2003
Plug and play: Ruggers find their passion on day one.
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
By Eric Ambinder
For the Daily
more to the g
It's 1 a.m. Friday, and you're eitler in "I love th
dream land or playing an intense game ple and getti
of beer pong. But if you're a rugger, newcomer M
you're at Oosterbaan Field House run- the 48 guys
ning suicides, because you love the played rugby
game. A comm
"Rugby is a worldwide fraternity in their rapida
the best way possible," junior captain the game.
Craig Williams said. "The camaraderie "I misse
is awesome." showed upr
Unlike its younger brother, American made me pl
football, rugby players commonly cher- Sharrief, kn
ish the sport's rich history and tradition. "The Sultan
After each match, it is customary for before, excel
the home team to host a party honoring Junior We
the visiting team. sidelined wi
"A lot of people just look at it as Sharrief's in
boozing, but it is a lot more than that," "I loved it
Williams said. played in -
feed off each
other in invite
By Jeremy Antar
For the Daily
As freshman Nick Willis entered the final lap of the
3,000-meter run at the Red Simmons Invitational on
Saturday, he accelerated past the only runner ahead of
him as if the first 2,800 meters of the race had been
just a warmup. The freshman turned on the jets, leav-
ing his competition behind and bringing many fans in
attendance to their feet. Willis finished with a time of
7:59.19, an NCAA provisional qualifier.
Sophomore David Battani, who had a strong day as
well, said "a lot of guys stepped up today, especially
Battani finished first in his meet of the 200-meter
run with a time of 22.72 and also captured fourth place
overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.59.
"Everyone was feeding off the intensity of our
teammates," Battani said.
Finishing ahead of Battani in the 60-meter hurdles
was sophomore DarNell Talbert with a time of 8.34.
Talbert's day was not over after his victory in the
hurdles. He still had to run the anchor of the 4x400-
In the relay, the Wolverines did not get off to their
best start, but their finish made up for it. Sophomore
Seth Waits ran an inspiring 400 meters in the third leg
of the relay, not only closing the gap, but also taking
the lead before placing the race into Talbert's hands.
Talbert then completed the relay the way everyone
expected that he would - in first place - with a time
"The 4 by 400 was fun," Talbert said. He was mod-.
est after the victory, saying he was "feeding off of
Men netters C4
like the partying, there is
game of rugby than outsiders
they step on to the pitch.
e contact, meeting new peo-
ing into shape," sophomore
larc Corbin said. Like 46 of
at practice, Corbin never
y in high school.
on theme for the players is
and unique introduction to
d the first practice and
at the first game and they
ay," said sophomore Sultan
nown by his teammates as
." "I had never seen Rugby
pt on 'Friends.'"
es Farrow, who is currently
ith an ankle sprain, echoes
troduction to rugby.
t from the first game I ever
even though I had no idea
what I was doing," Farrow said.
Commonly misunderstood as a
wrecklessly physical and dangerous
sport, rugby - if played smartly - can
be injury-free. But some injuries can't be
avoided. Ask Kevin Vanderjagt. Walking
off the pitch with a finger freakishly
crooked and surrounded by teammates
yelling "hospital," Vanderjagt stopped,
grabbed his pinkie and jerked it back
into proper alignment. Then he turned
around and said, "OK, I'm going back
in." Vanderjagt was then ordered by vol-
unteer coach and Michigan rugby alum
Dan Mascellino to grab some snow from
outside and ice the injury.
"Masso" Mascellino has been play-
ing and coaching rugby for more than
20 years and has accompanied the
rugby team to England and to Trinidad
and Tobago - all voluntary ways that he
can give back to the game that has
given him so much.
Sophomore Nick "Clean Up" Stadts
admits that joining the rugby team has
been the best decision he has made
since coming to Michigan.
"It brings you closer together (with
teammates) than you can imagine" he
The rugby team typically plays nine
games in the fall and kicks off the
shorter spring season with a spring-
break vacation in a warm climate to
compete against other clubs and
"party," a word mentioned seven times
in the vacation itinerary. This year's trip
is to New Orleans and Panama City
Beach, Fla. Ever play a game of beach
rugby? You can.
To learn more about the club, visit
its web site at www.umich.edu-umrfc/
and party with the players on Thursday
Who: Sheetal Narsai
Hometown: Commerce, Calif.
Sport: Water Polo
Why: Narsai scored a career-high four goals to help Michigann defeat
No. 16 Hartwick during the Michigan Invitational. In her time at Michi-
gan, Narsai has set two records - the single-season record with 25
assists and a 0.551 (27-of-49) shooting percentage.
W Tennis at Kentucky, 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Jan. 29
M Basketball at Illinois, 8 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 30
W Basketball at Michigan State, 7 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 31
M Swim/Diving vs. Northwestern, 6 p.m.
Wrestling vs. Indiana, 7 p.m.
W Gymnastics at Alabama, 7 p.m.
Ice Hockey vs. Ferris State, 7 p.m.
W Track/Field at Michigan Intercollegiate
M Tennis vs. Ball State, 12 p.m.
M Swim/Diving vs. Ohio State, 1 p.m.
M Basketball at Minnesota, 2:34 p.m.
W Swim/Diving at Notre Dame, 2 p.m.
M Track/Field at Boston Indoor Games, 5 p.m.
Wrestling vs. Northwestern, 7 p.m.
Ice Hockey at Ferris State, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 2
M Tennis vs. Florida State, Noon
W Basketball at Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m.
M Gymnastics vs. Illinois-Chicago, 3 p.m.
W Gymnastics at State of Michigan Classic (East Lansing), 4:30 p.m.
AgasS Wli forces
return for Graf
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA -
Andre Agassi just keeps getting better
The 32-year-old Agassi over-
whelmed Rainer Schuettler right from
the start and breezed to his fourth
Australian Open title 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
yesterday, becoming the oldest man to
win a Grand Slam singles crown in 31
"There's not a single day that's
guaranteed or promised to us, and cer-
tainly days like this are very rare,"
Agassi won his eighth Grand Slam
championship. And the victory might
also have been enough to lure his
wife, Steffi Graf, out of retirement.
Michigan sprinter Francis Legasse pushes to finish his race on top.
Earlier, Waits was victorious in the 600-meter run,
finishing with a time of 1:21.00. Waits remained near
the front before taking over the lead shortly into the
second lap. Once Waits took the lead, he never
allowed anyone to gain any ground on him until he
was across the finish line.
The Wolverines had another great showing in the
800-meter run. Freshman Rondell Ruff (1:54.43),
freshman Andrew Ellerton (1:55.13) and senior
Phillip Stead (1:55.76) finished second through
As he did the week before at the Michigan Quad,
Braylon Edwards, also a wide receiver on the football
team, highlighted the field competition. For the sec-
ond time in as many weeks, Edwards won the high
jump. By clearing 6'l1," Edwards beat out teammate
Adam Kring, who finished in second place.
"He is an exceptional talent on the football field
and an exceptional talent out here too," Michigan
coach Ron Warhurst said.
Warhurst has been more than pleased with the con-
tributions that Edwards has made in his first weeks
with the team.
Overall, the coach was proud of the team's per-
formance, saying, "We're improving a little bit each
As for the remainder of the season, Warhurst's goal
is simple: "Just keep improving."
Track rolls at Red
It was a day of personal and season
bests at the Indoor Track Building, as
the women's track and field team won
five track and five field events out of
a total of 15 at the non-scoring Red
Michigan kicked off the day by
winning five out of six field events.
Elizabeth Boyle leaped over the
competition in the pole vault. In the
triple-jump, tri-captain Teyonna
Simpson set a new career record.
Tri-captain April Phillips set season
bests ii'the shot put and the weight
Michigan dominated the middle-
distande events, placing four runners
in the top five spots in the 600 meters
and 800 meters.
By Mustafizur Choudhury
Mme of age' on Oklahoma trip
By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer
For the young Michigan men's tennis
team, this weekend was a breakthrough.
"We came of age today," Michigan
assistant coach Dan Goldberg said. "We
came of age today, bottom line."
There was no better way to
describe the Wolverines' stunning
comeback victory against Tulsa yes-
terday. After struggling last weekend
against Western Michigan and
DePaul, Michigan defeated the Gold-
en Hurricane 5-2. The Wolverines
notched the win despite losing every
doubles match and starting off slowly
on the singles side of the match.
"The thing that was amazing (about
the win) was that we lost all but one of
the first sets in the singles matches,"
Goldberg said. "The guys rallied and
turned the match completely around."
The Golden Hurricane entered the
match ranked 45th in the nation, boast-
ing the talent of many returning players.
Much of Tulsa's roster is comprised of
international athletes - just three of
the 10 players on the team are from the
United States, and the remaining seven
are from countries as far away as
Argentina, Sweden and Japan. Michi-
gan, at No. 48, had its hands full to
begin the match.
On the doubles side, Michael Rubin
and Chris Shaya lost 8-5 playing at the
No. 1 spot, and their teammates were
also defeated fairly easily. The pair of
Chris Rolf and Vinnie Gossain lost an
early lead, succumbing 9-7 to Tulsa's
team of Olaf Sjolund, a native of
Poland, and Shunsuke Shimizu, of
Japan. Anthony Jackson and Josef Fis-
cher also lost, 8-6.
If losing the doubles point wasn't
enough to put Michigan in a hole, the
Wolverines seemed to be digging them-
selves deeper at the start of singles play.
Every Michigan player - except Fisch-
er at the No. 5 spot - lost his first set
and then rallied for the come-from-
behind win. Gossain, at the No. 6 spot,
fought off two match points before tak-
ing the 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 victory. Rubin,
Michigan's No. 1 player, also had a
tough second set. He faced Tulsa's Ale-
jandro Tejerina, of Argentina, who is
currently ranked 43rd in the country.
Rubin won 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.
The Wolverines' lone singles loss
came at the No. 3 spot. Shaya
dropped his contest, 6-1, 6-1. But the
senior seemed to be in high spirits
after the match, despite his disap-
"I can't say enough about my team-
mates right now," Shaya said, laughing..
"I'm beaming. I'm so proud of these
guys, even though I got smoked."
Shaya has plenty to be proud of. Last
season, the Wolverines defeated Tulsa
in a close 4-3 match at home. This time
around, Michigan faced a tough crowd
on the road and still managed to drop
the Golden Hurricane, despite the
depletion of its roster this year.
"It's always great to get a win, of
course we like winning," Goldberg said.
"But it was the way we won today that
was a great thing."
W L T
New Jersey 29 12 3
Philadelphia 27 12 8
NY Islanders 22 20 5
Pittsburgh 21 20 4
NY Rangers 21 25 6
Tampa Bay 20
Coach encouraged by gymnasts'
By Nazeema A11i
Daily Sports Writer
For the Michigan men's gymnastics team, the young
season has been filled with uncharacteristic challenges
that only time can alleviate.
After facing No. 1-ranked teams in back-to-back
meets, the temporary weaknesses of the fifth-ranked
Wolverines' lineup have become slightly magnified.
But this current condition of difficulty is disintegrating
as the team's consistency strengthens with the gradual
addition of upperclassmen coming off injuries.
Indications of improvement were evident on Satur-
day night when the Wolverines (2-3 Big Ten, 3-4 over-
all) totalled a season-high score of 210.350 against
Penn State, but it was still not enough to surpass the
top-ranked Nittany Lions (1-0, 8-0), who finished
with a score of 219.400.
"Until we're at full strength, we're not going be
Not the same old shampoo
In a new bottle ...
knocking off the best teams," said Michigan coach
Kurt Golder. "But I'm confident we. can come back as
the season progresses."
From the coaches to the gymnasts, there is no feeling
of concern that can be detected. The entire team pos-
sesses a communal sense of optimism, which Golder
believes to be one of the main ingredients in the process
of boosting the Wolverines to their true potential.
"Right now, we're just building in preparation for
the latter part of the season," Golder said. "We need to
get our veterans back in and learn from our mistakes
Michigan defeated Penn State 215.00-214.600 at
the Big Ten Championships at the end of last season.
The rebuilding process seems to be headed in the
right direction. Although Michigan did not win any
individual events Saturday night, there were substan-
tial improvements on certain events.
"I was pleased with the vault and still rings. We
were hitting (our routines) at a championship level;'
Golder said. "But I was disappointed with the out-
come of the other four events. We shouldn't have
made so many mistakes."
Golder did not fail to emphasize how crucial it is
for the team to constructively learn from their mis-
takes - especially en route to the culmination of its
goal of challenging the nation's best teams.
"We need to get a little stronger mentally;" Golder
said. "Sometimes the guys are too tentative. We need
to be more aggressive."
Eddie Umphrey's performances on the floor and
vault were exemplary of this mentality, as he finished
in the top five in both of those events.
Golder also applauded freshman Derek Croad's
"championship-type execution" on the floor and vault.
He also did not fail to acknowledge Penn State's all-
around strength, although winning in State College
has been difficult for visiting teams over the vears.
Detroit 27 14
St. Louis '26 15
Chicago 21 18
Columbus 19 25
Nashville 16 121
TORONTO 101, Sacramento 97
BOSTON 91, Orlando 83
CHICAGO 100, Houston 98
INDIANA 108, LA Clippers 101
NY KNICKs 106, Phoenix 98
Portland 100, DALLAS 93
LA Clippers at Cleveland
Phoenix at Washington
Indiana at Miami
San Antonio at Minnesota
Houston at Memphis
Milwaukee at New Orleans
New Jersey at Denver
WASHINGTON 7, NY Rangers 2
MONTREAL 4, Chicago 3
Phoenix at VANCOUVER, Inc.
Nashville at BUFFALO
Ottawa at DALLAS
San Jose at Los ANGELES
Nashville at BOSTON
Pittsburgh at NY ISLANDERS
Tampa Bay at PHILADELPHIA
St. Louis at WASHINGTON
Colorado at COLUMBUS
Florida at MONTREAL
Detroit at NEW JERSEY
LIVE AND LEARN
Study in Tokyo at the prestigious Waseda University for Summer,
Winter or Spring:
0 Summer Japanese Program
HEALTHY, MEDICATION-FREE VOLUNTEERS,