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February 03, 2003 - Image 14

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - Feburary 3, 2002

Grapplers demolish
Wildcats in blowout

'M' earns country's
second highest score

0

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan's wrestling match against
Northwestern had a little bit of every-
thing - a moment of silence for the
fallen astronauts of the Columbia shut-
tie, a ceremony for Michigan wrestling
alumni and a blood-curdling scream at
the end of the meet.
One thing the Michigan fans did not
witness at Cliff Keen Arena on Saturday
was a good wrestling match. The No. 8
Wolverines routed the hapless Wildcats
35-12.
"I think we wrestled well. I really do.
We stayed aggressive, and that's what I
like to see," Michigan coach Joe McFar-
land said. "From 125 (pounds), all the
way through, we did a good job."
Michigan All-American 125-pounder
A.J Grant, currently ranked fifth in the
country at 125 pounds, started the meet
off by manhandling Northwestern's John
Velez during a 15-3 major decision. At
133-pounds, Michigan starter Foley
Dowd was unable to compete, as backup
125-pounder Shaun Newton stepped in
for him.
"Over the years, Foley's knees get
sore from time to time, and we're just
trying to be careful with him and give
him a little extra rest," McFarland said.
Newton was impressive against
Northwestern's Jon Ott, sprawling out
and defending against many of Ott's
attacks. In the end, though, a riding time
advantage would give Ott the one point
he needed to score a 6-5 decision over
Newton. With the score at 4-3, Michigan
141-pounder Clark Forward would face

Northwestern's top wrestler in NCAA
qualifier John Giacche. Forward led 3-2
going into the third period and then
scored two takedowns to seal the victory
over the veteran Giacche.
"Clark wrestled fantastic - that's
the way Clark is capable of wrestling,"
McFarland said. "He stayed aggressive
regardless of how much time was left.
He iced that match with those late
takedowns. That's what I like to see
Clark do."
The Wolverines' freshman phenom,
Ryan Churella, dominated the Wildcats'
Paul Oggle at 149 pounds. Churella
scored five takedowns over the course of
three periods before finally pinning
Oggle with 22 seconds remaining in the
match.
All-American Ryan Bertin ws not to
be outdone by Churella, as he pinned his
opponent, Northwestern's Mike Kimber-
lin, early in the second period. Fellow
All-American Mike Kulczycki didn't
have the same kind of luck that Churella
and Bertin enjoyed. After being taken
down by the Wildcats' Jason Erwinski,
Kulczycki, in noticeable pain, signaled
to the referee for an injury timeout.
After a few minutes with the trainer,
Kulczycki forfeited the match, giving
six points to Northwestern and bringing
the score to 19-9 in favor of Michigan.
"We just didn't want to risk it with
Mike at 165," McFarland said. "We're
just getting him back from injury. He
sprained his other ankle tonight. We had
the match in hand, and there was no
point in risking it."
At 197 pounds, Michigan All-Amer-
ican Kyle Smith topped freshman Matt

NICOLE TERWILLIGER/Daily
Junior Clark Forward used a late surge to win his match at 141 pounds against
Northwestern's John Giacche.

Delguyd in a match that was closer
than it should have been. Smith con-
trolled the match early on, but two
third-period takedowns by Delguyd cut
Smith's lead to three. The All-Ameri-
can prevailed in the end, countering
with two takedowns of his own to seal
a 16-8 decision. "Kyle needs to keep
his intensity level up," McFarland said.
"He got embarrassed when he got
taken down a couple times. He got a
little ticked off and went after the kid
and got two takedowns at will. He
loses his intensity from time to time.
He needs to work on that. When Kyle
is on the go, he's hard to stop. I think
he's the strongest 197-pounder in the
country."
The final match of the evening was a
gruesome one. With Michigan heavy-
weight Greg Wagner, ranked eighth in
the country, squaring off against three-

time high school Oklahoma state cham-
pion Mike Little, the match was sup-
posed to be a close one. After falling
awkwardly a minute and a half into the
match, Little let out a scream that proba-
bly could have been heard in Evanston.
Few fans could even look, as Little laid
in writhing agony on the mat with his
arm twisted in such a manner that even a
contortionist would be shocked. The
Northwestern heavyweight had dislocat-
ed his elbow, and after having it popped
back in, was helped off the mat. Michi-
gan received the injury default to close
the match at 35-12.
Michigan's win over Northwestern
capped a 2-0 Big Ten weekend in which
it also beat Indiana at Cliff Keen Arena,
25-13. Next weekend, the Wolverines
will square off against defending nation-
al champion Minnesota and in-state rival
Michigan State.

By Nazeema AiI
Daily Sports Writer
Sunday was a pretty good day for
the No. 7 Michigan men's gymnastics
team, considering it finished with its
highest score of the season - the sec-
ond highest of all team scores record-
ed in the nation this year, behind only
No. 1 Penn State.
The Wolverines (4-4) beat No. 9
Illinois-Chicago 215.050 to 203.300 at
Cliff Keen Arena in front of an ani-
mated audience. This convincing per-
formance is proof that Michigan is
slowly but surely reaching its poten-
tial.
"We're finally approaching the level
we're supposed to be at," senior Scott
Vetere said.
Vetere contributed with the team's
second-highest score on the floor exer-
cise and the pommel horse.
"We're on our way to a national
title, I'm sure of that right now."
The Wolverines' quest for challeng-
ing the top-ranked teams has been a
seemingly intangible goal throughout
the season. Injuries that have kept
many upperclassmen out of competi-
tion have hampered the amount of
leadership and experience currently
available. But as Michigan coach Kurt
Golder has been predicting all year,
patience will allow the team to recover
and fortify the lineup. This process
could eventually result in a national
championship caliber team. Thus far,
it appears that progress is unfolding
accordingly.
"As we get guys in, we get more
and more confidence," Golder said.
"Now we have to add difficulty as the
guys get more comfortable with their
routines g
The growing confidence is evident

among all the gymnasts.
"I think we're right where we want
to be," sophomore Geoff Corrigan
said. "I'm impressed with the fresh-
men, they did really well."
Of the freshmen, Justin Laury's per-
formance was the most impressive.
Laury finished ahead of all competi-
tors on the pommel horse and the hori-
zontal bar, as he successfully executed
routines with relatively high start val-
ues in all events.
The Wolverines dominated Illinois-
Chicago (0-6) in five of the six events.
Each event was anchored by consistent
opening routines. Illinois' helplessness
was evident, as the team appeared to
lose concentration in the last rotation
in which it fell countless times. Mean-
while, Michigan entertained the home
crowd by delivering a dramatic display
of well-executed release moves on the
high bar.
The success of the meet was partial-
ly smothered when sophomore Eddie
Umphrey hurt his hand in the middle
of his parallel bars routine. He left the
meet for x-rays and there was no word
of his status.
Umphrey is one of six Wolverines
slated to attend the 2003 Winter Cup
Challenge in Las Vegas next weekend,
along with Jamie Hertza, Conan
Parzuchowski, Justin Laury, Jerry Sig-
norelli and Geoff Corrigan.
Umphrey's presence on the team is
significant, but his teammates remain
optimistic.
"We have to be confident and have
as much fun as possible," Parzu-
chowski said. "That's how you win.
We still have some guys out, and we
need to add some more difficulty.
But, when the end of the season rolls
around, the rest of the nation won't
even see us coming."

0
0

Blue wins during a night in the Roxbury

By Ellen McGarrdty
Daily Sports Writer

Not only did four members of the Michigan men's
track team qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track Cham-
pionships this weekend, they had the chance to run in
the presence of Olympic veterans like Regina Jacobs,
Maurice Greene and pole-vaulter Stacey Dragila.
"It was really cool," sophomore Seth Waits said.
"From the moment we got there, we were riding on
the bus with Olympians. I even got the chance to talk
to Stacey Dragila. Really, it was the highlight of my
track career."
Saturday, coach Ron Warhurst, along with four of
his best runners flew to Roxbury, Mass. for the Boston
Indoor Games. Sophomores Nate Brannen and Seth
Waits and freshmen Nick Willis and Andrew Ellerton
proved they could hang with the best when they com-
bined to form a medley relay team. In a distance med-
ley relay, each member runs a different distance for
their leg of the race ranging from 400 to 1,600 meters.
Competing against No. 1 Arkansas, No. 5 Villanova,
Kentucky, Arizona, Providence College and Darmouth,
Michigan placed second with a time of 9:35.80. To get
an automatic qualification for the NCAA Champi-

onships set for March 14-15 in Fayetteville, Ark., the
team needed 9:38.25, but the Wolverines beat that by
25 hundredths of a second.
In the first leg, Brannen ran 1,200 meters in 2:57.
"Nate ran kind of conservative," Warhurst said.
"He's been battling a case of achilles tendon, and I
know he could have run faster."
"We pretty much went (to Boston) not knowing if I
was going to run or not," Brannen said about his injury.
"Literally, the morning of we decided whether or not
we were going to race. I was definitely the weak link,
but the rest of the guys made up for it."
Brannen now has qualified for nationals in two
events. Along with the relay team, the sophomore will
be traveling to Fayetteville for his 1:48.80 time in the
800-meter run, accomplished just a few weeks ago in
the Michigan Quadrangular.
After Brannen's slow start, Waits had to make up
time with his quick 400 meters. And he did, passing the
baton to teammate Ellerton after 48.1 seconds.
"The (baton) handoff was where we really lost the
time," Waits said. "(Despite his injury), Nate had a
great leg. One of the runners from Kentucky got in the
way which lost us about 10 meters."
Ellerton finished his 800 meters of the race in

1:50.6. In Ellerton's first season with Michigan, he has
already torn up the track several times, taking first in
the 800 at the Michigan Intrasquad meet and first in
the 600 at the Michigan Quadrangular.
"I just tried to stay with the other guys and do what I
had to do,"Ellerton said.
Then it all fell on the shoulders of Willis, who ran
1,600. Willis is hoping to qualify for nationals in two
other events, the mile and the 3,000-meter. His time of
7:59.19 at the Michigan Quadrangular and his mile run
in 4:04.59 at the Red Simmons Invitational are both
provisional qualifying times for Nationals.
The relay catapulted both Ellerton and Waits into
NCAAs, but even with this qualifying relay time under
their belts, it won't crush their incentive to keep run-
ning hard for the remainder of the season.
"It won't take the work ethic out of us," Waits said,
agreeing with Ellerton. "I think we'll all work even
harder now."
Racing in Massachusetis was a great experience for
the four.
"There were 4,000 screaming people," Warhurst said
about the sold-out Reggie Lewis Center. "The guys
now have an advantage because they will see these
same teams again at Nationals."

4

Freshman Justin Laury won the pummel horse yesterday with a score of 9.000, and
also finished first with an overall score of 53.175.

Tumblers' conference win streak broken

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By Albert Kim
Daily Sports Writer

EAST LANSING - If adversity
makes a team closer, then the
Wolverines must be one tight-knit
group.
After posting a season-high score
in Alabama on Friday night, but still
losing, the Michigan women's gym-
nastics team went into yesterday's
State of Michigan Classic at Jenison
Field House looking to assert itself
as the best program in the state.
Instead, the Wolverines walked away
wondering what happened.
"I'm disappointed, there's no way
to soft sell what happened," Michi-
gan coach Bev Plocki said. "I really
anticipated us coming here and hav-
ing a great meet tonight.
"The mistakes made tonight were
much more mental than physical."
Eleventh-ranked Michigan (4-4)

finished an unglamorous third over-
all, significantly behind winner
Michigan State and second-place
Central Michigan. The loss to the
Spartans snapped the Wolverines'
string of 40 straight wins over Big
Ten opponents. Michigan's last loss
came on Jan. 15, 1999, against Min-
nesota.
With just five gymnasts active on
two events, Michigan had little mar-
gin for error. But the long weekend,
combined with major falls, proved
too much to overcome, even though
the Wolverines almost swept the all-
around individual titles.
"Hopefully, we'll just throw this
one out and forget about it," junior
Calli Ryals said.
The Wolverines had an inauspi-
cious start to the meet, as they
opened on the vault with a fall by
sophomore Lauren Mirkovich. The
team recovered to post a 49.050, and

Becca Clauson earned the title with a
9.900.
All-around champion Janessa
Grieco, who posted a career-high
39.350, led-off the second rotation
on the bars and posted a solid
9.825, showing no ill effects from
falling in Alabama on Friday night.
But injury-plagued Chelsea Kroll
posted an 8.4 - the equivalent of
three falls - and Michigan had to
count her score because only five
gymnasts competed in the rotation.
Although Mirkovich won the title
on the bars, the team score was just
a 47.850.
The Wolverines were still in the
running after the bars, but their beam
routines dashed any hopes of a win.
Three different gymnasts fell, and
Michigan had to count two falls. The
event buried the Wolverines, who
posted a 48.000. Plocki was disap-
pointed with the team's response.
"Instead of us getting ourselves
together and regrouping, we just con-
tinued to let it bother us," Plocki
said. "We're not going to go very far
this season if we don't change that
very quickly and get a little bit men-

tally tougher."
After the beam collapse, the
Wolverines had to collect themselves
going into their last rotation.
Although they tied for the best team
floor score of the night, highlighted
by Ryals' winning score of 9.950, it
was not enough.
. Freshman Jenny Deiley finished
second in the all-around, while Ryals
tied for third. The all-around domi-
nance of Michigan looks good on
paper, but showed yesterday that the
Wolverines have major depth prob-
lems. Elise Ray, Erica Rubin, Chris-
tine Mantilia and Kallie Steffes are
all injured, leaving just seven gym-
nasts who can even compete. But the
Wolverines felt they had no excuses.
"I don't think we want to make
excuses for what happened," Grieco
said. "We'll learn from our mistakes
today."
Adversity has made this team clos-
er, and they've shown a propensity
for coming back.
"We're fighting," Ryals said.
"Especially in Alabama, it. showed
how we really pulled together as a
team."

g

4

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