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March 10, 2003 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-10

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6B -The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 10, 2003

Blue's title chances killed in 21 minutes

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
MADISON - The Michigan
wrestling team had a great weekend at
the Big Ten Championships - except
for 21 minutes that is. In the span of
those minutes, Michigan went from
title contention to battling for a top-
five finish.
"I thought we wrestled well,"
Michigan coach Joe McFarland said.
"Our guys came in and wrestled hard
all weekend."
After the first session, Michigan
had five wrestlers in the semifinals
and was in third place behind Min-
nesota and Iowa. The Wolverines
looked in prime position to make a
run at the crown - but a dismal draw
in the brackets would prove to be their'
undoing. All of the Wolverines looked
to be in peak condition and wrestling

their best, but it wouldn't be enough.
"We had some tough matches that
round. We had a few against some
tough Minnesota guys - two of
which were defending national
champs," McFarland said.
In the 149-, 157-, and 165-pound
semifinals, three Michigan wrestlers
would face three Minnesota wrestlers
back-to-back-to-back. The trio for
Michigan was Ryan Churella, Ryan
Bertin and Mike Kulczycki.
All three Wolverines had been
wrestling stellar tournaments, but in
the semifinals, they would face two
defending national champions and an
All-American in Minnesota's Jared
Lawrence, Luke Becker and Jacob
Churella had pinned his first two
opponents, but couldn't find an
answer for Lawrence. The freshman
phenom's deadly leg riding wasn't a

factor in the match, as Lawrence was
able to control the top position
throughout the bout.
On the strength of four takedowns,
the defending national champion
topped Churella 9-1. Lawrence would
dominate in his finals match to repeat
as Big Ten champion.
At 157 pounds, Bertin squared off
against Becker - a wrestler who had
beaten him in all five of their past
meetings (including last year's Big
Ten Championship finals). Becker, a
senior and the defending national
champion, would make it six in a row
against the redshirt sophomore.
Bertin, one of Michigan's toughest
wrestlers from the standing position,
couldn't manage a takedown, as
Becker cruised to a 7-3 win. In the
finals, Becker dropped Michigan
State's Gray Maynard to win his sec-
ond Big Ten title.

The third match in the mini-dual
between Michigan and Minnesota
was between two 2001 All-Ameri-
cans. Michigan's Kulczycki was
unable to find an opening for his
blow-through double leg takedown as
Minnesota's Jacob Volkmann topped
him 4-0.
"To be honest, we're not really as
powerful as Minnesota and Iowa right
now, and I think that became evident
this week," McFarland said. "We're
just not the team that Minnesota and
Iowa are - we're still a couple years
away from them."
When the smoke cleared after the
semifinals round, 125-pounder A.J.
Grant was the only Michigan wrestler
remaining in the championship brack-
et. Iowa and Minnesota would end up
with five wrestlers apiece in the Big
Ten finals, making both powerhouses
nearly impossible to catch.

Junior Clark Forward dropped his match against Penn State's Scott Moore 5.1
yesterday. Forward went 2-2 at the Big Ten Championships.

Tumlr' solid effort falls just
short against No. 1 UCLA

By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer


Continued from Page 1B
Though only Grant reached the finals, three Wolverines
did make it to the third-place match. And even though none
of the three were ranked higher than fourth, all three man-
aged to pull out the win..
Redshirt freshma Ryan Churella was the first of the three
to win, escaping with a 1-0 victory over Michigan State's
Karl Nadolsky at 149 pounds.
Ryan Bertin finished his weekend strong with a 6-2 deci-
sion over Penn State's Nate Wachter. An All-American who
finished second at last year's Big Tens, Bertin spent much of
the season battling injuries and only recently became fully
Fifth-year senior Kyle Smith displayed some of his best
wrestling of the season this weekend. The All-American fin-
ished third with a 5-2 decision over Penn State's Ryan Cum-
mins. Smith's most impressive match came Saturday, when

he defeated Iowa's Ryan Fulsaas.
"I feel really good about nationals. I feel a lot better right
now about how I'm wrestling. I'm looking forward to going
to Kansas City," Smith said.
Heavyweight Greg Wagner lost a close match to Wiscon-
sin's Justin Staebler 2-1 in two overtimes. But fifth-year sen-
ior Mike Kulczycki, who was seeing his first action since
Feb. 1, forfeited his match against Purdue's Oscar Santiago
and finished in sixth place. With an NCAA bid secured,
McFarland didn't want to take a chance.
With the top seven wrestlers earning bids to the NCAA
Championships in two weeks, the Wolverines had a pair of
crucial matches in the early session yesterday, and they both
went Michigan's way.
At 141 pounds, Clark Forward looked to be in trouble, but
Forward refused to come up short. Forward caught his oppo-
nent out of position and put him on his back for the win.
Pat Owen, wrestling at 174 pounds for the first time this
season, also earned his NCAA bid yesterday.

Any high-level gymnastics team expects to win a
meet when it posts its second highest score of the sea-
son. And that view usually proves to be true, assuming
that the other team is not the No. 1 team in the nation.
The Michigan women's gymnastics team (2-1 Big
Ten, 9-6 overall) was in that exact position on Friday as
it fell to top-ranked UCLA 197.250-196.775 in a dual
meet. The Bruins, who have been ranked as the nation's
top team for the entire season, won the opening rota-
tion and never looked back.
Interestingly, even though the score was the Wolver-
ines' second highest, they did not feel that they per-
formed as well as they are capable of.
"It wasn't probably one of our best meets," junior
Calli Ryals said. "We had a fall on beam and a fall on
bars. We didn't count (the falls), but some of our good
fresh competitors (should have scored higher)."
Michigan coach Bev Plocki voiced a similar opinion.
"We had some things that cost us some tenths across
the board, but on the other hand, we showcased two
new vaults tonight (that) I think gave some of those
kids a lot of confidence," Plocki said.
"Not overall our greatest meet, but still we fought
through everything, didn't count any falls, and came
out with a good score."'
The Bruins (7-1-1 Pac-10 ,11-1-1 overall) swept the
all-around title and also won the vault, beam and floor
routine titles as well. The lone event in which a
Wolverine sat atop the podium was the uneven bars.
Sophomore Lauren Mirkovich posted a 9.925, her sec-
ond highest score of the season.
This is somewhat ironic, because the Bruins have the
highest average score in the nation for the event. In
addition, the Wolverines have had their fair share of
problems with bars this season, including a stomach-
churning 48.450 against Northern Illinois.
"The athletes themselves have put a 110-percent
effort into trying to get things corrected and fixed, and
we're beginning to see some of the fruits of their
labor," Plocki said. "We can't expect 100 percent con-
sistency. Things are definitely going better in (bars)
The meet, which took place at Crisler Arena, was a
good preview of the caliber of competiton that will
come later on when the Wolverines host the NCAA
Northeast Regional on April 12. While Michigan has
grown accustomed to performing in front of a variety


Continued from Page 11.
Despite Nisbet's claim that the team
can deal with the loss of key players, the
Wolverines didn't seem to come togeth-
er until after the first two quarters of
Saturday's game. At halftime, Michigan
was down 5-1, and the large crowd that
had filled Canham Natatorium was all
holding its breath, wondering if Ander-
son's pep talk could spur the girls on to
outplay their rivals in the second half.
"I told the girls at half time, 'Hey, so
it's 5-1 - doesn't matter - we control
the tempo of this game, and we can reel
them back in,"' Anderson said.
Anderson's enthusiasm shined in the
players, as Michigan started off the third
quarter with two goals, one from sopho-
more Casey Kerney and the other from
senior Delia Sonda. Indiana was able to
slip only one goal past sophomore
goalie Betsey Armstrong. The quarter
ended with sophomore Sheetal Narsai's
first of four goals in the game, making
the score 6-4.
The goal tallies by the Wolverines
eased the worries goalkeeper Armstrong
had coming into the second half.
"We came out a lot stronger on
defense so that made me a lot more con-
fident," said Armstrong, who was
recently named CWPA Southern Divi-
sion Player of the Week.
But it was in the final quarter that the
Wolverines took full control. Kerney
made her second goal of the game from

nearly halfway across the pool - eight
meters from the net.
The score was 6-5, and in the final
minutes of the quarter, the Wolverines'
hope was to tie up the game so that they
would at least get a second chace to
flounce the Hoosiers in overtime. How-
ever, their hopes were crushed - at
least temporarily - when Indiana made
another goal with 3:51 left on the clock
to make the score 7-5.
Narsai countered with another goal to
again bring the Wolverines within one..
With 38 seconds to go, the spotlight was
again on Narsai when she was given a
four-meter penalty shot.
"I was praying,' said Narsai about the
seconds before she took her shot.
"Every time I pray, it usually goes in. I
was trying not to focus on anything else
besides that ball. I was looking at the
back of the (goalie's) cage and picturing
the ball going in.'
And that ball did go in, answering the
prayers of both Narsai and the team.
Michigan would get their second chance
in overtime after all. In water polo, the
teams play two more three-minute quar-
ters to decide the winner. If the score is
still tied after those overtime quarters, it
moves to a sudden-death round.
After the first overtime quarter and
nearing the end of the second quarter,
neither team had scored. But with a
minute remaining, Nisbet got her shot
past the Indiana goalie, not only put-
ting the Wolverines ahead of the
Hoosiers for the first time in the game,

but completing her 100th career goal
as a Wolverine.
"Scoring goals like that is really the
reason I play water polo," Nisbet said.
"Especially when it's your rival team, in
your home pool, with a crowd like that."
And in the final seconds of overtime,
Narsai tossed one more goal in, making
the final score 9-7.
"It was kind of like icing on. the
cake," said Narsai about her fourth goal
of the game.
Anderson believes the outcome of the
game didn't happen because of a few
team members, but said instead that the
victory came out of a team effort from
all the players.
"The players in the water were telling
me, 'I don't know if I can to this, maybe
you should get someone else in.' So now
they're thinking more like a -coach,
rather than just saying, 'I'm gonna do it
all myself' - if you can count on your
teammates, you can be a better team,"
Anderson said.
This win and Michigan's wins this
weekend against Grove City, 18-2, Penn
State-Behrend, 11-4, and Washington &
Jefferson, 14-4, marked the end of the
first rounds of the Southern Division
tournament, the beginning of the team's
road to the NCAA Final Four.
According to Anderson, his favorite
part about the weekend was the crowd at
the Hoosier thrashing.
"I was very pleased with the crowd,"
Anderson said. "All I can say is, it'd be
nice to get the band out here someday."

Freshman Jenny Delley finished with the top Michigan overall
score of 39.475 to grab fourth place in the match.
of different atmospheres, in the words of Dorothy, there
is no place like home.
"It's just a lot more exciting, it's thrilling, because
you really hear the crowd cheering for you, so it's fun,"
Ryals said.
The Wolverines have little time to lick their wounds.
That's because the schedule continues to be brutal, as
No. 5 Nebraska comes to Ann Arbor on Friday.


Warhurst disappointed after weak showing

By Nicole Stanton
Daily Sports Writer

The Office of New Student Programs
is now recruiting
Fall and International
Orientation Leaders
ONSP is looking for motivated undergraduate
students to help facilitate the Fall and
International Orientation Programs.
International leader duties will include running check-
in and registration, facilitating an informational
meeting, leading a walking tour, participating in
social activities, and assisting in class registration.
Fall leader duties will include running check-in,
leading a walking tour, and working the New Student
Pay: $65/day, $32.50/half-day (shifts vary).
International Orientation
Training:Thursday,August 21st
Program: August 22nd - August 26th
Fall Orientation
Training: Monday, August 25th
Program: August 26th - August 28th
Application Process
Applications are available at 3511 Student Activities
Ruidin and are de hack by Friday March 21 't

The Michigan men's track team has
been going strong throughout the sea-
son, with four invitationals and two
meets knocked out of the way. But it all
came down to one competition - the
Alex Wilson Invitational. Now that's

This past weekend's events at Notre
Dame's Loftus Sports Complex were the
last chance for three Michigan runners
- seniors Ryan Hesselink, Alex
L'Hereux and Nick Stanko - to qualify
for the NCAA Indoor Championships.
When it was all said and done, the
three Wolverines did not have the

strength and confidence that coach Ron
Warhurst has been ranting about all year
to get them to the top. Warhurst's com-
ments about the invitational were unfa-
miliar and unenthusiastic compared to
the rest of the year.
"I definitely have a good feeling
about the team this year" Warhurst said
a few weeks prior to Alex Wilson. "With
a team, you have 100 percent. A coach
always hopes that 80 percent will reach
their max, their personal bests. Then
take 10 percent, and those are the guys
who will go way beyond their potential
and perform great. Then you're left with
the last 10 percent who won't perform to
the level they have all season."
With such a great theory, it's obvious
that Warhurst didn't expect three of his
runners to fall into the lower 10th-per-
centile of his prediction, and his com-
ments reflected that.
"They definitely didn't perform to
their potential this weekend," Warhurst
said. "And although it was a low key
event, it was their last chance to qualify,"
On Friday, Hesselink and Stanko's
times for the 5,000-meter run were off
by approximately 20-40 seconds to

qualify for the NCAAs, with running
times of 14:56.67 and 14:26.04, respec-
Although Stanko's time was his per-
sonal record for the indoor season, com-
pared to his time of 14:32.65 at the
Meyo Invitational a month ago, it still
was not up to NCAA standards.
"It wasn't a good race for him. This
was everyone's last chance to run fast
and it didn't happen," Warhurst said.
Saturday, LHereux ran the mile with
a time of 4:05.40, which was one second
worse than his NCAA provisional quali-
fying time of 4:04.40 at the Meyo Invi-
"He really ran a solid race;" Warhurst
said. "But it just wasn't there so nothing
The NCAA Indoor Championships
should be more exciting than this past
weekend's events.
The only individual Wolverines run-
ning this upcoming weekend are fresh-
men Nate Brannen and Nick Willis in
the one-mile run. Both will also con-
tribute to Michigan in the distance med-
ley relay with teammates Seth Waits and
Andrew Ellerton.


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