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March 20, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-20

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 10A

Williams
sisters
take on
M ichigan
By GlnaAdducl
Daily Sports Writer
Want to get to know some celebri-
ties? If so, perhaps you should consider
playing tennis. The Michigan men's ten-
nis team members have encountered
numerous famous players throughout
their careers. And not only have some
Wolverines met these celebrities, but
some have even played with them.
When junior Anthony Jackson was 10
years old, his family traveled to Florida
so he could participate in a tennis camp.
Coincidentally, it was at this same camp
that No. 1- and No. 2- ranked women's
professional tennis players Serena and
Venus Williams trained.
Jackson practiced with the soon-to be
prodigy Serena Williams for
a couple of rounds when Ser-
ena's father Richard directed $>
him to walk up to the net. Mha
Mr. Williams then instructed
Serena to rip ground strokes u r
as hard as she could straight
at Jackson.
"I was really small in those
days, and Serena is really

Track shoots for 'Triple Crown'

By Jeremy Antar
Daily Sports Writer
College track programs usually have three teams compet-
ing every year at different times- with the cross-country
team in the fall, the indoor track and field team in the winter
and the outdoor track and field team in the spring.
Although track may be best known for individual accom-
plishments, something needs to be said about a program that
has won Big Ten championships in four straight seasons.
The Michigan women's track and field team has done just
that. In 2002, the Wolverines won the indoor title, then the
outdoor title and finally the cross-country title. So far in
2003, the Wolverines have continued their remarkable streak,
winning the Big Ten championship in the indoor competition
earlier this month.
Now, as the Wolverines embark on the outdoor season,
their dream of capturing the illustrious "Triple Crown" seems
well within reach. Even though the Wolverines have won four
straight Big Ten championships, the "triple crown" refers to
three straight championships within the same school year.
The team is confident, determined and focused about
accomplishing the prestigious goal, a feat that Michigan has
not reached since the 1994-95 season.
"We have depth in every event this year, so we are in for
the title. We want the Triple Crown, and we want it really
bad," said senior tri-captain April Phillips.
This Wolverine squad is fresh off a Big Ten championship
in the indoor season and has three school record holders com-
peting in the upcoming outdoor season - April Phillips in
the shot put and hammer throw, senior Vera Simms in the
400-meter hurdles and junior Melissa Bickett in the discus.

While there are several differences between the indoor and
outdoor seasons, those differences seem to only better the
chances of another Michigan title.
Phillips' specialty is the hammer throw, and it is solely an
outdoor event. She believes she is better at the hammer than
the shot put because the hammer requires more skill than
strength.
"Hammer is a more technically based sport, it doesn't have
a lot to do with your size and your mass," Phillips said.
Bickett, like Phillips, also gets to compete in her best event,
discus, only during the outdoor season. Bicket was All-Ameri-
can in the discus last year, and posted the furthest throw in the
country on her way to a stellar sophomore season.
Adding Phillips in the hammer and Bickett in the disc will
only help the team.
"Not only will we have the same events that we did during
indoors, but we have extra events that we will be able to score
points in;' said Bickett on the move outdoors.
Bickett competes in the shot put during the indoor season,
but is at her best with the discus and plans on devoting a lot
of time this season to her specialty.
"I focus a lot more on discus, I'll throw discus every day,"
said Bickett on the approach she will take during practice.
Another reason the "Triple Crown" is Michigan's for the
taking is senior Rachel Sturtz. Sturtz recently broke her own
school record in the 800-meter run and will most likely play a
major role in the Wolverines' success this spring.
Keeping all the pieces of the puzzle in place is Michigan
coach James Henry, who was recently named Great Lakes
Regional Indoor Coach of the Year. Henry is building a track
and field dynasty, and it looks like pretty soon, the 2002-03
Wolverines could have the "Triple Crown" to show for it.

01

TOM FELDKAMP/Daily
Practice against Serena and Venus Williams helped Anthony Jackson improve.

"If we played now, she would defi-
nitely beat me," Jackson said.
Sophomore Josef Fischer has also
had a few celebrity run-ins, including

ter:.
jai' iE)CiT1 rast s
4 is center rE .

his own meeting with the
Williams family. Three
years ago, Fischer and
his friend were in Florida
practicing with both Ser-
ena and Venus. After two
hours, Fischer had to
leave the session, but the
head of the academy
required Fischer's friend

say that he wanted to stop because it
was the number-one and number-two
players in the nation."
Fischer also got the chance to
observe some other top-ranked players
in action. Fischer noticed that some
players worked incredibly hard while
others only practiced for a few hours a
day. The shortest practice was held by
Xavier Malisse, who is currently ranked
No. 19 on the ATP tour.
"Many of the players are so talented
and loose that they only had to practice
for an hour or two," Fischer said.
"Xavier Malisse would practice for only
45 minutes and then leave."
Unfortunately, Michigan doesn't get
the opportunity to choose the duration
of its practices. But all the work could
help prepare the Wolverines for this
weekend's match against Penn State at
the Varsity Tennis Center.

Cowboys looking like the team to beat

strong. Even back then, she was lifting
weights and boxing," Jackson said.
"After one drilled me in the stomach, I
didn't wanna come in there after that."
The Williams sisters have gone on to
dominate the women's tennis world and
have even been in a few commercials
for McDonald's.

to stay. He had to stand at the baseline
and serve two baskets of balls to each
of the sisters while they waited for a
return shot.
"My friend couldn't play tennis for
the next week, he was so tired," Fischer
said. "The girls made him serve over
and over again, but he couldn't really

NCAA
Continued from Page 7A
relieved. The last two seasons didn't
end the way he wanted, and for him to
get over that hurdle was great."
Kulczycki, competing this year at
165 pounds, is unseeded, but could
come out of nowhere and surprise some
people. An All-American in 2001 who
has been battling injury all season long,
Kulczycki looked good at the Big Ten

Championships and hopes to finish his
career on a good note. Kulczycki will
square off against ninth-seeded Matt R.
King in the first-round, and if he is able
to make it to the quarterfinals, Kulczyc-
ki would likely face defending national
champion Matt Lackey.
Another senior, 197-pounder Kyle
Smith, is looking to put the memories
of a bad regular season behind him and
repeat as an All-American. Smith, seed-
ed ninth, will square off against

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Wyoming's Kevin Kessnar in the first
round and then against the winner of
Cleveland State's Stipe Miocic and
Sacred Heart's Anthony Reynolds.
Oklahoma State, coached by
Olympic gold medallist John Smith,
looks like the team to beat this year.
The Big Ten has won the last nine
years, but may not have the weapons to
gun down Oklahoma State.
"On paper, Oklahoma State is clearly
the team to beat," McFarland said.
'M' sets
sights on
NCAAs
By Anne Ulble
Daly Sports Writer
It's championship season, a time when
the best will be forced to prove that they
deserve to be at the top. This weekend,
nine well-prepared Michigan swimmers
will matchup against the best in the
country and
*>~nr: . attempt to
emerge from
tie pool vic-
Mehga atth torious
NCA Cmpn Michigan's
Trsdy to ad swimming
and diving
A bung Ateam will be
competing in
the NCAA
Championships this weekend at Auburn
University.
The nine athletes who are swimming
this weekend headed down to Alabama
on Tuesday and are warming up for the
tough competition they will face off
against.
"Hopefully, by bringing them down
here two days ahead of time they'll get
used to the pool facilities and how the
water feels' head coach Jim Richardson
said. "We want them to be as prepared as
they can be."
This will be the Wolverines' 18th
appearance at the NCAA Champi-
onships. Michigan has placed in the top
10 at the Championships 12 times, and
has produced seven individuals that have
earned NCAA Championship titles.
"I think that if we just swim faster
than we did at the Big Ten meet, every-
thing else will fall into place for us,"
Richardson said. "As of right now, we
are ranked 19th going into the meet, but
we have the chance to work our way up
to 15th place."
Covering the board, Michigan has ath-
letes entered in 17 of the 21 events
scheduled for the Championships.
"The girls are calm, but they are defi-
nitely ready," Richardson said. They've
worked really hard and have had some
great practices over the past three weeks;
I think this weekend should be proof of
their endurance and stamina."
With seven athletes seeded within the
top 20 in their events, Michigan is
poised to bring home some solid races
and fast times.
"All of the races are going to be very
exciting," Richardson said. "The 200-
and 400-yard medley relays should be
fun to watch. The relay teams have really
progressed throughout the season. But
the 200-yard free relay should be the
most interesting, because the team isn't
seeded right now, and it has a lot of
room to move up in the competition and
pull off a huge upset."
Being the first event of the cham-
pionship weekend, the 200-yard free
relay consisting of Anne Weilbacher,
Erin Abbey, Abby Seskevics and
A 'Z 1 I - -1 __4SI

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