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March 24, 2003 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-24

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SPORTS . . .

March 24, 2003

SECTION B

Champion! Bertin is the one

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Michigan wrestling
coach Joe McFarland couldn't have been more
excited to see tears streaming from the eyes of
his 157-pounder, Ryan Bertin. On Saturday,
Bertin became Michigan's first NCAA Champi-
on since current assistant coach Kirk Trost
accomplished the feat in 1986.
"I was in a rhythm all weekend," Bertin said.
"Things were flowing - I can't really explain
it. Everything just fell into place."
Bertin couldn't have taken the crown in a
more exciting fashion. The redshirt sophomore,
seeded sixth in the tournament, upset the Nos. 2
and 3 seeds to reach No. 9 Alex Tirapelle from
Illinois in the finals. The Fighting Illini fresh-
man had upset defending national champion
Luke Becker of Minnesota in the semifinals.
"I knew (Tirapelle) was having a good tour-
nament, but I felt like I was really in a good
rhythm," Bertin said. "I've wrestled him before,

so I was confident that if I wrestled seven min-
utes the way I wanted to, that I would win, and
that's what happened."
Tirapelle beat Bertin earlier in the season, but
the Wolverine avenged that loss at the Big Ten
Championships. This time around, their match-
up would be in a larger venue, with much more
on the line. In front of 16,436 fans at Kemper
Arena, the two unlikely national finalists
stepped out on the mat.
Seconds into the match, Bertin made the first
move, attacking with a single leg. Tirapelle
quickly countered with a whizzer, tying up
Bertin's arm. The referee called a stalemate, and
both wrestlers walked back to the center of the
mat.
Tirapelle attacked with a single leg and Bertin
sprawled on top of him. The Michigan 157-
pounder spun behind and scored the first take-
down of the national final match. Bertin added a
second takedown in the middle of the second
period, firing a double leg that the Illini wrestler
couldn't defend.

Bertin secured the match in the third period,
with a quick single-leg takedown. When the
buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 7-3 in
favor of Bertin. Normally a quiet and reserved
young man, Bertin couldn't contain his emo-
tions, falling to the mat and breaking down in
tears.
See BERTIN, Page 6B
THE BERTIN WALL
Ryan Bertin was difficult to bring down Satur-
day, as he became Michigan's first individual
wrestling champion since Kirk Trost in 1986.
Here's a look at his push for the title. For
extended wrestling coverage, turn to page 68.
Round 1- pins Robert Beville (2:01)
Round 2- dec. No. 11 Nate Wachter, 6-2
Quarterfinals - dec. No. 3 Shane Roller, 3.1
Semifinals - dec. No. 2 Keaton Anderson, 5-4
Finals - dec. No. 9 Alex Tirapelle (Illinois), 7-3

AP PHOTO
Michigan's Ryan Bertin beat Illinois' Alex Tirapelle 7-3 in the 157-pound championship match this
Saturday In Kansas City, Mo. to become Michigan's first Individual national champion in 17 years.

Michigan's

super

six

Icers follow captain
Ortmeyer's lead,
step up in tourney
DETROIT - Michigan coach Red Berenson told
Michael Woodford he needed him to play like Jed
Ortmeyer Saturday.
What did that mean? It meant elevating his game in the
playoffs. It meant finding a way to score. It meant being
there when his team needed a spark. And it meant lifting a
trophy when it was all over.
Ortmeyer, the Wolverines' captain, did all those things
against Ferris State. But just as
importantly, Woodford did as well.
Ortmeyer scored twice and
showed why he was named the
CCHA's Best Defensive Forward.
He also walked away with CCHA
Tournament Most Valuable Player
honors. His first goal broke a 1-1
tie in the second period, giving COURTNEY
Michigan the momentum it needed LEWIS
to stay on top for good. And when
Ferris State's Chris Kunitz decked Full Court Press
Dwight Helminen after Helminen
scored an empty-netter to ensure Michigan's victory, Ort-
meyer was the first guy to rush to Helminen's defense.
But Ortmeyer's performance alone wouldn't have been
enough to give Michigan its sixth CCHA Tournament title
in 10 years. Michigan needed guys like Woodford to step
up just as Ortmeyer did.
Woodford hadn't found the net in almost two months,
and Berenson said, "If you would have told me he would
score the winning goal, I probably would have questioned
you."
Being Michael Woodford wasn't working all that well, so
the sophomore forward took Berenson's advice and gave
being Jed Ortmeyer a try. With Ferris State within one
goal, and threatening to send the Wolverines into one of
those third-period collapses that have been all too familiar
with, Woodford broke his goal drought and gave Michigan
a cushion big enough to hold off the Bulldogs' super-
charged offense. When Ferris State's Matt York scored later
in the period, Woodford's goal became the difference.
"If your top guys are playing well, then everybody plays
well," Berenson said. "The seniors set the tone, and I think
the young players responded."
The whole team responded to Ortmeyer and the rest of
the leaders, playing much different games than when
Michigan faced Ferris State and Ohio State in the regular
season. The last time the Wolverines played the Bulldogs
(Feb. 1 in Big Rapids), Ferris State blitzed Michigan for
four goals before the Wolverines had finished lacing their
skates. This time, Michigan came ready to play from the
start, and it played lockdown team defense, holding Hobey
Baker candidate and CCHA leading-scorer Kunitz to just
two shots on goal.
See LEWIS, Page 5B6

photos by TONY DING and RYAN WIENER,
Every Wolverine, including coach Red Berenson, joined the celebration Saturday night after Michigan beat Ferris State 5& to win its second-straight CCHA Tournament title.

Wolverines win sixth CCH

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
DETROIT - The score was 4-3. Ferris State was
down by one. Less than 29 seconds left. Michigan failed
to clear the neutral zone as Ferris
State's Derek Nesbitt knocked _ER____$TATE___
down an airborne puck and began
to skate in uncontested from the blueline.
The third-largest crowd in CCHA Tournament history

rose to its feet, as it would be Nesbitt versus Michigan
goaltender Al Montoya for the CCHA Title. Then, as if
being spit up by the ice, a yellow streak crashed into Nes-
bitt's stick, knocking the puck away and bringing the
Mason Cup back to Ann Arbor for another year.
Junior defenseman Andy Burnes was that yellow
streak, and a ray of sunshine for Montoya and the
Wolverines' faithful.
"(Eric) Nystrom had the puck, and he backhanded it,
and both Rogers and I thought it went down," Burnes said.

playoff title
"We were looking down ahead of the ice - we'd thought
he'd iced it. Then we saw the puck coming down on a
breakaway, and obviously that's the scariest thing ever,
coming down with 20 seconds left. I just dove and tried to
knock the puck away, and just not let him get a shot off."
Montoya said of Burnes' lunge: "You can't teach
something like that. It's not skill, it's just hard work and
will. It's just something that Andy Burnes thrives off of,
and when you see a player like that do something that
See BULLDOGS, Page 4B

Brackets busted all over campus; students no better than Andy Katz

There are a lot of people out there who profess turing some of Bristol University's best, Katz is
to know a lot about college bas- inlast place.
ketball. The mistake many of Not only that, but Katz is in
those people make is assuming the bottom 4 percent of the
that this knowledge will somehow nation. Still, all is not lost for
transfer into successful NCAA the prodigy, who does have all
Tournament brackets. In the end, t of his final four teams still in
this false confidence only causes the tournament. But that isn't
them to drop like canaries in a tough to do when you affirm
poisoned coal mine. the NCAA selection commit-
And there is no poster child tee's decision by predicting all
better for this epidemic better of the No. 1 seeds to advance
than .SPN'sAndy Katz. The ana- to the Final Four.

time to dedicate to his college basketball studies,
he was able to correctly pick each of the 32 first
round matchups in the MichiganDailycom/Pizza
House Challenge. Unfortunately for Anderson,
Louisville fell victim to Butler's Lee Harvey
Oswald-like sharp shooting.
Anderson isn't the only one cursing Rick Piti-
no's luck. Illinois apparently impressed a lot of
people in Ann Arbor with its two wins over
Michigan and its capturing of the Big Ten title.
Unfortunately, the Illini couldn't sober the Fight-
ing Irish - who were a missed layup away from
falling to Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Friday night.

babies as it tore up their brackets when it sent
No. 2 Wake Forest back to North Carolina. Flori-
da didn't do much more do prove themselves
worthy of its No. 2 seed by getting beaten up by
Michigan State.
And as bad as Katz is doing in his poll, The
Michigan Daily was able to find worse. Doug
Constantine, an engineer from Portage who man-
aged to one-up Katz in the first round by picking
21 games right, showed his Big Ten pride when
he picked Illinois, Purdue and Wisconsin to
make it to the Final Four.
And while this pride in his hometown confer-

could beat No. 1 Oklahoma or that No. 9 Gonza-
ga could topple No. 1 Arizona is ludicrous. Fur-
ther, after four days of basketball, Constantine
only has two teams (Kansas and Wisconsin)
remaining in the tournament - all but guaran-
teeing a last-place finish. Either Constantine was
letting his dog pick his teams or he was trying to
throw the pool worse than the 1918 White Sox.
So, if like Constantine, you find yourself as far
from winning your pool as the Tigers are from
winning the 2003 World Series, there is only one
thing that they should do - sit back, relax and
allow yourself to go crazy when Drew Nicholas

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