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April 04, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-04

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 4, 2003

'M' prepares for
crack at Iowa
By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Writer
The last two years, the Michigan hockey team won
the CCHA Championship and qualified for the NCAA
Tournament. Since its home, Yost Ice Arena, happened
to be hosting the Midwest Regional, it was given an
enormous advantage. The Wolverines made sure to
capitalize on their good fortune by reaching the Frozen
Four both seasons.
Michigan's softball team has enjoyed a similar
advantage the last two years, but with one difference:
In order to host the Big Ten
Tournament, they have had to
earn it by winning the Big Ten T*US WEKEND
regular season title. a vs.
The Wolverines have fin- rowa
ished first in the Big Ten the 3 p .
last two years, before finishing l f.
second in the Big Ten Tourna-
ment two years ago and win- A :. :<i>:::.:<
ning it last year.
The players realize the benefits of hosting the Big Ten
Tournament, and are focused doing it again.
"We don't want to lose any of our Big Ten games,"
freshman third baseman Grace Leutele said. "One of our
goals is to tear it up in the Big Ten."
The Wolverines (3-1 Big Ten, 21-8 overall), winners of
five straight, will get a crack at one of the few teams hotter
than themselves today and tomorrow in Iowa (4-0, 25-7).
Before losing to Northern Iowa in the bottom of the
seventh inning Tuesday, Iowa had won nine in a row
and 23-of-24. The Hawkeyes are led by their middle
infielders, shortstop Kristin Johnson and second base-
man Christina Schmaltz, who have combined for 73
hits, 44 RBIs and 40 runs. Michigan will face a pair of
tough hurlers this weekend in Lisa Birocci and Ali
Arnold. The two are a combined 24-7, and both boast
ERAs around one.
Michigan has been at its best lately, and it obviously

Simms steps closer to postseason goal

By Mustafizur Choudhury
Daily Sports Writer
Junior Vera Simms is taking steady
strides toward her postseason goal of
claiming the Big Ten title in the 400-
meter hurdles. Simms was recently
named Big Ten Athlete of the Week
(March 24) for her remarkable per-
formance on the track in the Florida
State Relays. At the non-scoring meet,
she set a new school record with a time
of 58:43, breaking her previous person-
al-best time of 58:50.
"I was coming off of a good indoor
season, so I expected to run well,"
Simms said. "Hopefully, I can stay
healthy and keep improving."
Her performance was good enough
to earn her a first-place finish and a trip
UNDER gWOOD
Continued from Page 9

to the NCAA regional qualifying meet
in Columbus.
"I was pleasantly surprised," Michi-
gan coach James Henry said. "It wasn't
expected. She's never run that fast
before. She's well ahead of where she
was last year."
Simms, the defending Big Ten cham-
pion in the hurdles, admits that her
form needs to improve. She plans to
work out the kinks in time for the post-
season, when she hopes to help the
Wolverines defend their Big Ten title
and complete the season sweep of cross
country and indoor and outdoor track
and field.
"I hope I can do as well as last year or
better," Simms said. "It's a goal of mine
to go to the NCAA Championships."
After a week off, Simms and the

Wolverines will be back in action
tomorrow at the Yellow Jacket Invita-
tional in Atlanta. Michigan will face
strong competition from a number of
Southern teams, including host Georgia
Tech, Alabama and Florida State. The
non-scoring meet will help the Wolver-
ines improve and make adjustments for
Big Ten competition. These early season
meets provide the younger athletes with
experience and a chance to develop their
skills. At the same time, veterans like
senior captain April Phillips try to use
these "low pressure" meets to prepare
for the postseason and earn qualifying
marks for the NCAA Championships.
"The competition will be as good as
it was, if not better, at the Florida State
Relays," Henry said. "We want to have
a good contest and improve."

S'T 'LOE/Daiy
The Michigan softball team will have its hands full as it gets
ready to face the Hawkeyes this weekend.
needs to be on top of its game this weekend. The Wolver-
ines lost their Big Ten and home opener to Illinois Friday,
but their bats have come alive in the five games since then.
Leutele led Michigan to a doubleheader sweep over West-
ern Michigan Tuesday with three homers, and freshman
Jennie Ritter pitched a two-hit shutout in the second game.
Michigan has already suffered through not one, but two
doubleheaders in the cold this past week. With the weath-
er lousy once again, Hutchins has made sure the players
don't dwell on the elements.
"It's important that we realize we can't control the
weather," Hutchins said. "Can it play an effect? Our goal
is not to let it.
"You really have to give our kids credit. It's tough to
play when the body can't stay warm. I was proud of their
ability to stay'focused for such a long period of time. They
fought hard and came out on top in some close games."

What will Carr do if the field is still in shambles clos-
er to game time?
"We'll get (Detroit Lions' home) Ford Field and
open it up," Carr joked. "I'll call (Lions coach Steve)
Mariucci.

"If it gets bad, we just have to wait and see."
Michigan Associate Athletic Director Mike Stevenson,
who headed the search for a new artificial surface, is
expecting the game to be played at its scheduled time -
Saturday, April 12 at 11:30 a.m. - at the Big House.
"I'm optimistic that, unless we get some unusually
cold, wet weather between now and a few weeks, we'll
have it," Stevenson said.

01

Blue to run at Yellow Jacket Invite

By Benjamin Lawless
For the Daily
This weekend the Michigan men's
track team will be travel to Atlanta for
Georgia Tech's Yellow Jacket Invita-
tional. The team will com-
pete in a scored meet for
the first time this outdoor T .I
season.
Expectations for this
year's team are high com-
ing off the success of the <,
distance medley relay that r
took third at the NCAA.
Indoor Championships
and a strong showing at
the Florida State Relays two weekends
ago. While the Florida State Relays
were not scored and many runners par-
ticipated in multiple events, it was an
important tuneup for the team

"This season is all about coming
together at the Big Ten meet," said
sophomore Seth Waits. "We are finally
on the right track."
Waits, who will be exclusively run-
ning the 400-meter hurdles this outdoor

NEEKEN"D
a t teYellowiicirriz
ovgia Tech
more Nate

season, is "hoping to
place in the Big Ten meet,
and would like to make it
to the regional meet.'
"Hopefully I will be
able to run fast enough to
contribute,"Waits said.
Besides being a talent-
ed runner in his own
right, Waits has found that
running alongside sopho-
Brannen - the NCAA

"Every time you step on the track
you think about these world class guys
running their butts off," Waits said. "I
want them to feel like I am giving as
much of a contribution and commit-
ment as possible."
In addition, Waits believes that
Michigan's coach Ron Warhurst will be
crucial to their success.
"Being around a great coach like
(Warhurst) is great. You really respect
what he tells you and focus on the
advice he gives," Waits said.
On a team with so much young tal-
ent, the coach is even more important,
especially when nerves and inexperi-
ence come into play.
"It's great to be around someone
with that much experience," Waits
said. "You feel confident when you
go into races because of the plan he
has laid out."

WHOSE GOT NEXT?
Last week, the athletic department put together a screening committee for the next women's bas-
ketball coach. Here is a look at possible candidates that the committee, which consists of seven
members ranging from current players to academic administrators, could be looking at:
Current school: Wisconsin-Green Bay
Career Record: 373-161 WYf U11
Why he will be the next coach: A native of
Bessemer, Borseth pursued the job before
Sue Guevara became interim coach in 1996. In each of his five seasons,
Wisconsin-Green Bay has increased its win total. This year, the Phoenix won their
first NCAA Tournament game in the program's 30-year history. Also, Associate Athlet-
ic Director Megan McCallister hinted to the Green Bay Press-Gazette that Borseth
would be a candidate. Both will be attending the women's Final Four in Atlanta, but
McCallister declined comment on whether she will interview candidates there. Mandy
Stowe, who played under Guevara before transferring to Wisconsin-Green Bay, talked
to Borseth, 49, last week. She said he did not come out and say it, but she thinks he
is "definitely interested" in the head coaching position at Michigan. She added that, "If
he had the backing of a school like Michigan, it scares me what he could do."
Why he won't be the next coach: Borseth is in negotiation with Wisconsin-Green Bay
over a five-year contract. But the contract would allow him to leave and coach Michi-
gan even if he signed it.
Current school: None
Career Record: 319-136
Why s be the next coach: The ,
winningest coach in Southwest Missouri
State history resigned last year after 15 years as the Lady Bears' head
coach. Burnett, 44, led Southwest Missouri State to two Final Fours, including one in
2001, and is a high-profile coach that Michigan usually could not draw because of a
history of losing, poor facilities and low attendance.
Why she won't be the next coach: For these reasons, it might be hard to lure Burnett.
THE OTHERS
MAUU LM The current Toledo coach has made the NCAA Tournament four times in
his six seasons and has connections to Ohio, which is rich in talent. But Ehlen said
yesterday he has not been contacted by Michigan.
(l OIM: The Notre Dame associate coach was a Michigan assistant for two years and
will also be at the Final Four this weekend, but also said that she has not been contacted.

0'

indoor 800-meter run national champi-
on - and Nick Willis - Big Ten
Indoor Freshman of the Year - has
helped himself and his teammates.

9

IM

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