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November 12, 2002 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-12

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Championship berth on the
line for No. 18 Michigan
MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY WEST LAFAYETTE

By Daniel Bremmer
Daily Sports Writer
Coming off a strong showing two weeks ago
at the Big Ten Championships at Purdue, the
Michigan men's cross country team will travel
back to West Lafayette this weekend with the
hopes of securing a berth in the NCAA Cham-

Wisconsin - which won the Big Ten Champi-
onships - and Eastern Michigan are the
favorites to win the Regional race and receive
the automatic berths. Michigan coach Ron
Warhurst figures four or five teams from the
Great Lakes region will receive at-large bids.
"I think (we will get an NCAA bid) if we're in
the top five for sure," Warhurst said. "but sixth

pionships. ~
This weekend's NCAA Great
Lakes Regional will give the 18th-
ranked Wolverines the chance to earn
an automatic berth by finishing in
the top two. But don't expect this to
come easy for Michigan.
At the Big Ten Championships, the
Wolverines finished third, narrowly
missing second place by one point.
The Great Lakes Regional will fea-
ture the same strong field as the con-
ference meet - including such Big

" .
WEST LAFAYETTE
Who: No. 18 Michigan at
NCAA Great Lakes Regional
When: 13:30 p.m.
Latest: After a strong show-
ing in the Big Ten Champi-
onships, the Wolverines
look for an automatic
NCAA bid with a win at the
regionals.

will give us a real good shot."
In looking ahead to this weekend,
Warhurst believes his runners need to
come out with more intensity than
they did their last time out, especially
in the middle of the pack.
"We're not worrying about the Big
Tens anymore," Warhurst said. "We're
on to the District Championships, and
we've got to get a little tougher at
positions three, four, five, six and
seven."
The NCAA Championships will

BRENDAN O'DONNELL/Daily
Michigan was a disappointment in the NCAA Championships, placing ninth last year with star Andy Hrovat. Without him, it looks to avenge finish.
Wrestlers looking for redemption

Ten powerhouses as No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 17
Ohio State, combined with highly regarded Mid-
American Conference schools like No. 7 Eastern
Michigan and No. 9 Central Michigan. No. 21
Butler also joins the field at the Regionals and
should add to the strong field of competition.
The NCAA issues two automatic berths to
each of the top nine districts nationally. In addi-
tion, 13 at-large bids will also be handed out.

take place on Nov. 25 in Terre Haute, but
Warhurst is hesitant to look toward the end of the
season at this point in time.
"The goal is to qualify. Once we do that, we'll
re-establish (our goals)," Warhurst said. "You
have to take it one step at a time. It's like the
guys in football looking past Wisconsin for the
big one against Ohio State. You can't do that.
You've got to play the game today."

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer

Momentum carrylng harriers
WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY WEST LAFAYETTE

By Mustafizur Choudhury
Daily Sports Writer
After the Michigan women's cross country team
captured the Big Ten title at Purdue two weeks ago,
the team has leapfrogged through the rankings,
moving from No. 24 to No. 12 in the nation. Mem-

earn the prestigious honor.
"Rebecca's been the most consistent runner in
our lineup," McGuire said. "Her ability to compete
is not something that you'd necessarily expect from
a freshman."
Walter and junior Lindsey Gallo were both
named to the All-Big Ten first team. It was Gallo's

bers of the team have also been
rewarded for their contribution to the
Wolverines' success.
Recently, Michigan coach Mike
McGuire was named Big Ten Coach
of the Year, after leading the team to its
fourth Big Ten Championship in the
past 10 years. This is the fourth time
McGuire has been honored with the
award. The others came in succession,
when the Wolverines won three con-
secutive titles from 1992-'94.
"It's definitely an honor," McGuire
said. "It's a (result) of what we did at1

WEST LAFAYETTE
What: No. 12 Michigan at
NCAA Great Lakes Regional
When: 11 a.m.
Latest: After leading
Michigan to its fourth Big
Ten title in 10 years,
coach Mike McGuire was
named Big Ten Coach of
the Year.

second consecutive time earning the
honor. Gallo followed Walter across
the finish line in seventh place with a
time of 17:49.
Michigan heads back to the same
course in West Lafayette this Saturday
to compete in the NCAA Great Lakes
Regional. Michigan will battle in a
region that boasts six of the top 30
teams in the nation, including No. 5
Notre Dame, No 19 Michigan State
and No. 20 Indiana.
"Depth has been our strength all

Five returning All-Americans. Preseason national title con-
tenders. Disappointing down the stretch. All three are perfectly
good descriptions of last year's Michigan wrestling team.
"I think we were banged up at the end of the year. Foley (Dowd)
and (Matt) Brink's knees were in bad shape at the end of the year,"
Michigan coach Joe McFarland said. "It was pretty obvious that
Brink wasn't 100 percent after he came back. Andy (Hrovat) was.
also having some problems with his back."
Led by seniors Otto Olson and Hrovat, Michigan looked impres-
sive through the entire season by beating wrestling powerhouses
like Iowa and Oklahoma and with Olson and Hrovat finishing the
regular season with No. I rankings in their respective weight class-
es.
With Michigan ranked second behind seemingly unbeatable
Minnesota, expectations were high for the postseason. But results
were mediocre at best. The Wolverines took third at the Big Ten
Tournament and a dismal ninth at the NCAA Championships.
"I think a lot of us were burned out toward the end of last year"
said Michigan 157/165-pounder Mike Kulczycki. "I think we might
have peaked too early too."
With a disappointing season behind them, the Wolverines,
ranked seventh in Wrestling International Newsmagazine's
preseason poll, once again starts with a talented roster. Olson
and Hrovat are gone, but the Wolverines return All-Americans
Ryan Bertin and Kyle Smith, while also adding one of the
nation's finest recruiting classes.
"We have a real good team with a lot of experience. A lot of guys
have been to the national championships," Kulczycki said. "I think
we'll surprise some people this year."
Surprise is exactly what the Wolverines will have to do to make a
run at the Big Ten and national titles. Michigan - ranked in the top
three nationally most of last year - is not even ranked amongst the
top 3 in the conference in the latest preseason polls. Perennial pow-
erhouses No. 1 Minnesota and No. 3 Iowa, along with No. 6 Ohio
State are all ranked above Michigan in the WI.N. poll.
At 125 pounds, 2001 All-American A.J Grant should reclaim his
spot as Michigan's starter. With Fresno State's Stephen Abas gone,
125 is wide open this year, and anyone, including Grant, has a shot
at the national title.

Foley Dowd is likely to be Michigan's 133-pounder this sea-
son, and he hopes to rebound after a disappointing season last
year in one of the Big Ten's toughest weight classes. Dowd has
to battle 2002 NCAA finalist Ryan Lewis from Minnesota and
All-Americans Kevin Black and Cliff Moore from Wisconsin
and Iowa, respectively.
The weight classes from 141 to 165 are where Michigan has a
big mix-up this season. Redshirt freshman Ryan Churella and
Clark Forward were originally supposed to be the top contenders
for the 141 spot, but with Kulczycki - previously predicted to be
Michigan's 149-pounder - unable to make weight, Churella will
slide into the 149 spot, leaving Forward at 141. Forward struggled
with injuries last season, but should be a force in the Big Ten in a
wide-open 141-pound weight class. Churella is a great young talent
who should fill the 149-pound spot well.
A bigger Kulczycki will have to wrestle off Bertin for the spot at
157 pounds and the loser of that series will challenge senior Pat
Owen for the starting role at 165 pounds.
With Olson and Hrovat gone, some fresh faces will fill the 174-
and 184-pound spots in Michigan's roster. Redshirt freshmen R.J
Boudro and Willie Breyer are the top candidates to fill the two spots,
but each will have his hands full as both weight classes are extremely
deep this year in the Big Ten. Purdue's Ryan Lange (fifth place at
2002 Big Ten Championships), and Iowa's Tyler Nixt (Big Ten run-
ner-up) return at 174-pounds, while All-American's Damion Hahn
from Minnesota and Jessman Smith from Iowa are back at 184.
Smith is Michigan's best hope for a national champion. With
wrestling icon Cael Sanderson gone from Iowa State, Smith,
Lehigh's Jon Trenge and Nebraska's Justin Ruiz (fifth place at 2002
NCAA championships) should be the top three national title con-
tenders at 197 pounds.
Redshirt freshman Greg Wagner should replace Matt Brink at
heavyweight. The class is stacked in the Big Ten this season with
the top three nationally ranked wrestlers - Ohio State's Tommy
Rowlands, Iowa's Steve Mocco and Minnesota's Garrett Lowney -
all hailing from Big Ten schools.
As the 2002-03 wrestling season kicks off around the country in
the coming weeks, Michigan hopes the combination of its seasoned
veterans and its impressive young talent will be enough to keep the
Wolverines among the elite.
"I think our whole team is excited and looking forward to the
season getting under way," McFarland said.

the Big Ten

Championships. We had some pretty good athletes
step up, and I owe a lot to the kids on my team."
Rebecca Walter was named Big Ten Freshman of'
the Year, as she was the first Wolverine and the first
freshman to cross the line, finishing in fifth place in
a time of 17:47. Walter is the sixth Wolverine to

season," McGuire said. "This meet, we can only run
seven athletes and it's (important) that they step up.
They've looked good in practice, and I think that
they'll represent the team quite well.
"We're in a very strong region, but we're looking
forward to the challenge. It'll be a good test for
everyone."

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We invite University of Michigan Juniors to a presentation about
Summer Internship Opportunities
Thursday, November 14, 2002
4:30pm
Davidson Hall - Room D1276

,M

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