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October 24, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-24

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Blue ready
to defend
Big Ten title
By Matt Silver
For the Daily
After capturing 12 of the last 20 Big
Ten titles and top-10 finishes in 14 of
the last 16 NCAA championships, it
would seem reasonable for even the
most powerful of athletic dynasties to
descend into the doldrums of compla-
cency. Such was hardly the case, how-
ever, with coach Jon Urbanchek's
men's swimming team.
The Wolverines continued to grind
out laps well into early Tuesday
evening, as if they were approaching
their season with something to prove
- seemingly unaware of their leader's
.869 winning percentage over his stel-
lar 20-year career in Ann Arbor.
Coming off a 2002-03 campaign in
which they won their 12th Big Ten
championship under Urbanchek and
turned in a ninth-place finish at the
NCAA Championships in Austin,
Texas, the Wolverines will face one
of the toughest schedules in the
nation.
With home dates against some of
the nation's perennial powerhouses,
including a Halloween showdown
against Florida and nonconference
dual meets with Stanford (Jan. 9-10)
and NCAA runner-up Texas (Nov. 14-
15), the Wolverines are sure to have
Canham Natatorium rocking, as
they'll seek vengeance against three
teams that placed ahead of them at
NCAAs.
Away from the friendly confines of
Canham, Michigan will face the other
two members of last season's final
top-five, with dates against Georgia
and defending National Champion
Auburn, which the Wolverines meet
for the first time in a dual meet.
And, as always, they'll have no
cakewalk through the Big Ten, taking
on proven opponents in Purdue, Indi-
ana and Northwestern. But, with just
four conference losses under
Urbanchek in the previous 20 seasons,
it seems only fair to expect perfection.
Despite losing both co-captains
from a year ago in Jeff Hopwood
and Heath Novak, along with the
leadership of Garrett Mangieri and
Tony Kurth, the expectations for this
year's squad remain high in the eyes
of associate head coach and two-
time Olympic silver medalist Eric
Namesnik.
Affectionately referred to as "Snik"
by team members, he believes that the
leadership of captain and former
Michigan Athlete of the Year Dan
Ketchum, alongside the restof the
upperclassmen, will guide the team in
the direction of its ultimate goals.
According to Namesnik, these include
a repeat performance of the Wolver-
ines' Big Ten title run from a year ago
and a top-seven finish at the national
championships.
Yet another factor that promises to
make this season even more intriguing
is the upcoming summer Olympics,
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The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 24, 2003 - 9A
Fall just warmup for 'M' rowers

By Robert Herrera
For the Daily
The Head of the Charles drew almost 300,000 people to
Cambridge, Mass. last Saturday - almost three times the
crowd at the Big House. Sure, Michigan seniors Katie
Reynolds and Heather Mandoli enjoyed their time at the
Head (as the race is known), in fact, the Wolverines placed
ninth overall in the women's eight race. But these two feel it
is much more exciting to row for Michigan in the spring.
The fall season is not as competitive, and results in the
races are not as important as they would be in the spring.
The regattas are more of a way for the team to work on its
technique and have fun. It's a practice season in which the
team gets to jell and work to be in sync for the spring sea-
son.
This Saturday, the Wolverines get another chance to prac-
tice their technique at the Head of the Elk in Elkhart, Ind.
When the races do count, Reynolds and Mandoli are
more than excited for it. Last season, they led Michigan to
a Big Ten title, and both earned second-team All-Big Ten
and Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association All-Central
Region.
As two of only six seniors in a squad of 35, their focus
this fall is to lead by example, work hard, have a positive
attitude and have fun at the same time.
"Since it is my last year, I would love to defend the Big

Ten championship and finish my college career as national
champions," Reynolds said.
"I'm looking for my best year at Michigan. It's been an
amazing experience so far," Mandoli agreed.
That national championship run has to begin with waking
up for 5:45 a.m. practice. The motivation behind doing it
everyday for four years is the satisfaction of having done so
much, so early before anyone else wakes up. Thirty-three
other girls heartily agree, creating an instant friendship
between them. That is important in order to succeed - all
eight women need to trust each other all the way to the fin-
ish line.
The coaching staff has also been there for support.
Reynolds and Mandoli consider coaches Mark Rothstein
and Emily Ford to be friends they can talk to about any-
thing. Mandoli considers Michigan a second home, almost
forgetting that she's from Canada, and the coaching staff has
helped both of them cope with missing their family. Both
girls attribute their success to the staff.
"Both Mark and Emily are amazing," Mandoli said, "We
have an amazing team of coaches. This is the best coaching
staff of any team in the nation."
After graduating from Michigan, both plan on moving to
London, Ontario, together and attending grad school at
Western Ontario University. There they will continue row-
ing and attempt to earn a spot on the Canadian National
Team and qualify for the 2008 Olympics.

Senior Dan Ketchum glides across the water like he's done so many times in his
Michigan career.

for which Namesnik hopes that a
number of Wolverines will qualify,
following in his footsteps of greatness
on the international stage.
"There have been about seven or
eight guys representing the U.S. and
Canada in individual competition,"
said Namesnik about the international
experience of the Wolverines.
In addition, this year's team will
face opponents who have proven
themselves on the international level,
most notably the trio of Aaron Peirsol,
Ian Crocker and Brendan Hansen
from Texas, who comprised three of

the four legs of a gold-medal-winning
relay team in 2000.
That being said, Namesnik is very
excited about facing such worthy
competition.
"Most don't know that there are as
many high-level athletes here as any-
where around," said Namesnik, with
the hope that the Michigan faithful
will show up at Canham to take part in
what promises to be a season full of
athletic spectacle.
The road to the NCAA Champi-
onships begins tonight with a home
contest against Eastern Michigan.

East Lansing this weekend for the ITA fy for the ITA National Champi-
Midwest Regional Championships. onship, which will be held in Ann
Continued from Page 8A Teams from across the Big Ten and the Arbor on Nov. 6-9.
admirably displayed pride and confi- Midwest region will go head to head Michael Rubin is the seeded Wolver-
dence for his squad. for claims at a spot in college tennis' ine going into this weekend's competi-
"I expect big things from Michi- individual "Big Dance" tournament. tion, but any player in the main draw of
gan," Jackson said. "We will do well." The winners and runners-up singlet competition, including Jackson, has a
Jackson leads his Wolverines into and doubles in this tournament quali- possibility to go deep in the tournament.

_...._

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