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September 02, 2003 - Image 57

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The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2003 - 3E

The

Victors

'Four Wolverines zvhzNCAA

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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 stream-
ing from the eyes of his 157-pounder, Ryan
Bertin. On Saturday, Bertin became Michi-
gan's first NCAA Champion 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."
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 freshman had
upset defending national champion Luke
Becker of Minnesota in the semifinals.
"I knew (Tirapelle) was having a good
tournament, 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 minutes 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
takedown 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 peri-
od, 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 con-
tain his emotions, falling to the mat and
breaking down in tears.
"Ryan's a great a kid. He's a great stu-
dent-athlete" McFarland said. "He was real-
ly focused all weekend. He battled back this
year from a foot injury. This kid deserves
everything he got tonight because he works
so hard."
After shaking hands with Tirapelle, the
first person Bertin ran over to hug was
assistant coach Tony Robie.
"Coach Robie has worked really hard
with him," McFarland said. "He's spent a lot
of time with him, drilling with him, so he's
the guy who's done a great job."
Bertin finished third at Big Ten Champi-
onships after losing to Becker in the semi-
finals. With a six-seed in the bracket,
McFarland noted before the tournament
that he "liked where Bertin was in the
bracket." McFarland knew what he was
talking about.

Drew Digiore's NCAA championship vault scores set a new Michigan record, and helped lead the Wolverines
to a fouth-place finish at the event.
DiGiore sticks vault to win

By Julie Master
Daily Sports Writer

Michigan has another national champion on its
hands, and this time it's men's gymnastics freshman
Drew DiGiore. Previously, DiGiore broke the vault
record at the prelims and finals of the Big Ten
Championships. Yesterday, the Buffalo, N.Y. native
broke the record once again while sticking his best
vault of the season, a two-and-a-half twisting vault,
at the Individual Event Finals of the NCAA Cham-
pionships in Philadelphia.
"It felt amazing," DiGiore said. "I never really
thought it would happen. But as the year went by,
I started getting more and more confidence and
having Big Tens under my belt definitely helped."
With this confidence, the No. 5 Wolverines
clinched a fourth-place finish for the third straight
year on their three-day quest for the NCAA Cham-
pionship title. Michigan recorded their season high
two best team scores by more than 2.5 points; a
217.950 the first day and a 217.850 the second.
"This is what we were gearing for, a peak per-
.formance," Michigan coach Kurt Golder said. "To
have a season high is a big jump in our sport and to
come back the next day and be within a tenth of that
score is great."
The Wolverines competed in the National Quali-
fier, which consisted of two groups of six teams that
'needed to finish in the top three of their respective
groups to move on to the final. Fifth-year senior and
captain Scott Vetere led the Wolverines by placing
in the top 10 in three events on the way to his run-
'ner-up all-around finish. On pommel horse, Vetere
raked in the highest score of the night and a Michi-
gan season best with a 9.500. He also had a top
'individual performance for the season with a 9.175
,on the parallel bars.
"I was happy about my performance," Vetere

said. "I live just about 45 minutes outside of
Philadelphia so I had a lot of family there.
Hearing people cheer for me brought up my
confidence."
Other standout performances of the night came
from sophomore Geoff Corrigan and freshman
Gerry Signorelli. The pair posted Michigan's best
score on the horizontal bar with a 9.300. This was
good enough for a fifth-place tie and matched the
season high for the team. Senior Brian Peterson also
posted his highest score of the season on pommel
horse with a 9.300. With these combined efforts, the
Wolverines advanced to the finals in second place
out of six teams.
On Saturday, Michigan was the only school that
had three people in the top ten of the all-around
event. Vetere placed third, and freshmen Justin
Laury and Gerry Signorelli grabbed top ten finish-
es as well, making them the two highest placing
freshmen.
At the end of the night the Wolverines walked
away with their fourth-place finish behind repeat
champion Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Big Ten
champion Penn State. After the night's events, the
Wolverines were able to send top-eight finishers
Vetere (on the pommel horse), freshman Andrew
DiGiore (on vault), and senior Conan Parzuchows-
ki (on the still rings) to the Individual Event Finals
on Sunday.
Even though only one national champion came
out of the event finals, Vetere and Parzuchowski
showed strong performances and finished in fifth-
place on their events. It was an amazing weekend
for the Wolverines and they were proud to finish on
a strong note.
"This season was a lot better than last year,"
Golder said. "Although we placed the same, we had
a better and smoother championship. Now there's
just a release that the seasons over."

Brannen races to finish first in 800

By Nicole Stanton
Daily Sports Writer
About 20 members of the Michigan men's
track and field team made the 870-mile trip
to Fayetteville, Ark. for the NCAA Champi-
onships. None of them were even compet-
ing. But there was definitely something to
watch.
At least according to freshman Joe
Schramski.
"We're taking four cars and about 20 guys -
it's going to be awesome," Schramski said
earlier last week. "We're going to be national
champions and definitely bring back some
good stuff."
Michigan track runners seem to be on the ball
when it comes to predictions, because Schramski
was right - they definitely brought back some
good stuff.
On Friday in the 800-meter run preliminar-
ies, sophomore Nate Brannen earned fourth
place behind an Arkansas rival, with times of
1:47.98 and 1:47.90, respectively - but that
was not enough for Brannen.
On Saturday, Brannen won the 800-meter
run with a time of 1:47.79, nearly blowing
Auburn University senior Fred Sharpe off the
track.
"It was awesome," Schramski said. "He just
killed guys on the last 75 yards. We went nuts."

Michigan has not seen a national champi-
onship in indoor track since 1998 when Kevin
Sullivan won the indoor mile. And now Bran-
nen holds the 800-meter run school indoor and
outdoor records.
"It's an amazing feeling," Brannen said.
"Two of my goals have been to make the
Olympics and win a championship - to win as
a sophomore is more than I have asked for. I
cried with my parents"
Not only did Brannen win it, but he left
Otukile Lekote of South Carolina - the two
year reigning national champion - dangling
in seventh place.
"It is amazing to see one of your team-
mates win something so great," sophomore
Seth Waits said. "We were jumping up and
down."
Brannen has had an amazing indoor sea-
son, and when asked to reflect on how he felt
about it, he expressed how happy it went. He
had several small, nagging injuries that put a
slight hamper on his training, but managed to
keep his strength and confidence up.
In addition, Brannen put high praise on his
teammates' encouragement and camaraderie.
"The unique thing about our team is how
close we all are -sas a whole we are pretty
tight, and that has helped us perform well.
Also, I think real highly of Ron as a person
and a coach."

Nate Brannen became the NCAA
indoor champion in the 800-meter run
this past March.

Coben wins NCAA title in a squeaker
By Waldemar Centeno Following his first three dives, Coben sat in sec-
Daily Sports Writer ond place behind Garcia, who scored very high in
earlier rounds
Junior diver Jason Coben's performance helped But Garcia's substandard third dive left the cham-
push the Michigan men's swimming and diving team pionship open for Coben to seize. Under pressure,
to a ninth-place finish in the NCAA Championships Coben took over the lead on his fourth dive.
in Austin, Texas. "I guess I like the pressure," Coben said. "When I
Coben became the first Wolverine to capture a was up there for the last dive, I knew I needed
national title on platform diving by scoring a total of eight's and eight-and-a-half's to win all the way
575.8, tying him with Auburn's Caesar Garcia. The through. Coming into the meet, I didn't think I had a
last time a Michigan diver won an NCAA title was chance to win, I just knew those were the scores I
in 1984, when Kent Ferguson scored a 560.85 to was going to need. In the finals, everything just
win the three-meter springboard. started to click. When Caesar (Garcia) missed his
"His performance was really good," first-year back, I knew all I needed to do was hit my dive and
Michigan diving coach Chris Bergere said. "I knew I had a shot, and I did it."
he could do it, and he just needed chance to break Coben proceeded to nail his final dive, which put
through. Competing with the best people in the him 76.5 points up on Garcia. However, Garcia
country is an excellent way to raise the bar. Coben scored exactly a 76.5 to place both him and Coben
was nice and consistent." as national champions.
After scoring 500.00 during the preliminary TONY DING/Daily "It was amazing," Coben said. "I was sweating
rounds, Coben was faced with an eighth-place start. Jason Coben, 2003 NCAA platform diving champion. bullets the whole time."

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