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November 07, 2003 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-07

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Friday
November 7, 2003
www.rmichigandaily. corn
sports@michigandaily.com

SORTS

7

Strugging Bulldogs
hope to 'right the ship'

Grapplers start season
with top four in mind

By Gennaro Filice
Daily Sports Writer
Ferris State was the most sur-
prising team in college hockey last
season. After finishing ninth place
in the CCHA in 2001-
02 with a conference
record of 12-15-1, the
Bulldogs tore through .
CCHA play with a 22- ...Mhig
5-1 record and earned '."
their first-ever CCHA mRe:7p
regular season cham- (inBigRa
pionship.
Early in this year's u e
campaign, Ferris State Yo'}>
has managed to stun
everyone once again -
albeit in a vastly different fashion.
In the first month of the season,
the Bulldogs have failed to live up to
lofty preseason expectations, stum-
bling out to a 2-6 record (1-5
CCHA).
"You combine the fact that our top
point producers are struggling to get
on the board and as a team we're not
playing very good defensively, and
that's a recipe for trouble," Ferris

.,...
Y

State coach Bob Daniels said. "Our
powerplay is pathetic."
Daniels feels that much of these
trials can be attributed to the team's
new look.
"We lost a lot of pretty good
players from a year ago,
and we've got a lot of
different roles to fill on
the team, and we have
at/ s some voids to fill,"
itate Daniels said. "So far
we've been kind of
ds,73e grappling with who's
vtYOst) going to do what."
SAre Michigan (3-1, 7-1)
e opens up a home-and-
home series tonight in
Big Rapids. In the
Wolverines' lone trip to Ferris State
last season, the Bulldogs prevailed
4-3. Although Ferris State's strug-
gles are well chronicled, Michigan
coach Red Berenson refuses to take
the Bulldogs lightly.
"If you go back, whether it was
two years ago, three years ago, or
four years ago, every year we've
gone into Ferris, it didn't matter
whether they were in fourth place or

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Michigan junior forward Eric Nystrom fights for position near the crease.

seventh place, they were a tough,
tough team to play in their build-
ing," Berenson said.
Berenson admits that his players
have not forgotten that Ferris State
took the CCHA regular season
championship last year.
"I don't think we walk around
thinking we owe them something,
but I think our team knows that we
respect them a lot more than maybe
we had in the past," Berenson said.
"I don't think it's revenge, it's more
respect that this is a new season, and
we have to prove that we can com-
pete with a team like that."
Michigan State dominated Ferris

State last weekend in East Lansing,
sweeping the Bulldogs 8-0, 4-2.
"Last weekend, we almost hit a
panic mode, and what happens is
everyone's out there trying to do too
much and consequently no one's
doing their job," Daniels said. "I
think we're beyond urgency at this
point, and we're in panic, and that's
not a very good mode to be in. If
anything we've got to come down a
little bit.
"I'd like to see some urgency, but
I don't want it to be urgency that
starts to panic, because as it goes
through that, then there's no way
you can right the ship."

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
The smell of mildew and sweat is in
the air. That could only mean one thing
- that wrestling season is on the hori-
zon. The No. 7 Michigan wrestling team
is hard at work at Crisler Arena trying to
improve on last year's sixth place finish
at the Big Ten Championships.
"I think one of our goals this year is
to have multiple national champions,"
Michigan coach Joe McFarland said.
"We want to be one of the top four
teams in the country."
The Wolverines graduated three All-
Americans last year in Kyle Smith,
Mike Kulczycki and A.J. Grant, but
have reloaded with a group of talented
freshman. Mark Moos (125 pounds),
Chase Metcalf (133), Nick Roy (174),
Josh Weitzel (184) and Chase Verdoorn
(197) are all in strong contention for
roles in McFarland's starting lineup.
"It's going to be interesting to watch
these freshman wrestle," Michigan sen-
ior Clark Forward said. "They always
surprise you."
If Metcalf hopes to have a starting
job, he may have the toughest road of
any freshman. Metcalf will have to
wrestle off Foley Dowd, who is ranked
as the preseason No. 7 by The Wrestling
Mall. Dowd was a national title con-
tender last season, but had his title run
cut short by a neck injury. After surgery
during the offseason, Dowd hopes to
battle back to the top of the rankings.
"I've been taking a break from com-
petition because of an injury, but my
conditioning is coming along pretty
well. Coach (McFarland) works us pret-
ty hard," Dowd said. "Last year I was
feeling a lot of stinging pain down my
right arm. This year there isn't much
stinging, but there is a lot of discomfort

in my arm, and it is kind of awkward
around my neck."
For the Wolverines to compete in the
Big Ten this season, they'll need
Dowd's practice partner - 141-
pounder Forward, to wrestle at his best.
Forward enters the season ranked ninth
in the country at his weight, but says
that he doesn't really dwell on the num-
bers too much.
"I don't really pay attention to the
rankings anymore because I decided
coming out of high school and
wrestling in the Big Ten, that every
week was going to be tough, and it is,"
Forward said.
Ryan Bertin, who became Michi-
gan's first NCAA champion since
1986, looks to repeat the feat at 157
pounds. The Big Ten competition has
significantly weakened in Bertin's
weight class this season, with both
Luke Becker of Minnesota and Keaton
Anderson of Ohio State graduating.
Michigan also returns sophomore
and preseason No. 5 Ryan Churella at
149 pounds. As a freshman, Churella
stunned some critics with his surprising
third-place finish at the Big Ten Cham-
pionships. Minnesota's Jared Lawrence
and Arizona State's Eric Larkin, last
year's NCAA finalists, have both grad-
uated, which makes Churella's weight
class a giant crapshoot this season. The
critics wouldn't be surprised to see
Churella wrestling his way to an indi-
vidual Big Ten title this year.
As for the Big Ten team title, it's
pretty much up for grabs this season.
There are five Big Ten teams ranked in
the top 10 including No. 3 Minnesota,
No. 5 Illinois, No. 6 Iowa, No. 7 Michi-
gan and No. 8 Penn State.
"The Big Ten is going to be a brawl
again," McFarland said. "It's always
been the best conference in wrestling"

Men's swimming to face back-to-back SEC tests

By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer

Imagine that instead of having a week off to rest up
and prepare for Northwestern, the Michigan football
team traveled to Norman, Okla., to do battle with the
unanimous top-ranked Sooners on Saturday. That's not
all. What if the Wolverines had to go to Austin, Texas,
the very next day to square off against a tough Long-
horns squad?
Impossible? Too ridiculous to believe?
Perhaps, but that is essentially the task for the No. 7
Michigan men's swimming and diving team. The
Wolverines will journey to Opelika, Ala., for a dual
meet today against the No. 1 Auburn Tigers before
continuing on to Athens, Ga., to challenge the tenth-
ranked Georgia Bulldogs tomorrow. As if the road
south wasn't treacherous enough, the team is dealing
with what appears to be the flu.
"We have the toughest schedule in the country,"

Michigan men's swimming coach Jon Urbanchek
said. "We try to schedule five or six top-10 teams to
give us strength and extremely valuable experience
(for the big meets) at the end of the year."
The team has been training hard behind senior cap-
tain Dan Ketchum, who is confident heading into this
weekend.
"We've been keeping our focus for the whole
month," Ketchum said. "We took down number-one
Texas last year, so (beating Auburn) is definitely not
out of reach. Knowing we can do it and have done it
before makes a big difference. We just need to keep
that in mind."
Urbanchek sees the early season as a time to nail
down basic techniques and get into a good routine.
"(At this point), the emphasis is on getting good
strategy, learning how to race and gaining experience
for down the road," he said. "Both teams are tired
from heavy training."
An unexpected flu bug has not helped. It kept soph-

omore Peter Vanderkaay out of last weekend's dramat-
ic win against No. 6 Florida and has reared its ugly
head in four other swimmers.
"At least we can get it out of the way early,"
Urbanchek said. "We can't put the swimmers in a
bubble."
That is not to say that the team has avoided precau-
tionary measures.
"The whole team had flu shots about two weeks
ago and take Vitamin C three times a day" Urbanchek
said. "The swimmers' resistance to this kind of thing
is often very low because of the time commitment of
training and the fact that they are spending four hours
a day in the water"
But the experience-laden Wolverines know what
to expect from their trip south.
"Auburn is genuinely the best team in the country,"
Urbanchek said. "They are loaded with world-class
athletes, and we're looking forward to the challenge.
They have a lot of Olympic potential, (like Michigan)."

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