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November 17, 2003 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-17

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 17, 2003 - 7B

Fun all in the family
for Michigan stickers

'M' harriers just short
of Regional victory

By Megan Kolodgy
Daily Sports Writer
Fronzoni, father of field hockey cap-
tain April Fronzoni, wearing a press
pass? He's a parent, not a member of
the media. He has all the access he
wants as far as talking to players is
concerned. So what's the deal?
The answer provides a characteri-
zation of a group of parents that have
made themselves an integral part of
Michigan field hockey.
At the Wolverines' regular season
game against Michigan State, John
Fronzoni wandered over to a side of
the field on which spectators were
not allowed. He did not realize that
this area was prohibited, and was not
anticipating any trouble. Much to his
surprise, an official came over to him
and demanded that he move. When
he expressed confusion, the official
threatened to eject him from the
Like their talented children, the
field hockey parents always look to
capitalize on opportunities. Not scor-

ing opportunities, but chances to
make one another laugh.
"We made that press pass for him,"
Joann Hillman, mother of sophomore
Lori Hillman, said. "He was also
given a book on how to win friends
and influence people."
This tight-knit group from across
the United States rallies at the site of
Michigan's games week after week,
season after season. Spending so
much time together has allowed them
to gel with coach Marcia Pankratz's
vision of her program.
"When we first got recruited... one
of the things Marcia said to us, I'll
never forget it ... was 'We just want
you to know that one of the things we
pride ourselves on is creating a fami-
ly,' " John Fronzoni said. "She said,
'We really believe we have a good
hockey family here.' It is absolutely
true. From the first day, the senior
parents and upperclassmen parents
were so welcoming to us, and we've
tried to pass that tradition down."
At the end of yesterday's contest, it
was clear that the Michigan field
hockey family extends far beyond the

Senior forward April Fronzoni plays the ball yesterday while her father, John, and
the rest of the Wolverine faithful watch her stellar weekend.

grandstand. Parents immediately
picked up their phones and started
spreading the word about the Wolver-
ine victory. Shouts of "We're danc-
ing!" and "We're going to Amherst!"
resonated off the metal benches.
The sense of camaraderie within
the group is obvious. They cheer in
unison, they share inside jokes and
hang out with one another at games.
"We have a great time," Fronzoni
said. "We all went out last night.
There were 24 or 25 of us at some
Italian restaurant, and it was great."
Joann Hillman agrees wholeheart-
edly with her cohort.
"We are the best parents in this
country," Joann Hillman said. "We
have it all over every other college.
We're just a big family here at
Their dedication to their daugh-

ters is evident in their eagerness to
watch last weekend's games against
the North Carolina and Michigan
State in bitter cold and hail and
their constant vocal support. But a
particularly poignant way in which
they show their support is when
they wait for their daughters after
the game. At Michigan State, the
field is surrounded by a track,
which is fenced in.
The Wolverine parents stood by the
chain-link fence, their eyes aglow
with excitement from seeing a win
that would take their daughters to the
NCAA Field Hockey Championship.
When the players finally arrived, they
were bombarded by hugs and words
of congratulations.
"I never been on a team that has
had so much support," April Fronzoni

By Phil Kofahl
Daily Sports Writer
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - It's not
being cocky, it's being confident.
The No. 6 Michigan men's cross coun-
try team was very pleased with its run-
ner-up performance at the NCAA Great
Lakes Regional Championship in Terre
Haute, because the Wolverines earned it.
Since their season began in late Septem-
ber, they've pounded more than 1,200
miles and somehow have stayed healthy.
Their intense work ethic showed Satur-
day, as they cruised on the 10,000-meter
course, making their impressive perform-
ance look effortless. The second-place
finish earned the Wolverines an automat-
ic bid to the NCAA Championships in
Waterloo, Iowa.
The weather was in the upper-30s.
Steady mist dampened the course, but
couldn't do the same to the spirits of the
runners and fans who traveled from as
far as Wisconsin to compete and watch.
Gavin Thompson of Eastern Michi-
gan led from start to finish, finishing
more than 25 seconds ahead of anyone
else. Then there was the rest of the race.
The 223 other runners from the 36
participating schools ran in a dense
pack from the gun, with no person or
team wanting to make the first move.
The lead pack shortened down to about
40 runners half way through the race,
with the top four Michigan runners
staying side-by-side near the front.
"It was so awesome running with the
four of us through 5k, it was so
relaxed," junior Nate Brannen said
referring to the race's 5000-meter
halfway point. "We really didn't have to
do anything until about 7k. We pressed
a little bit from there, but it was so nice
having Tommy (Greenless), (Nick)
Stanko and (Nick) Willis there with me
the whole way."
When runners began to press after
eight kilometers, the Wolverines looked
as fresh as they did at the start. In the

last kilometer, Michigan was surging,
while the rest of the field was slumping.
Brannen led the surge and finished
fourth overall. Brannen was followed
closely by teammates Willis and Green-
less, who finished sixth and 10th,
Michigan was the only team to place
three runners in the top 10 and one of
two teams to place four in the top 20, an
impressive feat considering the Great
Lakes Region sends the most teams to
Nationals nearly every year.
Greenless couldn't have been happier
with the way his senior regional went.
"It felt real easy, we just ran real
comfortable as a team," Greenless said.
"The four of us just put it on cruise con-
trol. We were just trying to get through
... get into the top twenty."
Seniors Stanko and Alex L'Heureux
rounded out scoring for Michigan.
Stanko's 17th place finish was only four
seconds behind Greenless and the top
10. L'Heureux's finish of 39th wasn't
exactly what he was hoping for, but since
it was his first 10,000-meter race, he has
plenty of room for improvement.
L'Heureux didn't keep up with the lead
pack as long as he could, and he finished
with a little too much gas in the tank.
Despite the conservative pace set by
the pack and the runners themselves,
Greenless and Willis finished with per-
sonal bests. Greenless shaved 19 sec-
onds off his personal record, while
Stanko dropped 24 seconds off his best.
Coach Ron Warhurst's plan worked
perfectly for his team, even a little bet-
ter than he hoped.
"The plan was to get them out and in
the middle, and hold the position,"
Warhurst said. "I really didn't think that
they'd get out and running until 6,000
(kilometers), and everyone separated
and then there's a group of 20, and I'm
looking and there's our four. And then
our other three were back there a bit and
they hung on, and we had some big fin-
ishes from everybody."

'Defensive intensity key in WNIT


By Eric Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
When she needed them the most, they responded.
The crowd at Crisler Arena on Saturday after-
noon, welcomed first-year women's basketball
coach Cheryl Burnett with an intensity matched
only by her team's defense.
The Wolverines for-ced 22 turnovers and made key
steals down the stretch to defeat Miami (Ohio) 79-
68 in the first round of the Preseason Womens
National Invitational Tourna-
ment and their first win of theM I )
regular season.
With the score tied at 61, the
crowd rose to its feet in support, and the Wolverines
responded with a 9-0 run, attributable to increased
defensive pressure.
Michigan never trailed after that.
Seniors Stephanie Gandy and Jennifer Smith set
the tone for the Wolverines. The former scored 15
points in the first half, and the latter exploded in the
second period with 19 points and six rebounds.
But neither carried the team; instead it was a bevy
of effective individual performances at different
times that translated into victory.
Forward Niki Reams compensated for her lack of

scoring with excellent assists. Tabitha Pool's 5-of-18
shooting was forgotten each time she grabbed key
rebounds, and freshman starter Kelly Helvey's initial
foul trouble was a non-issue later in the game when
she nailed a clutch 3-pointer.
"We had different people in different times really
take charge of the game," Burnett said. "If we can
all kind of do it at the same time, that's our hope."
The Wolverines could apply strong defensive
pressure at the same time, enough to frustrate the
Redhawks (0-1) each time they took the lead.
Trailing 4-0 at the start, Pool and classmate Sierra
Hauser-Price completed identical plays, stealing the
ball at mid-court and converting the bucket in tran-
sition for Michigan's first four points of the season.
Miami jumped out 24-17 midway through the
first half because of its fast-paced offense, a scheme
the Wolverines never looked comfortable defending.
"I think we came in kind of too over-excited," said
Helvey of the Wolverines' start. "But we got it
together. (Burnett) told us to keep our intensity up
and play our defense. We pulled together in the mid-
dle of the game and kept the momentum on our
Able to slow down the pace of the game, the
Wolverines countered with a 21-6 run to close the
half, ignited by 3-pointers from reserves Mie Burlin

and Rachael Carney.
Up 38-30 at the half, the Wolverines had trouble
putting Miami away.
Capitalizing on an effective dribble-penetration
style of offense, the Redhawks began to score con-
sistently inside and outside, hitting four 3-pointers
- the last of which put them ahead 51-50.
The teams traded free-throws before the crowd
rose to its feet with 7:52 remaining.
"When it came time, we got some tremendous
defensive stops," Burnett said. "Some steals really
opened some things up for us. Our defensive pres-
sure made a difference."
Leading 70-65 with 2:10 remaining in the game,
Hauser-Price intercepted a pass near half-court and
took it the distance, sealing the victory for Michi-
With the win and a home attendance of 2,054,
Michigan will host Cincinnati in the second round
of the tournament tonight. The Wolverines earned
the right to host the match against the Bearcats
because the crowd at Crisler was larger than the
crowd in Cincinnati.
"Wear your tennis shoes and sweats to the game
on Monday," said Burnett in reference to the fans,
"because you can see we need that sixth player
called our fans to really help us get there."

Blue advances due to
second-place finish

By James V. Dowd
For the Daily

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - After build-
ing momentum with a victory at the
Big Ten Championships last week,
nothing could stop the Michigan
women's cross-country team from
achieving its goals at Saturday's
NCAA Great Lakes Regional.
"We had goals to finish in the top
two and clinch a bid to Nationals,
and myself, I wanted to be top 3,"
sophomore standout Rebecca Walter
In the end, all of their determination
paid off. Walter and the team won an
automatic bid to the NCAA Champi-
onships, finishing as runner up in the
regional championship meet. Walter
led the way, finishing third in 20:38.6,
a personal best time. Following closely
was graduate student Jessie Allen-
Young, who, with a strong push at the
end, came in fourth with a time of
"(Allen-Young) fought real hard,
and she made a good push the last
minute and a half or two minutes of

the race," coach Mike McGuire said.
Senior Lindsey Gallo also con-
tributed with a ninth-place finish.
Junior Sarah Pizzo and sophomore
Katie Erdman rounded out the scoring.
McGuire also sang the praises of
Andrea Parker, who looked strong
after struggling through injury. She did
not score points, but finished 26th
with a time of 21:42.0. The seventh
Wolverine finisher was Chelsea
Notre Dame won the meet with 43
points. Michigan finished with 58.
Individual champion Molly Huddle led
the Fighting Irish; she finished 12 sec-
onds ahead of Michigan State's
Michele Carson and 24 ahead of Wal-
ter, with a time of 20:14.7.
The Wolverines will now work on
tapering down training to prepare for
Nationals. The NCAA championships
are next Monday in Waterloo, Iowa.
"What we've been doing all season
is working well together, training
together, and now just tapering, relax-
ing, and focusing." Walter said, "We'll
hopefully have our best race of the

Women cagers feed off large crowd in win

By Josh Holman
Daily Sports Writer

Saturday's Preseason Women's
National Invitational game between
Michigan and Miami (Ohio) was
played at Crisler Arena, but another
campus location may have been just as
With the amount of energy in the
stands and on the court, the teams may
have well been battling at the Power
The Wolverines' 79-68 victory was
highlighted by steals, fast breaks and
aggressive defense, and it certainly
supplied enough action for the 2,054
in attendance to cheer about. Coaches
and staff heavily marketed the open-
ing-round game, and the work paid off.
Michigan drew a larger crowd than
Cincinnati did in its opener, so the
Wolverines will host the Bearcats in
the quarterfinals of the WNIT tonight.
If Saturday is any indication, coach
Cheryl Burnett has already injected
some energy into the program, and she
wants that new feeling to stick around.
"We need that sixth player called
our fans to really build and help us,"
Burnett said. "We want to establish a
homecourt advantage."

The crowd was raucous enough at
the tip, but for whatever reason, the
Wolverines didn't come out with that
same edge. They were down 24-17
with 7:26 left in the first half before
some of the energy finally surfaced.
After a three-pointer by sophomore
Mie Burlin, a steal by sophomore
Rachel Carney at the defensive end led
to a layup and foul for senior
Stephanie Gandyat the other end. The
play got Gandy and the rest of the
team moving for the afternoon. Michi-
gan took off on an 18-4 run and led by
eight at halftime.
"Our offense allows us to score
more," Gandy said. "Once I get out
and go, no one can stop us."
Gandy scored 15 of her 23 points in
the first half and played 38 minutes of
the fast-paced game, but seemed to be
leading the charge the whole time she
was on the court.
"She was continually talking to our
team," Burnett said. "One of our difficul-
ties has been not communicating really
well. We're getting better at a lot of
things, but Stephanie really took charge."
The Redhawks clawed their way
back in the second half, trailing by just
five points with 2:45 left. Appropriate-
ly enough, it was two of Michigan's 24

points off turnovers that probably
sealed the deal. Junior Sierra Hauser-
Price made a steal at halfcourt and
took it the rest of the way for the buck-
et with 2:10 remaining.
"I felt like they had every loose
ball," Miami coach Maria Fantanarosa
said. "They used their athleticism to
get a lot of things."
Fantanarosa wasn't the only outsider
singing praise of Michigan's new
facelift. Jackie Stiles - Burnett's for-

mer player at Southwest Missouri State
from 1998-2001 and the all-time lead-
ing scorer in NCAA women's basket-
ball history - was also in town to,
watch the beginning of a new era at
"I think (Burnett) will really build a
following here because her teams are
fun to watch," Stiles said. "They play
pressure defense, they like to full-court
press and really play an up-tempo
game, which is exciting."

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