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December 08, 2003 - Image 14

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - December 8, 2003

Gymnastics
gets going
in intrasquad
By Jeremy Antar
Daily Sports Writer
The annual Maize and Blue Intrasquad marks
an exciting time for the Michigan women's gym-
nastics team. It signifies the end of the preseason
and a leap into territory where mistakes now result
in costly point deductions. Although the
intrasquad was an exhibition, it had the feel of the
regular season with the presence of judges and
882 fans inside Cliff Keen Arena.
This year, the Blue team finished on top with a
score of 116.600 compared to the Maize's 115.700.
Overall, it was a good night for the Wolverines.
"I'm really pleased with how everything went,"
coach Bev Plocki said. "We had few mistakes, and
I think the mistakes that we did have were first
time, nervous, jittery kinds of things that were
really more mental mistakes than physical mis-
takes."
The top three performances in the all-around
were compiled by Calli Ryals (39.125), Jenny
Deiley (39.000) and Elise Ray (38.950). Ray, who
was forced to sit out the entire 2003 season due to
sholder surgery, won two events on the night. She
finished first on the balance beam (9.850) and tied
junior Lauren Mirkovich for first on the uneven
bars (9.825).
"I'm so pleased and excited to see Elise back
in the lineup, it's wonderful to see her back,"
Plocki said.
Deiley also earned two first-place finishes,
placing above her teammates on both the floor
exercise (9.825) and the vault (9.825).
Plocki noted that she was glad to see the fresh-
men out there competing. The intrasquad is espe-
cially useful for freshmen because it allows them
to get their feet wet and compete at the collegiate
level without the pressure of a regular-season
match.
The enthusiasm and eagerness of the team to
get the season started was evident from any-
where inside Cliff Keen Arena. While compet-
ing, each athlete showed great concentration.

Field events a surprise
to start track season

4

By Phil KOfI
Daily Sports Writer

The feeling was relaxed, but brag-
ging rights were on the line. The
Michigan men's indoor track team
was fighting for a year's worth of
pride in the annual Maize and Blue
Intrasquad meet held Friday through
Saturday in the Indoor Track Build-
ing. The Maize squad defeated the
Blue, 211-189.
The first competition of the year
gave some good looks at some of the
new and also some of the improved
runners. The thing that may have
stood out the most was the team's
newfound depth across the board.
The Wolverines haven't had much of
a punch in the field events in the past
few years, but this season may be
much different.
Junior Jeong-Hwan Kong highlight-
ed the field events with his win in the
high jump for the Maize. His winning
height of seven feet was a personal
record indoors and a great start to a
promising indoor season.
Senior Joe Baldwin and junior
Brad Malonson led all long-jumpers
with leaps of 23'7" and 23'6"
respectively. Freshman Michael
Whitehead won the triple jump for
the Maize by almost six feet with a
49'2" performance.
"It's real promising," coach Ron
Warhurst said. "It started off with the
long jump, two guys over 23'6". The
triple jump at 49'2", we haven't had
jumpers before, we have, but they
haven't been of this quality."
Sophomore Brad Hoffman took top
honors in the shot-put with a winning
throw of 47'9" for the Maize.
Another aspect of improvement has
been the addition of Jeff Porter, a top
recruit out of New Jersey. In his first

race for Michigan competing for the
Maize, Porter just missed the meet
record with a swift time of 8.22 sec-
onds in the 60-meter hurdles. Porter
couldn't be happier to be a Wolverine.
"I love it, they brought me in and it's
a family here," Porter said. "I don't want
to set any limits. A lot is possible."
Darnell Talbert's 48.99 in the 400-
meter dash highlighted the sprints along
with freshman Stann Waithe's win in
the 200-meter dash in 22.33 seconds.
Michigan's traditional strength, mid
and long distance, showcased its deep
lineup. With top runners Nate Bran-
nen, Nick Willis and Tom Greenless
resting, the rest of the distance crew
showed what it could do.
Sophomore Rondell Ruff won the
800-meter run in a meet record-tying
time of 1:54.71 for the Blue. Sopho-
more Joe Schramski finished in sec-
ond place by just three-tenths of a
second. Ruff was happy about the
race, but even more excited about
what he can do for his team.
"It felt real good," Ruff said. "It's
early, you just wanna go out and see
how comfortable you can run. My
goals this year are really team-orient-
ed. We've got the Big Ten Champi-
onship at home this year. Hopefully,
we can win it, that's my main goal:
Get a Big Ten championship."
Sophomore Andrew Ellerton, run-
ning for the Maize, captured the
1,200-meter run after a win in the
800 meters last year. The Maize's
senior Nick Stanko's surge at the
end of 2,400-meter run edged out
junior Sean Moore by four hun-
dredths of a second. The Wolverines
take a break from competition over
winter break and will be back in
action next year in the Jack Harvey
Invitational.

TONY DING/Daily
Senior Calli Ryals pulled off the top performance for the Wolverines yesrterday at the annual Maize and Blue
Intrasquad, which took place in front of 882 fans at Cliff Keen Arena.

But in between events, the team was showing
smiles and cheering each other on. There was
not one performance that took place without
encouraging voices from coaches and team-
mates being heard.
"I know that the girls are really fired up, and
I'm really fired up for this year," Plocki said. "We
did a lot of really good things tonight."
At the beginning of a season, many teams iden-
tify specific goals for the road ahead. Plocki
knows that the ultimate goal for a program of this

caliber is always a national championship, but she
is careful to make sure that the team never looks
too far ahead and is always concentrating on the
task at hand.
"We're always really careful not to let a national
championship be our only focus," Plocki said.
"We always want to continue to improve every
single meet through the season.
"Winning a Big Ten title is always the number
one goal in the postseason, and we never look past
that."

4

Blue grapplers come
up lucky in Las Vegas

Erdman looking to
lead after record day

0

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan senior Pat Owen made
a statement this weekend. The
Michigan wrestling team's 165-
pounder proved to everyone that
he's a legitimate contender for the
national title. Owen battled his way
to the finals of the Cliff Keen Invi-
tational in Las Vegas, leading a
Michigan team that finished in sec-
ond place behind Nebraska.
"Pat (Owen) did a great job,"
Michigan coach Joe McFarland
said. "He wrestled well all week-
end. He was really focused all
weekend. That's the way he's going
to need to compete all year."
After a stunning upset of top-
seeded Jacob Volkmann of Min-
nesota, Owen, seeded eighth,
topped Eastern Michigan's J.J.
Holmes in the semifinals.
In the championship round, Owen
lost a close match decided by riding
time to second-seeded J.P. Reese of
Missouri. Owen was one of the six
Michigan wrestlers who made it to
the semifinals and one of four who
made it to the finals.
All four of Michigan's finalists,
including defending national cham-
pion Ryan Bertin, fell in their last
matches.
"We didn't have a great final
round, obviously," McFarland said.
"That's definitely something we can
work and improve on as the season
progresses."
The top-seeded Bertin squared
off against rival Alex Tirapelle of
Illinois in the 157-pound finals.

Bertin beat Tirapelle in the finals of
the NCAA Championships last sea-
son to become the first national
champion from Michigan since
1986. This time around, Tirapelle
got his revenge in the form of a 4-2
victory to claim the Cliff Keen
Invitational title.
Freshman sensation Mark Moos
pinned All-American Bobbe Lowe
of Minnesota to reach the finals. In
the championship match, Moos lost
a close battle to top-ranked Jason
Powell of Nebraska.
"I think Mark proved to himself
and everyone else that he can com-
pete with the best in the country,"
McFarland said. "He was wrestling
with a sore rib all weekend, and I
knew he wasn't feeling so great, but
he was really focusing in. He was
wrestling with a lot of intensity."
Michigan heavyweight Greg
Wagner wrestled his way into the
finals, but ran into 2002 NCAA
champion Tommy Rowlands of
Ohio State.
Wagner was able to keep the
match close early on, but Rowlands
was just too much. The Buckeye
scored three takedowns in the sec-
ond and third periods to win a 11-5
decision.
Several other Michigan wrestlers,
including Ryan Churella (third),
Clark Forward (fourth) and true
freshman Joshua Weitzel (eighth),
also placed in the annual tourna-
ment.
"I thought the guys competed
well this weekend." McFarland said.
"These guys came here, and they
were ready to wrestle."

By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer
Smashing meet records in the 600-
meter and 800-meter runs, sopho-
more Katie Erdman headlined the
Michigan women's track and field
team's showing at the Maize and
Blue Intrasquad. In their first indoor
event of the season, held at the
Indoor Track Building, the Wolver-
ines split into two squads to simulate
the competition level of a regular-
season meet. While the Maize
outscored the Blue 190-169, the two-
day intrasquad helped the entire
Michigan team prepare for next
semester's indoor meets.
Erdman's outstanding times of
1:33.08 in the 600 and 2:10.63 in the
800 came despite her recent transi-
tion from the rigorous cross-country
season.
"I feel like my leg speed is not
quite back," Erdman said. "But I felt
good though, good enough."
Associate coach Mike McGuire
was impressed with the sophomore's
efforts.
"Katie Erdman having two meet
records, that obviously was our high-
light," McGuire said.
Erdman was not Michigan's only
standout. Senior sprinter Robin Land-
fair rocketed through the 60-meter
hurdles in a meet-record 8.71 sec-
onds. She added a second-place finish
in the 60-meter dash to her list of
accomplishments. Senior shot-putter
Melissa Bickett, heaving a 14.97-
meter shot, earned her own meet
record. Bickett also placed first in the
weight throw with a toss of 55'9".
Junior distance runner Ana Gjesdal

achieved a personal best, placing first
in the 3,000-meter run with a time of
10:07.58.
"Some kids that you didn't hear
about a lot in the fall I thought did a
nice job," McGuire said.
The intrasquad helped to bridge the
gap between the fall and winter track
seasons. The friendly meet provided-
an opportunity to start the competitive
juices flowing. For some, it was the
first real competition since the Big
Ten outdoor championships in May.
For others, it represented a shift from
the outdoor trail running of cross
country to the indoor track running of
winter. The meet also provided an
opportunity for younger runners to
establish themselves.
"We've had some graduation losses
from last year, so we might lose a lot
of points in one area," McGuire said.
"But if we get a lot of points in other
areas, I think we'll be fine."
The meet ended with a rare oppor-
tunity for the Michigan men and
women to compete together. As spec-
tators and teammates cheered, six co-
ed teams took to the track in hopes of
winning the gargantuan 8-by-400-
meter relay. The race provided a fun
and exciting conclusion to two suc-
cessful days of track and field action.
The Michigan women retake the
track on Jan. 10 when they host the
Jack Harvey Invitational. Fresh off a
Big Ten cross country championship
and an encouraging weekend of com-
petition in Ann Arbor, optimism
reigns among the Wolverines.
"We just want to continue to
improve," McGuire said. "We've won
the first leg of the Triple Crown; we'd
like to do it again in winter track."

I

DAVID TUMAN/Daily
Michigan senior Pat Owen showed his might among the best in the nation this
weekend at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas.

REMEMBER THE MOMENT
HELP COMMEMORATE THE WOLVERINES'
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP.

I

Available beginning Thursday: full-size
posters of the Daily's Nov. 24 front
page, just after Michigan vanquished
Ohio State in their 100th matchup.
A steal at only $3, these posters will be
on sale at the Student Publications
Buildina on Mavnard Street (behind the

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