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January 16, 2004 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-16

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 16, 2004 - 11

Mental preparation
key to 'M' success

Long-time coach
reunited with diver

By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer

By Anne Uible
Daily Sports Writer

The ladies of the Michigan women's
tennis team never leave empty-handed
after a long Tuesday
practice.
Every player is given
a blank yellow piece of TOME
paper to take home. Mk
After most weekend p
competitions, each of
the girls writes down Tne:
three lessons learned
and three areas of VartvTen
improvement; then the
squad discusses these
things at the team meet-
ing held during the week.
"Every week there is some sort of
evaluation," coach Bitsy Ritt said. "I
think a good way to do that is to have
everyone participate, rather than us
telling them what we think."
Of course, most practices for the
girls do entail conditioning and
physical play. However, the team
also takes part in a good deal of
mental deliberation and discussion
every day.
Ritt emphasized the value of hear-
ing everybody's input on the team.
"What everybody thinks is impor-
tant because everybody makes a con-
tribution," Ritt said.
As a senior, Kavitha Tipirneni is no
stranger to the team meeting and eval-
uation experience.
"The key thing is being aware, tacti-
cally and technically," Tipirneni said.

OR
c~ai

"There is no point in playing and not
talking about what you learned after-
ward."
Tipirneni acknowledged the over-
whelming mental aspect
of the game and how this
evaluation process facili-
RGW tates open communication
n k andinput.
ul "It's important our
whole team is on the same
pm. page," Tipirneni said.
Coming to Michigan
s~enter after playing tennis in
Canada, freshman Kara
Delicata is a newcomer
to this evaluation
process.
Though the evaluation tradition
emphasizes individual attention, the
girls feel that the team meetings create
a sense of unity when everyone has
shared their ideas. Delicata called this
"speaking your piece."
Whatever one calls it, the players
and coaches alike expressed the telling
advantages of this team tradition.
"When you are playing, sometimes
you don't realize things you are doing
that someone else notices," Delicata
said. "By recapping together, it helps
the learning process."
Delicata says the learning process
includes both wins and losses.
Ritt echoed this philosophy and
explained that, though it is impor-
tant to assess failures, successes
should not be neglected.
"I think you can learn from good

Michigan women's diving coach
Christopher Bergere has coached
senior Tealin Kelemen since she
was 14 years old - just a novice
diver on his club team in Philadel-
phia. Training with Kelemen for so
many years, Bergere was an impor-

tant part of her deci-
sion to attend
Michigan in the fall of
2000.
"I helped her choose
to go to this school
because its swimming
and diving program
was one of the
strongest in the coun-
try," Bergere said. "It
was also coached by
the legendary Dick

Tu~s WE
Mid~igan hi
Mid~ig~n lnv
4Thn~ 6 p~m
9a.m., 5 p~rn.
Cat~iamN~

FILE PHOTO
Michigan freshman Kara Delicata returns a shot in the Wolverine Invitational during
the fall season.

performance by recognizing the rea-
sons why we performed well," Ritt
said.
Aside from evaluating individual
performance, these team meetings
also include discussion about oppos-
ing competition.

Overall, Ritt believes the sessions
are integral to her team's success.
"Any time you can sit down, talk
and share ideas, it is good for team
chemistry," Ritt said. "At some
point, you have to just step back and
evaluate."

Kimball, who was considered the
greatest diving coach around. I
wanted her to have the experience of
training with one of the most influ-
ential coaches of our time."
Kimball's impressive accolades
included coaching nine divers to
Olympic medals and five to NCAA
National Championships. He
served as assistant coach of the
U.S. Olympic team five times and
as a coach for the United States at
the world championships. By the
time Kelemen joined the Wolver-
ines in 2000, the 67-year-old Kim-
ball was entering his 43rd year of
coaching and on the verge of
retirement.
"Before joining (the Wolverines),
Kelemen was really nervous about
who would take over as head coach
if Kimball retired during her career
at Michigan," Bergere said. "But I
assured her that a top-class pro-
gram like Michigan would only
hire one of the best coaches in the
country."

And when Kimball finally retired
in 2002, that coach ended up being
Bergere himself.
After spending nearly 20 years as
the head men's and women's diving
coach at his alma mater, LaSalle
University, Bergere could not pass
up the opportunity of becoming the
third diving coach of a storied
Michigan diving program - a pro-
gram rich in history and
considered amongst the
top in the country.
EKEND~ "It's really exciting
being able to coach in
such a powerful confer-
ence," Bergere said.
"The Big Ten proves
:outow every year that they are
au the best. I am fortunate
enough to be able to be a
part of it all."
In accepting the posi-
tion, Bergere was able to reunite
with Kelemen and coach her
through her last two years of college
eligibility.
Kelemen, who has placed in the
top 15 of the three-meter at the Big
Ten Championships in each of the
past three years, looks to the 2003-
04 season as a chance to leave her
mark at Michigan and better her
past performances.
"Kelemen knows it's her last year
and that there's a kind of finality to
the season," Bergere said. "She has
made some good changes to her
technique over the past couple of
years, which has made her one of
the strongest divers on the team.
She has the ability to do really well
this year at both the Big Ten Cham-
pionships and NCAA Champi-
onships."
This weekend the Wolverines will
begin their Big Ten season in Ann
Arbor, hosting Illinois and Michigan
State at the Michigan Invitational at
Canham Natatorium.

' Corrigan emerges as versatile gymnast

By Julie Master
Daily Sports Writer
When you're a gymnast, mastering one event is
hard enough. The real challenge: mastering them
all.

Presently, Corrigan seems to be in the prime of
his career at Michigan. In his first meet of the
season, the Maize and Blue Intrasquad, he won
the still rings and floor exercise, while earning a
well-deserved first-place finish in the all-around
competition.

Junior Geoff Corrigan has Last weekend at the Windy City Invita-
emerged this season as the TOM*RAW tional, Corrigan took home a fourth-place
Wolverines' most versatile finish in the all-around, but according to
weapon. Coming off of nagging No. 4 Michiganvs Golder, it was his best performance yet.
injuries in his freshman and No.9 Stanford "I think he did a little bit better (at the
sophomore years, Corrigan is Windy City Invitational)," Golder said.
back in action and feeling Time:7:30 p.m. "He was two-thirds of the way through his
stronger than ever. parallel bar routine where he encountered
"Having an injury isn't easy," COffKeen Arena some difficulty, but had he not done that,
Michigan coach Kurt Golder - he would have won the all-around."
said. "Geoff had shoulder prob- Corrigan has proven that he is a fierce
lems for six months then a knee problem, but he competitor on the floor. Both times he has com-
did a great job staying up, although he certainly peted this season, he has tied school records.
wasn't as upbeat as he is right now" "I have a high start value on floor, which

enables me to get a good score," Corrigan said. "I
get everything hard out of the way pretty quickly."
Because of his versatility, Corrigan has also
demonstrated that he can do the same vault rou-
tine as Drew DiGiore, the 2003 NCAA vault
champion.
"At the beginning of the season it was going
really well," Corrigan said. "I kind of went back
to the basics, and I think I've made some pretty
good progress on it. Hopefully it will be ready by
Big Tens and NCAAs."
Golder also realizes that Corrigan being able to
perform this vault will be a huge asset to the
team.
"If he can get to that same level, that would be
phenomenal," Golder said.
Only time will tell what Corrigan has in store
for the remainder of 2004, but he is off to a strong
start in what he hopes will be an NCAA champi-
onship season.

Porter makes quick
impression on track

By James V. Dowd
Daily Sports Writer

Winter no break for Blue wrestling team

By Steven Shears
Daily Sports Writer
For wrestling captain Foley Dowd,
returning home for winter break is no
recess.
In fact, being home is just another
excuse to train and prepare - and also
WW7MOP

indulge in just a little bit of hon
ing, with some reservation, of c
"You don't cut yourself off,
said. "You eat Christmas dinner,
get your workouts in. If you
work out extra, you have to %
extra. You don't have to ea
dessert they make, but it's notl

ne cook- can't have everything. You're home, but
ourse. you treat it like training at Michigan. At
" Dowd home, I do the same stuff I do here."
but you Wrestlers on sixth-ranked Michigan
have to spent only a week at home before they
iork out had to return to competition - not
t every much of a break. But the Wolverines
like you have their own definition of what it
means to take a rest.
"It's a break in the sense that you're
not at school," Dowd said. "It's a break
in a sense that you get out of this Michi-
gan wrestling room. It's a break in the
sense that you get the creativity of your
own workouts. But you're still pushing
yourself, you still have that same goal."
Said Michigan coach Joe McFarland:
"It's good to get out of Ann Arbor, good
to get away from things a little bit. It's a
breath of fresh air."
Michigan's goal is clearly defined at
the start of the new year. The first part
of the season is finished, and the
Wolverines enter the National Duals
this weekend in Cleveland. The
National Duals is a 16-team bracket-
style meet that is similar to the NCAA
basketball tournament. It focuses
more on the team component of
wrestling, as opposed to the more
individual aspect seen in the NCAA
championships.
If your team loses, you're out. Win
and advance. No second chances.
FILE PHOTO "It's still an individual match, it's still
you and whoever you're wrestling out

there, one at a time," Dowd said. "It's
just the sense that sometimes at the
NCAAs, you're so focused on yourself.
Now we're all as a team focused on
each other. In a dual meet, we're all
watching ourselves, and it makes us
closer."
Said McFarland: "This tournament
brings uniqueness - it's just another
different aspect for our sport."
This weekend serves as a challeng-
ing test to see where Michigan stacks
up against the best teams in the coun-
try, including Big Ten rivals Ohio
State, Michigan State, Minnesota and
Penn State. Following the National
Duals, the Wolverines begin their Big
Ten schedule at home against Iowa
and Minnesota.
"This is the most difficult time of the
year for us," McFarland said. "We'll
know after these next couple of week-
ends how good our team is."
Even if Michigan reaches the latter
rounds in the tournament, it might have
to go through No. 1 Oklahoma State
before it reaches the finals. Michigan
hasn't faced the Cowboys in a dual
meet since the late 1980s.
"All this stuff from here on out is
important," McFarland said. "I can't
emphasize that enough. Every one of
our duals from here on out is really
important. It has a huge impact on our
individual seeds and our seeds going
into the Big Ten Tournament."

Often, it is quite obvious when a
new sports star is born. LeBron
James scored 10 points within nine
minutes of his first regular-season
NBA game. Steve Breaston
returned a Notre Dame punt 55
yards to the two yard line in just his
third game.
Michigan track and field fresh-
man Jeff Porter had a similar per-
formance in last month's Maize and
Blue Intrasquad meet, winning the
60-meter hurdles with a time of
8.22, 0.12 seconds faster than any
Wolverine ran last year. One-tenth
of a second may not seem like
much, but in such a short event, the
race is often decided by mere hun-
dredths of a second.
Porter has always been an elite
runner; he was last year's high
school indoor national champion.
And before that, Porter was a junior
national champion when he was in
the 15- and 16- year old age group.
The transition from high school
to college hurdling can be drastic
though, as collegiate hurdles are
three inches higher than high school
ones. Porter, however, was ready for
the challenge.
"I trained in high school using
college hurdles, and I grew an inch
over the summer," Porter said.
Last month's race was even more
impressive when you consider that
he had been out of racing for almost
a year, suffering an injury that pre-
vented him from competing during
the outdoor season.
Such a strong performance left
Porter very optimistic when consid-
ering possibilities for the coming
season.

"First we'll see how I can do in
the Big Ten, and in (NCAA Cham-
pionships). Hopefully I can get to
the finals and carry success into the
outdoor season."
Michigan associate head coach
Fred Laplante was also pleased
Porter's performance in the meet.
"Considering it's his freshman
season, and being away from com-
petition, adjusting to college life,
being with the team, and adjusting
to 42-inch hurdles, it was a good
performance," Laplante said. "This
was just the first race in a long
career, one that should go beyond
college."
Porter has set his sights beyond
college as well.
"It has always been my dream to
go to the Olympics. I am looking
to do things so that I can head to
the Olympic trials this summer,"
Porter said.
When asked about whether his
success as a freshman inspires jeal-
ousy from older Wolverines, Porter
described them as supportive, and
said that everyone wishes him well.
He even credited senior David Bat-
tani as one of the main reasons he
chose Michigan - no small deal
since he had schools such as South
Carolina, Louisiana State, Ten-
nessee, Clemson and Seton Hall
chasing him. Porter was also
recruited by Rutgers to play foot-
ball, his first love.
"Don't get me wrong - I love
football," Porter said. "If Coach
(Lloyd) Carr came and asked me to
play, I'd be out there playing defen-
sive back in a second."
Luckily for every Michigan track
supporter, Porter saw track as his
opportunity to fulfill his dream of
going to the Olympics.

Michigan captain Foley Dowd grapples with a Penn State opponent.

From past success, Walter looks on to future

By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Writer
What do most college students accomplish in a
year and a half? Maybe they have decided on a con-
centration or have made the Dean's list.
But sophomore Rebecca Walter - a member of
the women's indoor track team and cross country
team - has accomplished more in that time than
even she could have imagined after being all-state
twice in high school.
Nobody predicted what she would accomplish in
her first season in both cross country and track.
h Walter actually did not know whether she would

Walter acknowledges that she did not take it as seri-
ous as she does now. She did not have a winter sea-
son, so during that time her training was a little
relaxed, unlike now.
"In high school, all the training was done on my
own. Here, it's great competition just in practice with
my teammates," the Beverly Hills native said.
The person credited with finding this diamond in
the rough is cross country head coach and associate
coach of the track team, Mike McGuire.
"McGuire has been very good at scouting athletes
with great potential," track coach James Henry said.
"He is able to identify good athletes and then be able
to coach them very successfully."

But her plans are on hold right now due to a knee
injury that stems from the end of the cross country
season. She looks forward to continuing her career as
soon as possible and thinks that the team can win
another Big Ten championship.
Walter says she likes the pressure. It doesn't over-
whelm her - it motivates her to achieve her goals.
"Most of all the past year and a half has been fun,"
Walter said.

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