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January 22, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-01-22

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 22, 2004

Helvey and 'crew'
bring life to Blue'

Gajic now cooking
on and off the ice

By Ellen McGarrity
Daily Sports Writer
When Michigan coach Cheryl Bur-
nett inserted freshman Kelly Helvey
into Sunday's women's basketball
game against Michigan State, it was
like a firecracker had been set off.
Before the substitution,
the scoreboard displayed
the result of the Spartans'
domination in the first half M
- a 20-point deficit -
and the Michigan players
on the court already 1
looked helpless. Many
players were hesitant to
shoot, passing the ball -
until the shot clock had
nearly run out. Consequently, Michi-
gan was forced into difficult shots
from the field.
Enter Helvey. The forward's energy
showed immediately as she came into
the game with a fearless attitude.
Every time the ball made it into her
hands, she either put up a shot or pen-
etrated the Spartans' defense for a
basket. Although Helvey shot just 1-
for-9 in the game, Burnett credited
her with bringing confidence to the
court when no one else could.
Helvey has been a spark off the
bench for much of the season, and
one reason for her self-assurance
could be her strong support struc-
ture. At nearly every game this year
have been 15 equally energetic
Helvey fanatics.

W i3>3i

The freshman's family, which hails
from Toledo, Ohio, contributes five of
the 15. The rest are friends of
Helvey's and their parents.
They sport bright maize-colored T-
shirts with "Helvey's Crew" and her
number, 32, across the back in blue.
Daniel Helvey, Kelly's father,
explained that the family
designed the shirts when
Helvey started playing
basketball for Michigan
this season, but the
Helvey fan club began
long ago.
"I think Kelly (had
the idea)," Daniel said.
"It goes back to high
school. Kids would
paint their faces and wear white T-
shirts with 'Helvey' on the back."
Helvey averaged 13 points and five
rebounds for Toledo Catholic Central
High School last year as a senior. She
was named a McDonald's All Ameri-
can, as well as Toledo's city player of
the year, so it's no wonder the forward
had so many vigorous fans in the
Now that she's at Michigan, Daniel
said that family and friends like to be
at Crisler Arena whenever they can to
emulate the supportive atmosphere
Kelly had in high school.
"We're trying to make her feel
more at home," Daniel said.
Despite her family's support,
Helvey admitted that she'd like to see
even more of her friends make it to

Freshman Kelly Helvey has provided Michigan with a spark off the bench this
season. The Toledo, Ohio, native leads Michigan with 26 steals.

By Gennaro Filice
Daily Sports Writer

the games.
"I just like to have people that I
know here to cheer for me no matter
what happens," Helvey said.
Even her boyfriend has donned a
"Helvey's Crew" shirt a few times,
although Kelly said he usually "likes
to dress nice."
Helvey has already started half of
Michigan's 18 games this season as a

Wolverine and has been working hard
to make an impact. Although she has
scored just three points per game on
25 percent shooting, she leads the
team in steals with 26.
Helvey's confidence and her
'crew' ensure that Michigan fans will
see more from this feisty freshman
when Michigan takes on Wisconsin
tonight at 8 p.m.

Known as the University's elite
fans, the Michigan hockey faithful
have always kept a simple dress
Whether maize, blue or white, an
authentic team sweater is found on
many of the 6,600-plus that fill Yost
Ice Arena every game.
Since early this season, though, a
group of students has chosen to mix
it up a bit, sporting bright yellow
"Gajic is Majic" T-shirts.
"That's cool - it's fun," said
Milan Gajic when informed of the
fan club. "I'm kind of blushing
At the beginning of the season,
Gajic was far from magical.
Through Michigan's first 17 games
of the year, Gajic tallied just two
The junior - who was thought to
be one of Michigan's most promis-
ing offensive threats entering this
season - had thrown up 36 shots,
but struggled to light the lamp.
But, in his last five contests, Gajic
has scored four goals - proving
why he is Michigan's only player
with a personalized fan club.
Gajic is just beginning to make
some noise with his stick, but he's
never had trouble making his pres-
ence felt with his mouth.
"He's extremely loud," teammate
and housemate Jason Ryznar said.
"In any part of the house, his door
will be closed and you can hear him
through five doors."
Gajic lives with teammates Jeff
Tambellini, Michael Woodford, Eric
Nystrom, Brandon Rogers, Andy
Burnes and Ryznar. Every house-
mate conveys Gajic's overwhelming
"(He's) loud," Nystrom said. "He
claims he has an inner-ear problem,
but I just think he likes to be the
center of attention."
Said Burnes: "He's quite a charac-
ter and anybody that knows him will
tell you that he's got about 800 per-
Gajic's energy isn't short-lived,
either. The Burnaby, British Colum-
bia, enjoys his night life.
"I'm an insomniac - I've always
been," Gajic said. "I don't get to bed
until 2, 2:30."
Although his housemates spend
much of their free time on the
Playstation 2, Gajic likes to frequent

the kitchen, claiming to be an excel-
lent chef.
"I know how to burn stuff pretty
good," Gajic said. "I can make a
mean stir-fry."
But housemates are quick to ques-
tion Gajic's culinary expertise.
"Marginal cook. Marginal at
best," Ryznar said.
"He says he's a cook," Burnes said
with a smile. "He can cook bacon
and Top Ramen."
While Gajic's abilities in the
kitchen are questionable, he's cur-
rently sizzling on the ice.
"The beginning of the year was
kind of rough," Gajic said. "When
you start thinking too much, things
will go wrong. Coach (Red Beren-
son) pulled me aside and said,
'Don't even think - just do what
you do.' So I've kind of started that."
Burnes, the team captain, attrib-
utes Gajic's recent offensive surge to
his effort on the other end of the ice.
"Why he's successful lately is
because he's been working well on
defense," Burnes said. "He's created
his own chances and made opportu-
nities for himself. That's what we're
seeing right now. Milan Gajic is
playing two-way hockey and playing
hard on both sides of the puck.
"It's never been a question of his
talent - we know he's got great
hands, we know all the offensive
accolades, but it's really been the
defense that I think he's learned
since he's got here."

Golder hopes roster changes fuel team

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Writer
Facing a loaded schedule is a tough way to start
off the season.
The Michigan men's gymnastics team has
already squared off against three of the top six

teams in the nation, and is preparing to face No. 1
Penn State this weekend at Cliff Keen Arena.
Despite the tough schedule, Michigan head coach
Kurt Golder is not worried.
"My philosophy is that it doesn't matter where
you are ranked at the beginning of the season or the
middle of the season," Golder said.
"It's where you are at the very end. But
I just don't want to lose to (Penn State TOM
at home). I don't care where they are
ranked, I want to beat them." Mict
Michigan has made a handful of Per
changes to its roster. During lastT
week's meet against No. 6 Stanford,
Michigan lost by .075 in part because CliffK
of a weakened lineup. Junior Geoff
Corrigan competed through an illness,
while junior Eddie Umphrey and
sophomore Justin Laury were both held out of the
rings competition because of a coach's decision.
Umphrey is returning from, injury and expects to
present a ring routine for this weekend.
"Michigan traditionally has the strongest ring
team in the country, but we are ranked No. 11 right
now," Golder said. "But that's alright - let them
think that we are real bad. That's what I have been
telling everybody: 'We're real bad.' It's a little psy-
chological game I play with the other coaches. But
it kind of backfired because we are the ones that
took Stanford too lightly.
"(Against Penn State we'll have) our strongest
ring lineup, and it is a very substantial improve-
ment over what we've been putting up," Golder


said. "Any time you take three of your top four
guys out of an event, that's going to hurt you, but I
felt that was what I needed to do."
Those additions should make Michigan a signifi-
cantly stronger team, but some of the gymnasts are
doing extra work in practice to improve the team's
performance. Freshman Aaron Rakes
is working on adding a couple of
RROW aspects to his high bar routine, includ-
ing a twist to his dismount. Rakes is
ran VS.excited to make the additions, but he
State admits that it's a lot of work. Even
7pni after the daily two-and-a-half hour
practice and leg circuit training,
n Arena Rakes stayed late on Tuesday to work
on his new routine.
"After a workout and then leg cir-
cuit, I feel pretty tired," Rakes said.
"A circuit is a lot of quick rebounding and making
sure that we can move around for 10 straight min-
utes. If we can move around for that long, then a
routine should be easy.
"It's a lot of quick jumping and rebounding simi-
lar to floor to make sure that we are still moving
quickly. Gymnastics is a lot of quick reactions and
sometimes you have to adjust quickly. So it's a lot of
the plyometrics. It's a pretty long day."
Rakes admits that, no matter how hard it is, it's
worth the work if it translates into a win.
"We are really trying to get our hours in this
week because (Penn State) might be the best team
in the country," Rakes said. "It would be nice to
show them up in our hometown. I'm real excited."

Michigan's Milan Gajic has netted four
goals in his team's last five games.
[s retirement

Gable puts Iowa on map

Freshman Aaron Rakes competes for Michigan.

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
Some would say that Dan Gable,
Iowa's legendary wrestling coach, is
the greatest coach in the history of
sports. A bold statement. But here
are some numbers to back it up: In
his 21 years of coaching the
Hawkeyes, Gable captured 21 Big
Ten titles, 15 NCAA Champi-

The lower weight classes will be
key for Michigan -- especially at
125, 141 and 149 pounds. Michigan's
Mark Moos, coming off a brilliant 5-
0 performance at the National Duals
this past weekend, will square off
against 2002 NCAA finalist Luke
Eustice at 125 pounds. Michigan's
141-pounder, Clark Forward, has fall-
en out of several college wrestling
polls and hopes to reestablish himself

Quad-captains provide cohesion for M'

By Matt Singer come up with," Knazze said.1
Daily Sports Writer These team-building efforts

Are four captains too many? The
Michigan women's track and field
team doesn't think so.
Leading a huge 2004 squad, sen-
iors Melissa Bickett,
Carly Knazze, Doris
Simmons and Vera SAN
Simms relish the oppor-
tunity to leave their
mark on the Wolverines.nSnma
"We have such a
large squad, and we just T, e:93
thought it could be anf
exceptional year,"
Michigan coach James
Henry said.
"Because we had so much suc-
cess, and we wanted to continue that
success, we got a few more captains,
a few more chiefs to look over the
The four captains take the leading
roles in planning activities to build
team chemistry.
"A lot of things that (Henry)
wants done in terms of team-build-
ing, he gives us the responsibility to

include designing motivational team
T-shirts and planning outings. But
on such a large team, building
camaraderie can be difficult. That's
where "Fun Fridays" come in.

sk Buidlng

"Fun Fridays - They
are hilarious," Simmons
The team gathers on
Fridays to participate in
some activity away from
the track.
Often, the competi-
tions would pit the
upperclassmen against
the underclassmen.
A friendly rivalry was
much every Fun Friday is

builders, the captains serve as
important intermediaries between
the athletes and the coaching staff.
Often, it is the captains who voice
concerns on behalf of the athletes.
"If any of our girls have problems
with anything, we take them to
coach Henry," Simmons said.
"We're like a spokesperson to coach
In a sport like track and field,
with many different events and divi-
sions, having multiple captains can
be an advantage. In this way, run-
ners, jumpers and throwers each
have someone in their own disci-
pline that they can talk to.
"We have captains in each of the
areas," Knazze said. "We get input
from each of the areas, and we come
together with a lot of different
With such a strong network of
leadership, it is no wonder the
Wolverines are in the running for an
indoor Big Ten title.
Michigan's four captains have fos-
tered a spirit of trust and together-
ness amongst the Wolverines.
"I think this team is more cohe-


onships, completed
seven perfect seasons
and had a winning
percentage of .932.
"The Big Ten is the
premier wrestling
conference, and Gable
probably has more to
do with that than any-
one," Michigan coach
Joe McFarland said.
"He really raised the

No.10 Iowa at
No.6 Michigan
~flme~ 7~30 p.ri~
Cti~let Arena

against Iowa's Cliff Moore,
the 2003 Big Ten Champi-
on. At 149 pounds, Michi-
gan's fifth-ranked Ryan
Churella will face Ty
Eustice - Luke's younger
brother - who was a Big
Ten finalist in 2003.
"We really need to get
off to a good start against
Iowa," McFarland said.
"Those early matches

different in its own way," Bickett said.
The bowling trip proved to be par-
ticularly memorable.
"Whoever lost had to go on a
body pyramid, where you go on your
hands and knees and build on top of
each other," Bickett said. "We took
In addition to their role as team-

Gable retired in 1997, but the
Iowa wrestling program still
remains a powerhouse.
"People get excited when a pro-
gram like that comes into town,"
McFarland said. "It's going to be
some great wrestling."
One would expect the Hawkeyes
to be ranked in the top 5, but they
have stumbled to a No. 10 ranking,
falling to No. 1 Oklahoma State and
No. 7 Iowa State. Despite its low
ranking, Iowa matches up extremely
well with No. 5 Michigan, having its
best wrestlers in the same weight
classes as the Wolverines' top

will be key."
The Michigan-Iowa match on Fri-
day, along with the Michigan-Min-
nesota match on Saturday will be
moved from the wrestling team's
usual venue of Cliff Keen Arena to
Crisler Arena.
"You can really pack Cliff Keen,
and the fans are right over the mat. I
think we'll miss that at Crisler,"
McFarland said. "But over at Crisler,
you can fit more people in to see our
program compete."
Amateur wrestling will meet pro-
fessional wrestling as former Michi-
gan wrestler and current WWE
superstar Scott Steiner will be
appearing to sign autographs.

As one of four team captains, Doris
Simmons helps boost Michigan's morale.
sive than it was before," Knazze
said. "It's built around friendships."



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