The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 4, 2004 - 13
Injury can't slow down
By Melanie Kebler
Daily Sports Writer
Last weekend, women's gymnast Elise
Ray gave a performance that left no doubt
that she was a former Olympian.
But while many might know about the
Olympic rings tat-
tooed on her shoul-
der, few probably
realize how much
scar tissue lies
"It still hurts,
just the scar tissue
and everything, but
as long as it's sta-
.. .. .. .. ..
Michganboos d ixi
ble, I can work through the pain," Ray said.
The injury came early last season when
Ray overextended her shoulder and briefly
dislocated it during a tumbling pass. Michi-
gan coach Bev Plocki said that Ray tried
traditional rest and rehabilitation, but soon
realized that surgery was the only way to
strengthen the shoulder so that it didn't
continue to pop out of the socket.
"She's very flexible in her shoulders and
that makes her prone to these types of
injuries," Plocki said.
Ray's recovery has been impressive, con-
sidering that after her surgery last March,
she didn't step back into the gym until
"Over the summer I really concentrated
on keeping in shape aerobically, because I
wasn't allowed to do gymnastics yet," Ray
She quickly honed her gymnastics skills,
building enough confidence to lead Michi-
gan in almost all events. Against Nebraska
on January 11 - her first competition
since 2002 - Ray won the beam with a
9.950 and placed second on vault.
"It's a scary process," Ray said of her
return to the gym.
"The surgery on my shoulder made it
secure, but I was still scared because I
injured it during gymnastics."
Though she had to take "baby steps" for
a while, Ray said she knows her body well
enough to know what she had to do. In fact,
she felt so good about her redeveloped
skills that she started to expect a little too
much of herself.
"It felt like I hadn't even taken any time
off," Ray said of competing in the team's
intrasquad meet to begin the season. "But
then my expectations went very high for
myself, so that when the first couple of
meets didn't go perfect, I was disappointed.
"Then I kind of had to step back and say,
'Elise, you took a year off, give yourself a
break.' I really just took a step back and
That kind of focus allowed her to win the
all-around last weekend at the Wolverines'
first home meet of the season against
Michigan State, scoring 9.900 on three
At this point, Plocki said Ray may start
adding in some bigger moves to help her
routines. These moves were left out to
begin the season in order to help her get
back on her feet.
"She started with some pretty basic rou-
tines, for her what are fairly simple rou-
tines, but still have 10.0 start values,"
Plocki said. "When you're coming back
Senior Elise Ray sat out most of last season with a shoulder injury, but you wouldn't know it with her strong performances this season.
from an injury, you have to regain confi-
dence. You can't be going out there think-
ing, 'Oh my gosh, I hope (my shoulder)
doesn't do that again.' "
Plocki isn't afraid to draw a comparison
to Ray's freshman season, during which she
was coming off of an injury to her other
"She dislocated her other shoulder at the
Olympic games and amazingly continued to
compete," Plocki said. "When she came
here in January, we had to start out really
slow. At the end of the year, she won the
all-around at the NCAA Championships."
A repeat of that performance could be in
For now, though, Ray and her teammates
will concentrate on the upcoming State of
Michigan Classic, in which Michigan will
host four other Michigan schools at 8 p.m.
this Friday at Crisler Arena.
Plaushines/Streifler duo undefeated
Continued from Page 12
matches also used to be a best two-out-
of-three format, as opposed to the
eight-game pro-set format followed
today. The International Tennis Associ-
ation, though, decided that the dual
matches were lasting too long and cre-
ated the doubles point.
"It's a very good format," Ritt said.
"Doubles always counts. I think it
makes it more exciting for the players
Streifler echoed Ritt's enthusiasm for
the current scoring system that revolves
around the doubles point.
"(With the doubles point), your team
is counting on you, and you have to rely
on your team," Streifler said. "(Without
the doubles point), the team aspect of
the game would be lost."
FILE PHOTO With so much importance riding on
winning the doubles point, strategy is
required in choosing doubles pairings.
Ritt explained that pairing players
whose styles of play complement each
other is very important.
"We have so many options," Ritt
said. "We try to come up
with three very competitive
teams, but the.reality is
that we could come up with
more than that."
Ritt has experimented
with a variety of doubles
pairings so far in the sea-
son. This flexibility is a
testament to the depth of
this year's roster.
Streifler also explained that being
aggressive and holding nothing back
have been key factors to the team's dou-
Ritt acknowledged that communica-
tion and chemistry are also
vital to a successful dou-
EKCEND bles pairing, which the
has heavily demonstrated
rida The doubles point will
continue to be a huge factor
}< r in Michigan's upcoming
_____home matches against
Maryland and South Caroli-
na on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Though the doubles competition
occurs at the beginning of each dual
match, the team is always aware of the
impact of the doubles point at the end
of the day.
"You never know what's going to
happen," Ritt sid.
Plaushines and Streifler, for instance,
have played together all year. The duo
has won both of its matches of the sea-
son at No. 3 doubles.
"Our games complement each other
really well," Streifler said. "I'm not
afraid to come to the net if (Plaushines
is) up there with me."
Debra Streifler has been solid when paired with Kim Plaushines In doubles competition.
BLUE'S CHMI RECRUITS
Today is national signing day for senior high school football players. Below is a list of
players who have verbally committed to Michigan and are expected to sign their letters
of intent today. ESPN recruiting guru Tom Lemming ranked Michigan's overall class
third nationally as of Jan.30. Five Michigan players made Lemming's top 100 players
list. Both wide receiver Cameron Colvin and defensive lineman Eugene Germany have
Michigan on their short list and will announce their decisions today. Besides Michigan, Colvin
is looking at USC and Oregon, while Germany is considering USC.
WEIGHT HomTow N
198 Charlotte, N.C.
230 Lake Orion
180 Cedar Rapids, Iowa
315 Albuquerque, N.M.
195 Pomona, Calif.
275 Kennesaw, Ga.
270 Boca Raton, Fla.
290 Riverside, Mont.
175 Syracuse, N.Y
210 West Lawn, Pa.
238 Harvey, Ill.
285 Lake Orion.
210 Madison, Ala.
310 Bay City
240 Wexford, Pa.
188 Farmington Hills
180 Orchard Lake
4.49 40-yard dash
Benched 185 lbs. 27 times
Ranked No. 43 by Lemming
U.S. Army All-American
4.5 40-yard dash
U.S. Army All-American
CaliFlorida Bowl participant
Ranked No.49 by Lemming
91 pancake blocks in Jr. year
137 tackles, 6 sacks in Sr. year
4.4 40-yard dash
Ranked No. 7 by Lemming
Ranked No. 18 by Lemming
Missed Sr. year w/ knee injury
Ranked No. 73 by Lemming
Brother of Pat Massey
Michigan all-state selection
4.7 40-yard dash
4.47 40-yard dash
4.5 40-yard dash
4.4 40-yard dash
100 tackles, 10 sacks in Sr. year
s tatistics courtesy of Rivals ~iom, ESPN~com