The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 16, 2004 - 7B
Ryals, Ray lead Blue
home upset of Utah
Seniors lead team to win
in farewell home meet
By Jeremy Antar
Daily Sports Writer
In a match-up between two perennial
powers in collegiate gymnastics, the
No. 12 Michigan women's gymnastics
team defeated No. 4 Utah at Crisler
Arena on Saturday 196.725-196.350.
The victory improved Michigan's
home record to a
perfect 3-0 this lllAl 16.50
season. Senior I G .
Calli Ryals and
junior Elise Ray both put forth clutch
performances, capturing first place and
second place in the all-around competi-
"We definitely proved that we can
hang with the top teams," Ryals said.
"Mentally, we're showing a lot of confi-
dence right now."
Michigan trailed 147.675 to 147.325
heading into the final rotation, which
the Wolverines competed on the floor
exercise and Utah took on the balance
On the floor exercise, Michigan
seemed to be scoring in pairs. Fresh-
man Carol McNamara and senior
Christine Mantilia opened the event,
each earning a 9.800. Sophomore
Becca Clauson and freshman Lindsey
Bruck followed by capturing two
scores of 9.875. Ryals and Ray closed
out the competition with nearly perfect
execution, both scoring a 9.925. The
overall team score on the floor exercise
of 49.400 was enough to overcome
Utah's .350 lead entering the final
event, and it secured the 196.725-
196.350 victory for Michigan.
Even though Michigan trailed head-
ing into the final event, the Wolverines
approached the event just as they would
have had they been ahead. Coach Bev
Plocki said she did not feel the need to
tell the team that they were behind.
"There's no sense in talking about
being behind because all that will do is
increase pressure, and an increase in
pressure is usually a sure way to
decrease performance," Plocki said.
"We just concentrate on trying to hit our
Michigan had to deal with the
absence of junior Chelsea Kroll due to
injury. In her place, junior Kara Rosella
stepped in and contributed strongly to
the team's success. Rosella captured a
9.775 on the balance beam and a 9.725
on the uneven bars.
"I was really proud of Kara Rosella
tonight," Plocki said. "She hung in
there like a champion and hit her rou-
tine for us."
Plocki said that while she was
pleased to get the win, she did not
feel that either team performed at its
"Obviously you would rather beat
somebody on everybody's best day, but
we'll certainly take it and get better
from here," Plocki said.
After three consecutive home meets,
Michigan will get back on the road next
week when they travel to West Virginia.
By Steven Shears
Daily Sports Writer
Senior Foley Dowd felt at ease before
yesterday's wrestling meet, his last in
Maybe he felt that way because the
coaches and fans honored the five
departing seniors before their last home
meet. Maybe it was because Dowd's
parents were in
town from New
Jersey to see him MICHiG4
compete one last
time at Cliff Keen Arena. Maybe he felt
that way because he has never lost a
match at home since his freshman year.
Or maybe that's just how Dowd,
ranked second nationally, prepares
himself before every meet. If it is, it
Dowd stepped off his home mat vic-
torious for the last time yesterday when
he destroyed Wisconsin's Ed Gutnik 10-
1. The No. 3 Wolverines went on to
defeat the No. 12 Badgers 24-16.
Michigan also defeated Indiana 22-12
on Friday in Bloomington.
"It's pretty emotional," Dowd said
about wrestling for his last time at
home. "But actually this is the calmest
I've ever felt. Usually, everyone gets a
little nervous before their match. But I
just felt really at home and relaxed and
calm. It really allowed for me to enjoy
my last match. My parents, my girl-
friend, all my friends are here - they're
all here to watch me wrestle and win
my last match here."
McFarland elaborated on Dowd's
preparation methods: "Foley is like that;
he likes to calm down and relax before
he competes, and that's when I think he
is at his best."
Fellow senior Pat Owen, ranked
fourth nationally, also left Ann Arbor on
top, literally, when he scored a three-
point near fall in the first period and
almost garnered his 11th pin of the sea-
son. Even though Owen couldn't quite
earn the fall, he scored a major decision
in his 15-4 victory over the Badgers'
In the final match of the afternoon,
the last remaining senior starter, Clark
Forward, tried to make it 3-for-3 for the
Wisconsin's Tyler Laudon held a 3-2
advantage over the senior with only a
few seconds remaining. Forward shot
and almost landed the winning take-
down, but Laudon kicked out as the last
second ticked off the clock.
"Clark wrestled his heart out and did
his best to win," Dowd said.
McFarland agreed, adding: "Every-
one in the arena was pulling for him to
win that match. I know it's disappoint-
ing, but he's done a great job."
The crowd was also pulling for
Nick Roy during the freshman's
match-up against Wisconsin's tenth-
ranked Ralph DeNisco. For most of
the season, Roy had been battling
with fellow Wolverine R.J. Boudro
for the starting spot on Michigan's
roster at 174 pounds. But Roy might
have ended the debate yesterday
when he prevented DeNisco from
escaping at the end of the third peri-
od to ensure a 2-1 victory.
"I just wanted to get a win," Roy said.
"I've been losing a lot of close matches
to top-ranked guys. It's great to get a
win, work hard, and see improvements."
McFarland hopes all the underclass-
men share Roy's work ethic and some-
day become the leaders that the seniors
"I can't say enough about my sen-
iors," McFarland said. "I'm real proud
of them and how they've done in and
out of their classrooms. They're all
great student athletes: they do well in
school, they're good kids and they
work. These are the kind of kids we
want to bring through the program
and represent Michigan well."
Michigan senior Calli Ryals paced the Wolverines by winning the all-around
competition. She ended her performance with a nearly flawless floor routine.
SMEN'ST & FIELD
'M' qualifies for two more events at NCAAs
By Phil Kofahl
Daily Sports Writer
The schedule for Michigan athletes at the
NCAA Indoor Track Championships got even
busier after the Wolverines competed this
weekend at the Sykes-Sabok Challenge Cup in
State College, Penn. Michigan automatically
qualified athletes in two more events for
Nationals. The distance medley relay was the
highlight of the weekend for the Wolverines.
Michigan won the race by 17 seconds, coming
in at 9:29.79, more than five seconds less than
the qualifying mark. The performance was a
mere .03 seconds off of the relay team's third-
place finish last year at Nationals. The time
may suggest an all out effort, but the runners
were holding back.
"None of us were pushing real hard," sopho-
more Nick Willis said. "We were just getting
the time we needed. With the other guys run-
ning the 800 the next day, we just did what we
Indeed, Nate Brannen and Andrew Ellerton
left enough in the tank for the 800-meter run.
Brannen automatically qualified for Nationals
with his runner-up performance. His time of
1:48.16 is the third-fastest time in the nation
this season. Ellerton was less than a second off
of the automatic standard, but his 1:49.13 per-
formance makes him a provisional qualifier in
the event. Jeff Porter was the other provisional
qualifier for the Wolverines, qualifying in the
60-meter hurdles while earning second place.
A provisional qualifier is eligible to go the
national meet if there are a low number of com-
petitors who automatically qualify for the
Qualifying runners for Nationals isn't new for
Michigan, but having a team leave a meet as
champion is. Since the team scarcely competes
as an entire unit during the season, winning a
title has been a long time coming. Michigan was
led by four first-place performances as they
edged out Central Michigan University by 1.5
points in the final event. Going into the second
day of competition in third place, a complete
team effort boosted the Wolverines ahead of the
Chippewas and Kent State. Every point counted
as 17 different athletes earned points for the
Maize and Blue.
In the field, sophomore Adam Kring and
freshmen Michael Whitehead captured first
place finishes. Kring out-leaped the pack by
nearly two inches in a season-best jump of
6'10.75". Whitehead collected his second win in
only his second meet of the season. His jump of
49'4.5" is a season best and just five inches
short of his personal best.
Michigan's other first-place finish came from
freshmen John D'Arcy in the 600-meter run.
D'Arcy captured his fourth win of the season
with a personal best of 1:19.40.
But, even with all their success, the Wolver-
ines trailed by six and a half points going into
the 4x400-meter relay. Needing a second-place
finish to secure a win, the entire team lined the
track to cheer.
Michigan kept itself in close contention for
the first three legs of the race, and when Junior
Darnell Talbert received the baton, they were in
good position to get the second-place finish they
needed. Talbert surged past Cornell's final run-
ner in the final 50 meters to give his team the
second-place finish and team title. Head coach
Ron Warhurst couldn't have been happier with
his team's performance.
"We did very well, the team was just great,"
Warhurst said. "Every time you win, it gives the
team a great deal of confidence. It will only help
us stay sharp mentally for Big Ten's."
Michigan senior Pat Owen defeated the Badgers' Chad Steldt yesterday. He was
one of five seniors honored before the final home meet of the year.
O o o e 0 0 0 .V,
Department of R(
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7 R -_
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