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March 08, 2004 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-08

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 8, 2004

Columnist risks life, brings original wolverine mascot back to A


The SportsMonday Column
MICHIGAN - As soon as the Daily
reported last week that a wolverine was
spotted in Michigan for the first time in 200
years, I knew what I had to do: drive 90 miles
north of Detroit, find him and bring him back to
his natural habitat.
Why would the wolverine ever come here? He
must be looking for Ann Arbor. Hey, no one ever
heralded the wolverine's sense of direction anyway.
Ahhh ... there he is, clawing up a badger on the
side of the road. After devouring the badger, he
sees my car and puts up his right claw and waves
me over. I roll down the window.
Need a lift home, big guy?
No short jokes, man. Ask the grizzly bear a few
miles back what happens.
Temper, temper. If you're getting in my car, you
need to wash that badger blood off your hands.
Or I could claw your ass and steal your ride.
Not that I'd want a '98 Buick.
Just get in. We've all been waiting 200 years for
this. (The wolverine hops in. At this point, I'm
slightly bewildered at being alive.) So, what
brings you back to Michigan after all these years?
I heard about the Michigan hook-up and had to
find out what the fuss was all about. Haha, just
kidding man, just kidding. The truth is kind of a
long story. I was exiled from Michigan.
What did you do?
I was the mascot for the University of Michigan
in the 1800s.
No way! I go to school there!
Just let me tell my story. I took pride in being
the mascot. I was like a celebrity. Everybody
knew Wally the Wolverine - especially the sorori-
ty girls! Anyway ... one day during a game, I
reverted back to my primal self and just lost con-
trol. It was intermission of a match against Michi-
gan State, and Sparty and I were playing a game
of tag to entertain the fans. There was something
Hoosiers loseto
fourteenth in
a row to
By Stephanie Wright<
Daily Sports Writer

about the way Sparty was running ... like a little
pansy ... I proceeded to maul him from head to
toe. The boy's name was Bubba. He was 19.
I'm really sorry.
So, the University officials exiled me, turned
their backs on me when I needed them the most.
I was ashamed. I roamed the country for more
than a century, drinking my sorrows away. But
no matter where I was, I always kept my eye on
the U of M I've been biding my time to come
back and prove to everyone that I can be a mas-
cot again.
Might want to lick off the rest of that badger
blood before you plead your case. So why come
back now, out of all the times?
There were rumblings in the forest this fall of a
student revolution in Ann Arbor that would signal
my return.
What could you ever be speaking of?
The students stopped "chopping" and started
clawing after third-down stops.
You heard about the claw?!?!
You bet your ass I did. What better sign that it
was time for my return than 20,000 students claw-
ing rabidly in Michigan Stadium? I finally felt
welcome again.
Well, let me warn you: Not everyone has been
converted to the claw. There's actually a tiny
group of students called "Wolverines Against the
What the ... ?
Students have changed a lot since you were
here. They'll protest against anything, even
wolverines having claws. So I'm curious, how
much did you keep up with Michigan sports dur-
ing your exile?
Enough to know that we aren't winning foot-
ball games by 100 points anymore. Enough to
know that Tommy Amaker needs a new look -
and an offensive coordinator to replace the
"swirly" offense we run every trip down the
floor. Enough to know that the hockey team will
make everyone wonder if it will make the NCAA
Tournament, go on a momentous run and lose in
the first game of the Frozen Four.
Damn, Wally, you do know your Michigan
sports. Did you see or hear about the "X-Men" or
"X2" movies, by chance?
Man, you had to bring that up, didn 't you?
That Aussie Hugh Jackman has as much busi-
ness playing a wolverine as Jim Harrick Jr. has

teaching kindergarten.
I don't know, this one is kind of hard: "How
many points does a 3-point field goal account for
in a basketball game?"
Three. Also the number of seconds it takes
before you're offered sex on a recruiting trip to
Hahaha! Wally, you are something else. (We
pull off 1-94 and head toward campus on State
So, what can I expect from my second stint in
Ann Arbor?
Well, they're practically giving away beer around
here these days. One-dollar pitchers on Monday
and Wednesday; it helps with the ladies - and
with being a Michigan fan.
Never needed any help with the ladies.
Thanks, though.
Right, I remember ... Hey, there's Weidenbach
Hall, where the athletic department offices are.
I've got one last question for you: How are they
ever going to believe that you're Wally, the origi-
nal wolverine mascot?
They branded my backside with a block 'M 'At
the time, it hurt like hell, but now it'll come in
pretty handy.
Alright, Wally. This is your stop. It's great to
have you back where you belong!
Thanks for the lift, man. See you on the field
next fall!
(We shake claws and part ways. I watch as he
darts confidently toward Weidenbach, checking
out the 'M' branded on his furry derriere. He
stops abruptly in front of the building because a
predictably obese Ann Arbor squirrel, stuffing
his face, is in his way. Wally stares back at me
with a "please, can I do it?" look.)
This is child's play, man!
Just remember to wash your hands when you're
finished! (He dices up the squirrel, at the same
time making sure no Athletic Department offi-
cials are watching, and throws it aside.)
I'm baaaack, you fat-ass rodent!
Make yourself at home, Wally.
J. Brady McCollough is delirious with excitement
about the return of the wolverine to Michigan.
If you share his feelings, or you
think he's lost it, e-mail him at


This wolverine was sighted last week 90 miles north of Detroit. It was the first
time In about 200 years that a wolverine has been seen in Michigan.

Michigan students made a clean break with tradition last fall, replacing the
"chop" with the "claw" after third-down defensive stops.


Blue comes back to win three straight

Heading into the first Collegiate Water
Polo Association divisional weekend of
the season, the Michigan women's water
polo team had
never lost to Indi-
ana at the varsityNAA
level, compiling a
13-0-1 record since 2001.
Some things never change.
Led by a strong defensive perform-
ance, No. 8 Michigan defeated No. 10
Indiana, 4-1, Saturday in Bloomington.
Junior Betsey Armstrong had a school-
record 24 saves.
Earlier in the day, Michigan defeated
Slippery Rock and Grove City by
scores of 17-8 and 13-3, respectively.
Sophomore Amy Burgin led the
Wolverines' scoring attack in both
games with four goals against Slippery
Rock and three goals against Grove
City. The biggest concern for Michigan
coach Matt Anderson after the first two
games was that his team would have a
letdown against Indiana.
"We still stayed focused for Indiana
and that's the reason we came down

Sophomore Jneane Shlbuya drives the ball against Michigan State earlier this season.

here," Anderson said.
Freshman Shana Welch scored the
first goal of the game against the
Hoosiers, but 93 seconds later, Indiana
tied the game at 1-1. Anderson
believed Welch was a "huge" part of
the win, playing "very well" in her first
extended playing time of the season.
In the second period, the Wolverines
were unable to score on three power-
play opportunities, and the game
remained tied until the end of the third
period, when junior Sheetal Narsai
converted on a four-meter Denalty

Anderson said his team did not ini-
tially play well offensively against
Indiana, attributing some struggles to
the games against Slippery Rock and
Grove City.
"I think that with the first two games
we were kind of lulled into playing a
slower game," Anderson said. "We
readjusted and came out in the second
half and played like we are capable of."
Junior Erin Brown and sophomore
Megan Hausmann each scored in the
fourth period to give Michigan the win.
In spite of Michigan's offensive
woes in the first half, Anderson was
pleased with his team's overall per-
formance, particularly its ability to
focus on defense while playing in front
of a loud crowd.
"The girls needed to go into an
unfriendly environment," Anderson
said. "They needed to not play well
and still come away with a win."
With the three wins on Saturday,
Michigan improved its all-time regular-
season conference record to 27-0.
More important for Anderson, the
Wolverines beat a good team - and
their biggest rival - in Indiana.
"Anytime you can get a victory over
a top-10 team, it's a positive," Ander-
son said. "And we surely didn't want to
lose to another Big Ten team."

ytSikDaily Sports Writer
After his team dropped five consecutive games to open the
2004 campaign, Michigan coach Rich Maloney was far from
"I shook the team up a little bit, made sure their expecta-
tions were in line with mine," Maloney
said. "We don't take too kindly to los- 1CG9
ing five games in a row."
His players got the message this MCHGAN ___
weekend, when they traveled to
Durham for a three-game set. The visit-iW nKElne
ing Wolverines (3-5) trailed in everyMCHGN 2
game, but managed late runs in each to
sweep Duke (7-7). The series featured
11 lead changes, and offered Michigan an opportunity to
show off its true colors.
"We play blue-collar type baseball, tough-nosed baseball,"
Maloney said. "We came from behind when adversity hit,
and we kept battling back."
Michigan's thrilling victory on Sunday showcased the
team's gritty nature. Trailing 6-4 in the ninth inning, the
Wolverines went to work. Scrappy sophomore shortstop
Chris Getz, who scored the
winning run in the first two 5 UNTisWN T
games of the weekend, led off E
the frame with a bunt single. T5E Fu>:
Then 5-foot-6, 165-pound jun- y' r.
ior outfielder Matt Butler e
blasted a double off of the
right-centerfield fence. s
"Matt's small in stature, but )
giant in heart," Michigan
coach Rich Maloney said. "When he hit that ball off the top
of the wall, we said, 'We're going to do this."'
With runners on second and third, freshman outfielder
Brad Roblin delivered. His double to right scored Getz
and Butler, tying the game. Junior first baseman Kyle
Bohm followed by drilling his second game-winning dou-
ble of the series, scoring Roblin and giving Michigan a 7-
6 lead.
"They had given me fastballs all day, and I got a good
pitch over the plate," Bohm said.
The Wolverines added two insurance runs, capping off a
five-run ninth. Aided by Butler's spectacular diving catch in
the bottom half of the inning, freshman Andrew Hess com-
pleted two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief and
earned his first collegiate victory.
The Wolverines' 9-6 win capped off an impressive
"We could have easily lost those games and we found a
way to get things done," Maloney said.
Sophomore reliever Derek Feldkamp was vital in Michi-
gan's first two victories. On Friday, he picked up where

starter Jim Brauer left off. He pitched two and two-thirds
scoreless innings and notched the victory in the 2-1 contest.
Feldkamp then came up with the save in Michigan's 9-8 vic-
tory on Saturday. With the potential tying and winning runs
in scoring position, he struck out pinch hitter Corey Whiting.
"It was a little bit nerve-racking," Feldkamp said. "You.
just have to take a deep breath and focus on the mitt. I was
lucky enough to throw the right pitch in the right spot."
Michigan's hot bats propelled them through the weekend.
Bohm and sophomore third baseman A.J. Scheidt each
picked up eight hits in the series.
While Duke isn't a baseball powerhouse, Maloney under-
stands the importance of three hard-fought road victories for
his young team.
"The kids are learning how to win - it's all part of the
process," Maloney said. "If you find ways to win games like"
we did this weekend, it can be contagious. Come-from-
behind victories are special."


Sophomore reliever Derek Feldkamp had a big weekend
against Duke.

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