The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 19, 2004 - 3B
By Erk Ambinder
Daily Sports Writer
On the day that would decide her
future, outgoing Michigan women's
basketball senior Jennifer Smith was at
her boyfriend's baseball game, waiting
anxiously for the phone call.
Smith's cell phone finally rang on
Saturday afternoon - it was former
teammate Rachel Cortis.
Smith's dream had come true.
The defending WNBA champion
Detroit Shock selected Smith, a Lansing
native, in the third round (32nd overall)
of the 2004 WNBA Draft.
"When people would say, 'What if
you got picked up by the Shock?,' I was
like, 'No way. That would be impossible
because that would be too perfect,' "
Smith said. "It really is a perfect situa-
tion. It's incredible that I'm playing for
such a good team."
With almost every player returning
from last year's 2003 championship
team, Smith's chances of making the
Shock's final roster are debatable. At 6-
foot-4, Smith played primarily center
and forward in her career at Michigan.
Shock coach Bill Laimbeer is looking
to fill spots at center and power for-
ward, and he intends to fill team needs
through the draft rather than free agency
Smith was the fourth player selected
in the draft by the Shock. Detroit select-
ed Iciss Tillis from Duke with its 1lth
pick along with Purdue teammates
Shereka Wright and Erika Valek with
the 13th and 23rd picks overall.
She edited me out, but Ifound
true love as Daily Sports Editor
The Detroit Shock - the 2003 WNBA champions - came calling for Michigan's
Jennifer Smith in the third round of Saturday's WNBA draft.
Moments later, the Shock traded Wright
and Valek to the Phoenix Mercury for
the eighth pick, guard Chandi Jones.
But Smith is pretty sure she will remain
with the Shock.
"(The Shock) called today and want-
ed to get my jersey number, so I'm pret-
ty confident that I'll stick there," Smith
said. "But I know I'll just have to work
really hard and prove to them that I
Smith set Michigan's all-time single-
season scoring record with 659 points
this season, an average of 21.3 points
per game that made her the Big Ten
Scoring Champion. She earned the Pres-
tige Award - Michigan coach Cheryl
Burnett's version of Most Valuable
Player - for her efforts as a Wolverine
this season. She ranks second on Michi-
gan's career scoring list with 1,714
points, trailing just Diane Dietz (1978-
82), who totaled 2,066 points.
"Nobody is more deserving of this
than Jennifer Smith," Burnett said. "She
was unbelievable for us this season and
posted mind-boggling numbers when
you consider our opponents threw a
variety of defenses at her this season,
including double and triple teams. She
worked extremely hard in the offseason
and was rewarded with one of the best
seasons any Michigan player has put
together on both the offensive and
defensive ends of the floor."
Smith is Michigan's fifth WNBA
draftee in the past seven years. She joins
former Wolverines Pollyanna Johns,
Stacey Thomas, Anne Thorius and
Alayne Ingram. Thomas won a title
with the Detroit Shock last season.
"I'm as excited as I could possibly
get," said Smith as she anticipated
Laimbeer's congratulatory phone call.
"This is probably the best situation that
I thought I could be in."
N MEN'S TRACK & FIELD
Eastern helps M' through season
By Phil Kofahl
Daily Sports Writer
For many schools, their biggest rivals live just down the
road only miles away. But for some schools, their neighbors
may just be their greatest training partner.
The Michigan men's track team has has enjoyed great suc-
cess competing and training with the Eastern Michigan track
program for decades now. The Wolverines push their MAC
neighbors at home and away meets. Eastern Michigan stand-
out Jordan Desilets credited his All-American performance at
the NCAA Indoor Championships to the support he received
from the more than 20 Wolverines who traveled to Arkansas.
While the elite men of these two schools took this season
off to train for the Olympics, the future stars for both sides
took to the track against each other during the Eastern Michi-
gan Twilight meet at Olds/Marshall Track in Ypsilanti.
Sophomore Andrew Ellerton and senior Joe Baldwin led
the Wolverines with their regional qualifying performances in
the 800-meter run and long jump, respectively. Ellerton's time
of 1:49.05 and Baldwin's leap of 24-feet-4 1/2 were both per-
sonal bests and their first victories of the outdoor season. The
win for Baldwin was also his first as a Wolverine.
The 800-meter run ended up being a Wolverine-Eagle
showdown, with nine of the 10 runners wearing green or blue.
Junior Rondell Ruff captured third, senior Dan Cooke took
seventh and freshman Sebastien Lounis finished ninth to
round out Michigan's scoring in the event. Ruff's perform-
ance was a best for the season in the 800-meters and a good
indicator of his strength.
"I feel like I'm there in the strength department," Ruff said.
"I've been doing a lot of training, a lot of work in the weight
room to get my legs stronger. I'll start doing a lot more speed
work towards the end of the season."
Ruff will run the 1,200-meter leg in the distance medley
relay at the Penn Relays this weekend, and then attempt a
Regional Qualifying time in the 1,500-meter run at Ohio
State in two weeks.
While Ruff used the race for training, Lounis used it to
solidify his spot on the team.
"I just need to be ready to go out with the front pack and
stay with them," Lounis said. "I'm just getting that confi-
dence that I need for the rest of the season."
Freshman Stann Waithe was Michigan's top sprinter, finish-
ing third in the 200-meter dash and fifth in the 400-meter run.
Both times were a personal best this season, and great signs of
recovery from an injury that cut his indoor season short.
"I thought that my 400 could've been better, so I just
moved on to the 200," Waithe said. "I got out good in the 200
and finished where I felt I should. The weather was great; it
Michigan also gathered plenty of hardware in the field.
Sophomore Adam Kring captured second place in the high
jump with a 6-feet-8 jump. Sophomore Spencer Dowdall set a
personal best in the pole vault with a second-place perform-
ance of 15-feet-7 1/4.
J. BRADY MCCOLLOUGH
The SportsMonday column
B y the time I graduated high
school, I think I had "asked out"
or pursued more than 100 girls.
A few of them really stick out in my
head. I spent third and fourth grade
chasing Erin Jackson around the play-
ground, only to have her choose David
Griffin - who wasn't athletic enough
to chase her anywhere.
In seventh grade, I let the preach-
er's daughter know of my intention to
be her boyfriend. She ended up dat-
ing one of my best friends at the time,
Doug. I had to hear all about it. Let's
just say Doug put good use to his
But no matter how little success I
had finding the love of my life during
adolescence, I always _
knew things would be I came
different in college. campus
They would have to be - love, a
college girls would be
mature and ready for a else. i w
J. Brady-sized com- eXperie
mitment. Id See
I came to this cam- those rl'
pus to fall in love, come
above all else. I wanted
to experience what I'd seen in all
those romantic comedies, and it didn't
take long to find it after I realized it
wasn't anywhere near the dance floor
at the frats.
I met Amy in the computer lab in
South Quad Residence Hall freshman
year. She was a real looker. Great
smile, hearty laugh. She was full of
life, ambitious and intellectually stim-
ulating. I was hooked.
1 was in love.
Love was everything I always
imagined it to be. Love was telling
her things after knowing her for two
days that I had never told my best
friends. Love was listening to every-
thing that came out of her mouth,
soaking it up to the point it became a
part of me. Love was sacrifice, as I
continually ignored my obsession
with videogames and sports to learn
more about her interests.
Love was dependence. Love was her
calling me a day after leaving for the
summer to tell me she missed me
already. It was me tearing up when she
said it. Love was her crying on the
other end of the line a week after we
parted for the summer, and me telling
her it would be OK.
Love was desperate. Love was
telling our parents we were staying at
friend's' houses and meeting in State
College - halfway between our home-
towns of Buffalo, N.Y. and Bethesda,
Md. - for a night. (Sorry, Mom.
Please still come to my graduation!)
Love was going biking later that
summer on a bike that was way too
small for me. Love was her taking care
of me all weekend because I broke my
nose on that bike ride. Love was her
wiping pus off of my nose one minute
and kissing me the next. Love was
considering stunting my growth at the
Daily by covering women's basketball
instead of hockey my sophomore year,
so that I could have more time to
spend with her.
Most of all, love was fleeting.
I realized this standing near the cor-
ner of Packard and Division one night
at the beginning of sophomore year,
bawling my eyes out because she
decided she didn't love me anymore. I
realized it when I left her voicemails
minutes later and said things I never
thought I'd say about her.
Love was suddenly painful and
exposing, and after one relationship, I
had two scars: one on my busted nose
and another on my heart.
Having accepted that my nose
would always bear a scar from Amy, I
had to find a way to start healing the
other. A few days after the break-up
became official, I strapped on a shirt
and tie and marched into 420 Maynard
St. on a mission. I was going to cover
hockey; I had to. The editors at the
time took a chance on me. Maybe they
could see how desperate I was for
something new to love.
Beginning the year in a sophomore
slump, I forced myself to pour my love
into the Daily. From the surface, the
sports section was a bunch of dudes
who loved sports - sweet! But they
were committed dudes. Talented
dudes. Dudes who cared enough about
the paper to give up the traditional col-
I remember the day I fell in love
with the Daily and sports journalism
like it was yesterday. It was a Novem-
ber Saturday night in
o this Omaha, Neb., covering
o fall in the hockey team's series
we all against the Mavericks -
inted to nothing like CCHA hock-
nedhato ey to make a man weak in
the knees. After inter-
in all views that night, I realized
mantic that I was born to be a
ties. sportswriter. Born to be
on the road with the team,
chronicling its agony and ecstasy.
Born to bring athletes to life. Born to
tell their stories. Born to make them
human for you, the fan.
As the scar on my nose became less
glaring, my other scar began to do the
same. I was in love all over again.
Love became an entirely new entity
for me. Love became a battle between
the Daily and my family's wish for me
to get a degree in something practical.
Love was crying myself
to sleep a day after I realize
returning from that was bor
fateful trip to Omaha sports
because my mother - Born to b
always firm in her con- ro
victions - told me that roa 1
if I didn't pass Calculus team.M
3 (a pre-req for my Sta- bring a
tistics major), she tol
would make me quit the
Daily. I was flirting with failing, and I
was scared - as scared as I'd ever
been of anything.
Love was considering dropping my
financial ties to my family and taking
out loans for the rest of my years so that
I could continue working at the Daily
and major in something less practical.
Love was "cowboying up" like a true
Red Sox fan. I hired a tutor and passed
the class. Love was the feeling of seeing
that "P" on Wolverine Access, knowing
that my dream of running the sports
section and covering Michigan football
was still alive. Love was making sure
that I didn't waste another minute on
this campus, and that meant spending
every minute at the Daily.
As Managing Sports Editor in 2003,
I learned more about love than I ever
could have in a relationship with a
girl. I learned about selfless love. It
was my job to put above my own
desires the section as a whole and each
of its 35 to 40 staffers. I gave every-
thing I had to the Daily, but what it
gave back was so much more.
Love waswatching Gennaro Filice,
Daniel Bremmer, Ellen McGarrity and
many others grow as writers and edi-
tors and fall in love with the Daily
under my tutelage. Love was bringing
my best and most real friend, Jim
Weber, back to the Daily because I
knew he needed it as much, if not
more, than I did.
Love was passionate. Love was
sending portfolios to every newspaper
in the country, begging for a chance to
write. Love was screaming like a
school girl on my porch when I got the
call from the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune in
December of my junior year saying
they wanted me to come down for a
few months and write some sports.
Love was the relief in knowing I had
my foot in the door.
Most of all, love was reciprocal.
The movie "Moulin Rouge," while
being cheesy, teaches a timeless les-
son, one that I only could have
learned at the Daily: "The greatest
thing you'll ever learn is just to love
and be loved in return."
The last love
Less than two weeks until gradua-
tion, love is uplifting and depressing at
the same time.
Love is having slumber parties with
Peter Janowski, a.k.a. "The Dude."
Love is calling Eric Ambinder at 3
p.m. Friday, pulling his studious butt
out of the UGLi and taking him to
Dominic's. Love is yelling "BAY-
BAY!" to Mark Bonges as many times
as possible because when I'm intern-
ing at the San Antonio Express-News
this summer, nobody will understand
the power of a "BAY-BAY!" Love is
singing Backstreet Boys' "I want it
that way" with Naweed Sikora Friday
at Mitch's karaoke night. Love is
doing everything I can to know that
when I leave Ann Arbor at
( that I the end of May, there will
to bea be no doubt thatI did it
vrlter. big these four years.
Son the Love is sitting with Jim
Eh the at China Gate a week ago
orn to and talking about why
Mletes graduating from college
is so much worse than
e from high school. It's try-
ing not to tear up thinking
about how it's almost over LoVe is
seeing Bob Hunt in the Union, won-
dering if I'll ever see him again and
giving him a bear-hug. Love is uncer-
tainty and instability in the face of an
This is it for us - me, the crazy
sports columnist and you, the reader
who somehow bears with me for 35
love-filled inches even when you have
doubts about where I'm going. Some
of you are lucky enough to be coming
back next fall. Here's a tidbit from an
old-timer: Love can be experienced in
many ways. Make sure you give
somebody or some place your love
before you go.
Thanks to Mom, Dad, Granny and
Granddaddy, who loved me and taught
me how to love. I can be reached at
email@example.com. AndI'm out.
.WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD
Split squad builds up confidence
By Gabdela D'Jan
Daily Sports Writer
If no one on the Michigan women's
track and field team wins an event, does
it mean the meet was unsuccessful? No,
especially if the meet is non-scoring.
In fact, at the Eastern Michigan Twi-
light, even though not a single event was
won, the depth of the program revealed
itself. With two meets scheduled for the
same weekend, the team split: Nine
members went to Ypsilanti to face
regional competitors, while the other
group headed to Walnut Lake, Calif., for
the Mt. SAC Relays to face collegiate,
sponsored and international competition
- there were even runners hailing
everywhere from Brazil to Slovenia.
However, it was at the local meet that
less-worked athletes excelled, gaining
experience and confidence in the lime-
light. Competing against the finest from
Central Michigan and Eastern Michi-
gan, senior Annessa Schnur's debut per-
formance in her outdoor season was
notable. Her event-filled weekend con-
sisted of a personal best and third place
finish in the high jump (5-feet-4 1/4),
an 11th place finish in the long jump
(17-feet-3 1/2), and a 22nd place finish
in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of
"I was pleased with the high and long
jumps," Schnur said. "The running
events weren't so great. But then again,
these were the first races of my outdoor
season, so I think it's still a good start."
to competing in the heptathlon, which is
comprised of seven events. After receiv-
ing a cortisone shot in the knee in
December, Schnur has had an easy
recovery and is eager to compete in all
seven events next weekend.
Schnur finds the time commitment
more strenuous than the physical
demands: "It is difficult in the sense
that you are expected to be in two dif-
ferent places in the same time."
Freshman Jackie Gaydos did not have
the same problems - as she competed
in just the 1,500-meter run - but she
did find similar success as Schnur. Gay-
dos tied her best time in the event
(4:32.83) and finished fourth. She needs
to drop three seconds from her time in
order to make the cut for regionals.
"This meet was a lot more relaxed,"
said Gaydos, who ran at the Eastern
meet. "The competition wasn't as good,
and we didn't bring the full team, but
for the people who competed, it was a
Schnur found it slightly challenging
not having Michigan coaches present at
the Ypsilanti eventh- especially in the
jumping events, where form is such an
integral part of the sport.
The coaching staff accompanied
the other group of athletes to the
West Coast. Although Michigan had
not competed in the Mt. SAC Relays
for the past two years, it was impera-
tive that the team send as many sen-
iors as possible to this meet. With
graduation on May 1, the senior
for that weekend, and will just have
three more opportunities to qualify
for their events in the NCAA Region-
al Championships on May 28.
Juniors Andrea Parker and Ana Gjes-
dal posted regional qualifying times in
the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Parker
clocked in with a time of 10:42 for fifth
place, and Gjesdal finished shortly after
in eighth place at 10:44. Sprinters and
throwers also competed.
The Wolverines will divide up
again and head to Des Moines, Iowa,
and Philadelphia, Pa., for the final
round of relays.
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