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April 20, 2004 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-20

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01

12A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Tendinitis keeps Taylor out

By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer
Last season's most dominant
Michigan pitcher, Drew Taylor,
will remain out of action for a min-
imum of three more weeks. The
junior, who was a member of the
All-Big Ten first team as a starting
pitcher in 2003, has been suffering
from tendinitis in his arm that
forced the team to take him out
three weeks ago.
"It got to the point (the doctors)
wanted him to shut down," Michi-
gan coach Rich Maloney said. "He
can't do anything right now until
we get a release from the doctors."
The team declined to be more
specific on the nature of the injury.
Even if Taylor starts throwing off
the mound in three weeks, he faces
the daunting challenge of rebuild-
ing his arm strength before the end
of the season.
"It doesn't look good that we are
going to be able to get him back
(this year)," Maloney said.

After lasting just 11 batters in the
season opener against Florida,
when he gave up four hits in his
only inning of work, Taylor was
pegged by Illinois-Chicago for
seven runs. His command was
clearly not there.
"(During my) second start I real-
ly felt it a lot," Taylor said. "After
that, I knew it was something that
had to be checked out."
He hasn't pitched since.
During his sophomore season,
Taylor registered a 9-1 record with
five complete games and a 3.97
ERA. After the season, Baseball
America projected him to claim
another spot on the All-Big Ten
first team.
Because he cannot throw right
now, Taylor has been running to
keep his legs and lower body in
shape. While the Wolverines are on
the diamond, he finds himself try-
ing to keep his teammates up.
"During games I'm just being
into it, be as vocal as possible and
trying be a good example (to my

teammates)," Taylor said.
In his absence, redshirt junior
Jim Brauer, junior Michael Penn
and sophomore Derek Feldkamp
have tried to share the ace duties.
"It's always frustrating when you
are not playing," Taylor said. "But
I'm not frustrated at all with the
way the other guys are playing. It's
been very exciting."
Brauer was blowing fastballs
past the Illini during his start on
Saturday. Feldkamp, who is coming
off of Big Ten co-Pitcher-of-the-
Week honors, pitched his second-
straight complete game Saturday,
while Penn has shouldered the
most innings of any Wolverine
pitcher (46).
"It hurts 'cause he was our best
guy last year. But the other guys
have been starting to pick it up for
us," pitching coach John Lowery
said.
Until he receives the clearance to
pitch, the Toronto native will con-
tinue to cheer from the bench along
the third base line at The Fish.

ASHLEY HARPER/Daily
Pitcher Drew Taylor - one of Michigan's most reliable starters last year - will miss at least three more weeks with an arm
injury. The Junior went 9-1last season with a 3.97 ERA.

Brannen, Willis head west to
try for Olympic qualifications

Wolverines will count
on Olin at Big Tens

By Phil Kofahl
Daily Sports Writer
Four months from now, they'll probably be walking
into the Olympic stadium in Athens, wearing the col-
ors of their homeland in front of a world audience. But
right now, they're just trying to make it through finals.
Junior Nate Brannen and sophomore Nick Willis of
the Michigan men's track and field team are just
months (and fractions of a second) away from being
part of the 27th running of the modern summer
Olympic games. Brannen and Willis have both red-
shirted the Michigan outdoor season to concentrate
solely on getting ready for Athens. Brannen is three

tenths of a second off from qualifying for the Canadi-
an team in the 800-meter run, while Willis is a mere
tenth of a second away from qualifying in the 1,500-
meter run for New Zealand.
"It's every kid's dream to go to the Olympics," Bran-
nen said. "It's always been a dream of mine. When I
was in high school and I made the World Champi-
onships, I really started to believe. I always saw 2008
as the goal, but when I broke the Canadian high school
record, it hit me that 2004 was a real possibility."
Brannen and Willis have been training together for
the past month, but soon they'll begin to concentrate
on their own events. The runners will take their shots
at the Olympic qualifying standard this June when
they travel out west to compete in the Prefontaine
Classic and some other elite Oregon meets. If either
doesn't make the standard while out West, he will
have to travel to Europe for the last-chance meets.
"We'd really like to get the times out of the way,"
Willis said. "Then we'll just get back to Ann Arbor
and our familiar surroundings."
Once Brannen has hit the standard, he will have to
place fourth or better at the Canadian Track Cham-
pionships.
They won't be training alone though - they'll have
plenty of help getting there. Former Olympians Kevin
Sullivan and Paul McMullen, as well as U.S. Indoor
3,000-meter record holder Tim Broe will join them on
Michigan's track to train for the Olympics themselves.
Sullivan, a former Wolverine great, will try to reclaim
his spot that he held on the 2000 Canadian team in the
1,500-meter run. McMullen, a fierce competitor of
Sullivan's when he was at Eastern Michigan, will try
to grab one of the three spots on the U.S. team in the
1,500-meter run.
All these runners will be Ann Arbor for one reason -
Ron Warhurst. The Michigan men's track and cross
country coach has each runner's personal training
planned until the first day of the Olympics, and he
believes that Brannen's and Willis's trips to the
Olympics are not a matter of if, but when.

ASHLEY HARPER/Daily
Reigning 800-meter NCAA Indoor track champion Nate
Brannen hopes to compete for Canada In the Olympics.
"There's no doubt that Nate will get his time within
a month, Warhurst said. "And Nick is there already
... it's only a matter of time with these guys - each
one is more than capable."
Having such a strong training group at home gives
Brannen and Willis a huge edge in their training. They
don't have to travel to a training center and train with a
new coach. They will get to live in their houses, train
in a familiar environment and prepare for the biggest
sporting event in the world.
"What keeps me most motivated is knowing that 95
percent of the population (of New Zealand) will be
watching me," Willis said. "Here's this little kid from
Lower Hutt competing against the world. That's the
real motivator."

By Katie Niemeyer
Daily Sports Writer
Armed with strong leadership
and a tight team bond, the Michi-
gan women's golf team heads to
Columbus on Friday for the Big
Ten Tournament.
After a disappointing sixth place
last weekend at the Lady Boiler-
maker Invitational, the Wolverines
are geared up for a rematch with
the Big Ten teams.
Coach Kathy Teichert believes
the Wolverines can be competitive
with favorites Michigan State and
Ohio State if every player can play
well in every round.
"There are so many teams that
can be beat," Teichert said.
"It all depends on who's
hot that particular weekend. We can
be hot. We just haven't put three
solid rounds together.
I feel like we have so much talent
on our team that, when they can put
it all together, nothing's going to
stop them."
To pull it all together at the Big
Tens, this young Michigan team
will need strong leadership from
junior captain Laura Olin, both on
and off the course.
"We have an extremely young
team playing, and so the freshmen
and sophomores are still looking to
me to lead them," Olin said. "I'm
the one who says, 'Let's get fired
up' before we play."
Averaging 76.47 strokes per
round, Olin has found herself at the
top of the scoreboard twice this sea-
son. She has led the Wolverines in
scoring in 10 out of 11 tournaments
so far.
Olin will have to continue to be
strong mentally and strike the ball
consistently all weekend.
"Every time she tees it up we're

counting on her for her scores,"
Teichert said. "Her striking capabil-
ity and the number of greens she
hits are the best on the team."
Olin can't win the tournament on
her own; freshmen Brianna Broder-
ick and Ali Stinson and sophomore
Amy Schmucker will all have to
step up their games this weekend.
Teichert has asked a lot of these
young players.
With a season low of 73, Broder-
ick averages 79.56 strokes per
round. She is the only player who
has topped Olin at all this season.
Teichert believes that the 11 tourna-
ments she's competed in have really
helped her mentally.
"I think that (Broderick's) confi-
dence level has significantly
increased," Teichert said.
Stinson has played in every tour-
nament and has broken 80 in 13 out
of 32 rounds, finishing in the top 10
three times this season.
"Ali's consistent," Teichert said.
"She consistently hits the ball down
the middle. I think her length has
improved."
Schmucker earned her best career
finish at the Wolverine Invitational
this season, placing third. She has
averaged 78.28 strokes per round.
As a sophomore, she must support
Olin as a leader on the team.
"Amy is a true competitor,"
Teichert said. "We know that we
have to count onr her every time.
She has the ability to shoot some
really low numbers"
All these girls say that their
bonds with their teammates have
reallymotivated them to improve
this season.
"We're a team," Broderick said.
"Everything is great among us. The
chemistry is fantastic. Coach
Teichert has brought in a great
bunch of girls."

. 1

ASHLEY HARPER/Daily
Nick Willis, right, needs to improve his 1,500-meter
run time by one second to qualify for the Olympic trials.

SIMMs
Continued from Page MA
Simms hopes that her 'little sister' -
freshman Kiana Stringfield - willa
follow in her footsteps.
"As a captain, I've tried to help
people stay focused," Simms said.
"I've learned how to organize a
group of girls that come from dif-
ferent backgrounds and have differ-
ent views and help them work
together."
While Simms is the first to praiseI
teamwork, the most valuable thing
she learned applies to the individual.
"I've realized that, to be a good
athlete, you can't wait for a coach to
tell you what to do, you just have to
do it yourself," she said.
This Thursday, the team will par-
ticipate in the Drake Relays. While
the Wolverines did not attend this
meet last year, the event has had a
sold-out crowd of 18,000 people for
the past 38 years - the longest
streak in U.S. track history. Distance
and spring relays are the main focus
of this meet. The rest of the Wolver-
ines will head to Pennsylvania for
the Penn Relays.
As for Simms's future, even with
graduate school in the picture, she
plans to keep running.
"It's hard to say if I will compete
next year, but I just can't imagine
stopping," Simms said.

Clarett, Williams out of NFL Draft

NEW YORK (AP) - Maurice Clarett's bid to jump to
the NFL was blocked yesterday by a federal appeals court
that left open the possibility he could enter a supplemental
draft.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put on hold a
lower-court decision to allow the former Ohio State star and
other athletes, like Southern California's Mike Williams, to
enter this weekend's draft.
Players are barred from the NFL until three years after
high school graduation under current league rules.
The appeals court said it stayed the earlier ruling to safe-
guard the NFL from harm and to ensure a more thorough
review. Its final opinion will probably be issued after the
draft, perhaps weeks from now.
Any potential harm to Clarett would be lessened by the
NFL's agreement to hold a supplemental draft if the appeals
court later ruled in his favor, the court added.
The ruling came on the same day Williams filed his own
lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan, saying the NFL had
issued conflicting statements about eligibility for the draft,
thus causing him to sacrifice his college career. Williams
hired an agent, which usually means a player cannot return
to play in college.
But Williams's college coach, Pete Carroll, said it was
possible the wide receiver could return to school.
"We'll continue to help our guy out, just like we did
when he was making his decision," Carroll said. "Nothing
definitive has been declared by the NCAA. Some steps
would have to be taken for the players to get back into col-
lege football."
Although Clarett never announced he hired an agent,
there have been reports that he did. He was never cleared by
Ohio State or the NCAA to play after being suspended last
year for accepting money from a family friend and for lying

about it to NCAA and university investigators.
NCAA spokesman Jeff Howard would not comment
specifically on the Clarett case; but he said players who hire
agents could be reinstated if the school petitions the organi-
zation.
"The individual facts of each case ultimately will deter-
mine whether or not an athlete is reinstated," he said.
NCAA president Myles Brand said if the NFL ultimately
loses the case that graduation rates for football players
could decrease significantly.
"Not because of the small number that may be eligible to
go to the NFL," he said. "But rather because of the literally
thousands of wannabes who will give up concentrating on
their studies, both in high school and college, for that one-
in-a-million chance to get in the NFL. And they will be the
losers."
After more than an hour of arguments, though, the
appeals court said the NFL showed it could win its case.
League lawyer Jeff Pash said simply that the league was
"pleased." Clarett's lawyer, Alan Milstein, did not return
telephone messages asking for comment.
Clarett led Ohio State to a national title as a freshman but
was ruled ineligible as a sophomore. Williams declared for
the draft after a lower court ruled in Clarett's favor.
Seven others also declared for the draft after the initial
ruling, but none is a prospect.
U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled in Feb-
ruary that Clarett should be allowed in the draft. She said
the rule excluding him violates antitrust law and unjustly
blocks a player from pursuing his livelihood.
If a subsequent ruling makes Clarett eligible, the league
could hold a supplemental draft, something it has done for
players who entered the draft late since 1977, NFL lawyer
Gregg A. Levy said.

TONY DING/Daily
Sophomore Amy Schmucker has been one of the Wolverines' most consistent
performers this year, averaging under 79 strokes per round.

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