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September 20, 2004 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-20

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2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 20, 2004

Wu woos Michigan with her table tennis skills

Athlete of the Week

By Ben Vass
For the Daily
If you had a class with her, you might not expect you
were sitting next to a student who was just two spots
away from making the U.S. Olympic team. If you
walked by her on campus, the 5-foot-6 freshman from
Potomac, Md., wouldn't look too intimidating. But in
the sport of table tennis, Katherine Wu will own you.
"You don't have to be big in table tennis, it's just a
ping pong ball," Wu said.
An internationally ranked competitor, Wu is
expected to be one of the top players in the Michigan
Table Tennis Club. Just recently, she was two spots
away from making the 2004 U.S. Olympic team in
table tennis doubles. Considering all the accomplish-
ments on Wu's resume, she remains rather modest
about her abilities.
"It was doubles, so I had the help of my partner,"
Wu said. "My chances of actually getting into the
Olympics weren't very good to begin with, but it
would have been really cool if I made (the team)."
Since the age of 8, Wu has competed in several nation-
al and North American championships, 10 consecutive
U.S. Table Tennis Opens and a number of junior and
professional tours. Her record has boosted her current
rating to 2,126 points, just 300 short of the top 25 (the
top player has a score of 2,793). Now, Wu continues to
participate on the Junior National Team and is happy to

get the chance to play for Michigan as well.
And her teammates are just as excited to have their
new addition.
"We had a really good freshman recruitment
this year," junior table tennis club president Bryant
Shain said.
Even though Michigan has the largest collegiate
table tennis club in the nation, Wu is only one of a
few women competing on the team. Junior co-vice
president Nicole Lynn Mellian was the first female to
hold the position of an officer in the club's history and
hopes to increase the female representation.
"We're really trying to encourage girls to come out
to join the team," said Mellian.
To many, table tennis is played in basements
where it is commonly called ping pong. It's
known as a game where do-overs are likely and
play is determined by house rules. In a game that
is named for the sound its ball makes as it bounces
across the table, Wu understands why some don't
take it too seriously.
"It's not a game like football or basketball," Wu
said. "When I talk about (the sport), if I call it ping
pong, I don't get very much respect. But when I call it
table tennis, people think I'm trying to make it sound
like some hardcore sport."
While the sport is viewed as less intense by those
in the recreational realm of table tennis, professional
competitors commonly invest "hardcore" money in

their equipment.
"You'd never imagine that this paddle costs $140,"
Wu said, displaying a carbon fiber blade that is sur-
rounded by two different sheets of synthetic rubber
on the surfaces.
Her paddle was made by her sponsor company,
"Butterfly." Since table tennis isn't an NCAA-recog-
nized sport, there aren't any rules governing player
sponsorships. The paddle aids her in her signature
move, "The Drop Shot." The move involves hitting
the ball on a down stroke, increasing its backspin
and loosing its momentum, effectively dropping the
ball very close to the net on the opponent's side. The
move proves difficult to return, especially when Wu
plays against male opponents.
"Guys tend to put a lot of top spin on the ball, and I
always reverse (the spin) so the ball drops just on the
other side of the net," Wu said.
If the ball is returned, her opponent's only option is
to pop the ball up high enough to get it back over the
net, setting up Wu with a perfect overhand smash to
drive the point home.
On Oct. 1, Wu will travel to Vancouver to try to
qualify for her second Junior World Championships,
which will be held this year in Japan. As far as the next
Olympics goes, Wu is keeping her options open.
"I'm sort of looking into the next Olympics," Wu
said. "At Michigan, I'm very busy with my classes,
but we'll see. I'll let you know in four years."

Name: Jessica Blake
Hometown: Perth, Australia

Team: Field Hockey
Class: Senior

Why: Blake led the No. 9 ranked Michigan field
hockey team to an 11-0 shutout victory vs. Central
Michigan on Friday with a four- goal effort. She
added yet another goal to her record yesterday in
the Wolverines' win over Northeastern. Blake's
scoring total for the season is now 11 goals.




Field Hockey at Indiana
M Soccer at Rutgers
W Soccer at Minnesota
Volleyball at Iowa
Football vs. Iowa
Volleyball at Minnesota

Piscataway N.J.
Iowa City
Ann Arbor

4 p.m.
6 p.m.
7 p.m.
7 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
7 p.m.

Walter leads pack of
dominant Wolverines

Third time's a charm:
M' spikers win agai

By Erin Saling
For the Daily

The Michigan volleyball team
bumped, set and spiked its way through
the weekend's competition and was
crowned tournament champion the
third week in a row.
Though the Wolverines suffered their
first loss of the season at the Michigan/
Nike Invitational this weekend, they
proved that it didn't shake them when
they defeated nationally-ranked Ten-
nessee in the tournament final.
"We knew it was going to be a tough
tournament for us," senior co-captain
Sarah Allen said. "Virginia Tech, West-
ern (Michigan) and Tennessee are really
good teams, and we had to play our 'A'
game because each night we played, the
teams were going to get tougher."
Michigan rebounded from its loss
to Western Michigan from the first
day of the tournament by defeating
the previously undefeated No. 22
Lady Vols 3-1 in the championship
match Saturday. The Wolverines won
the first game of the match before they
lost grip of the second game, which
tied the match up at one. Tennessee
found gaps in Michigan's defense
and pulled away with a 12-4 lead.
The Wolverines' hitting percentage
dwindled to .024, one of their lowest
percentages of the season.
"We rolled over. We just let them
walk all over us and that's not how we

should play at home," Allen said. "We
know that when someone comes in our
gym and wants to beat us, they're going
to have to fight. We came back out and
played for the block 'M.' We played for
Michigan fought back with a resil-
ient defensive effort. Sophomores Erin
Cobler and Megan Bowman and fresh-
man Lyndsay Miller exhausted the
attacking efforts of Tennessee, record-
ing an impressive seven blocks a piece.
"We knew we had to play great
defense, pass well and execute, or else
we weren't going to win," Allen said.
Determined to send the Vols back
home with a flaw in their perfect
record, Michigan released its offensive
prowess late in the match. Senior Lisa
Gamalski recorded her first triple-dou-
ble of her career, collecting 10 digs, 21
kills and 42 assists. Freshman Katie
Bruzdzinski, senior Jennifer Gandolph
and Bowman successfully combined
for 36 kills.
In the first round, Michigan pounced
on Virginia Tech, 3-0, to advance to the
semifinals. Bruzdzinski led the Wolver-
ines with a stunning eight aces and 12
kills, while Miller owned the net with
seven blocks.
Michigan lost its first game of the
season on Friday. Gandolph set a new
school record for career digs in the sec-
ond game. She finished with 15 digs
and 14 kills, marking her first double-

By Jack Herman
For the Daily
impressive showing at the Indiana
State Invitational last week, the No.
7 Michigan women's cross country
team came out strong Friday. The
Wolverines placed six runners in
the top 10 at the Spartan Invita-
tional, a nonscoring team meet.
Despite the positive performance,
Michigan coach Mike McGuire still
feels the Wolverines can perform at
a better level.
"I thought it was okay," McGuire
said. "There were a few things bet-
ter than last week, but not necessar-
ily collectively."
Team depth was one area of con-
cern for McGuire.
"We need to sure up a bit beyond
our fifth runners," McGuire said.
McGuire also noted that some
of the younger runners need to get
used to the 6K races that will be run
at this year's remaining meets. Last
week's meet at Indiana State was
only a 5K.
One big surprise of the race was
Michigan State freshman Danette
Doetzel. She won the race with a
time of 20:52, beating Michigan
junior Rebecca Walter, the defend-
ing Big Ten champion, by 21 sec-
onds. Walter finished in second
place with a time of 21:13.
"It was a little bit of an off day
for Walter but she will be fine," said

Walter - who was Michigan's
top runner for the seventh time in a
row - did manage to catch Doetzel
mid-race. But then she herself held
back, assuming Doetzel would fade.
But the Spartan freshman kept her
pace and went on to win the race.
"She had more heart than I
thought," Walter said. "Coming off
the race last week we were not as
fresh, but there were good perfor-
mances from certain individuals."
McGuire did mention many posi-
tives to take out of the race such as
strong performances by freshman
Jackie Gaydos (21:51) and sopho-
more Katie Erdman (21:57), who
came in sixth and eight places,
Seniors Sarah Pizzo (third place,
21:19) and Andrea Parker (fifth
place, 21:31) also ran strong and
stayed together for most of the race.
"It's nice to have someone to lean
on," said Parker about running next
to Pizzo. "It really makes the race
go quicker."
Junior Theresa Feldkamp rounded
out the top 10 for Michigan - she
came in 10th with a time of 22:03.
Freshman Alyson Kohlmeier was
held out of the race because of a
small hip problem.
Next up for the Wolverines is the
Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 1.
The race will include many of the bet-
ter teams from across the country.
"We will be tested at Notre
Dame," McGuire said "Stanford
(the No. I team in the country) will
be there."
takes control

Freshman Lyndsay Miller, along with sophomores Erin Cobler and Megan Bowman,
each racked up an impressive seven blocks In their game against Tennessee.

double of the season.
Bowman and Miller worked together
for an impressive 36 kills as Gamalski
also recorded a double-double with 54
assists and 10 digs.

Michigan has a record of 9-1 and 1-0
against ranked opponents in 2004. The
Wolverines open the Big Ten Confer-
ence season this week with matches
against Iowa and No. 1 Minnesota.

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For more information, visit:
or contact the U-M Fulbright Program Advisor at the International Institute at 763-3297 or
at iie.fulbright@umich.edu.
Application deadline for U-M students is September 23, 2004

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By Mark Giannotto
For the Daily
EAST LANSING - The Michigan
men's cross country team put on a domi-
nating performance at the Spartan Invi-
tational on Friday. The Wolverines had
nine of the top 14 finishers in the unscored
Freshman Michael Woods turned in an
impressive second place finish with a time
of 24:56 for the Wolverines, who were
without senior captain Nate Brannen and
2004 Olympian Nick Willis.
"It was my call to hold Nate out,"Mich-
igan coach Ron Warhurst said. "He's going
to run in two weeks and we'll be loaded up
by (Pre-Nationals)."
Woods was in the front pack for near-
ly the entire race. He appeared to pull
away with about a half mile to go in the
8K course, but was out-kicked by Oak-
land University's Adam Frezza down the
"It was an awesome course, but I didn't
walk the end," Woods said. "I kicked too
early and I think it cost me first place."
Warhurst called the error a "typical
freshman mistake."
Many of the Wolverine runners ran
extremely well. Senior Jonathon Kieliszak
and sophomore Todd lacovelli both turned
in career-best performancesinjust the sec-
ond meet of the season, finishing fourth
and fifth place, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 for the Wolver-
ines were freshman Victor Gras, sophomore
Andrew Bauer and senior Matt Mulvaney,
who finished eighth through 10th.
The field at the Spartan Invitational
included rivals Michigan State and East- A

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