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February 01, 2005 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-01

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 1, 2005

After mix up, Shutich
returns to M' lineup

By Mark Giannotto
Daily Sports Writer
Since the Dec. 10 meet against Cleveland State,
when sophomore Mark Moos decided to move up to
the 133-pound weight class, the No. 8 Michigan wres-
tling team has been without a 125-pound wrestler.
At first, it appeared that this predicament had little
effect on the performance of the Wolverines. Michigan
was able to get around having just nine wrestlers in its
lineup. Despite having to forfeit one match each meet,
Michigan picked up easy victories over quality oppo-
nents like No. 11 Central Michigan, No. 9 Nebraska
and No. 19 Penn State.
But reality set in two weeks ago at the NWCA Cliff
Keen National Dual Tournament. The Wolverines
lost dual meets to Minnesota and Oklahoma. In both
meets, giving up a forfeit in the 125-pound weight class
proved to be the difference in the final score.
"We try to forget about it and act like we are start-
ing every meet at (the 133-pound weight class), instead
of focusing on the fact that we didn't have anyone at
the 125-pound weight class," junior co-captain Ryan
Churella said.
Forfeiting the starting 125-pound weight class
meant the Wolverines began every meet down 6-0.
The only other way to receive six team points is via a
pinfall, and, against good teams like No. 6 Oklahoma
and No. 4 Minnesota, pins are hard to come by. The
early deficit sometimes forced the other wrestlers on
the team to wrestle a different style than they were
accustomed to. Some felt it was necessary to make up
for the forfeit by going exclusively for a pin. This strat-
egy frequently backfired, when wrestlers fell behind
going for difficult moves.
But the Wolverines finally had a complete set of

wrestlers this past weekend when they beat both
Wisconsin and Minnesota on the road. Sophomore
Jim Shutich made his 2004-2005 debut in the varsity
lineup at the 125-pound weight class. Shutich lost his
first match, 5-3 to Wisconsin's Collin Cudd and fell to
Minnesota's Bobby Lowe, 19-7 on Sunday. Despite the
losses, his presence alone helped the Wolverines avoid
starting with a six-point deficit.
But what took so long for Shutich to finally appear
in the lineup? The answer lies in a simple misstep by
Shutich and the coaching staff.
Over winter break, Shutich competed in an open
tournament where he weighed in to wrestle in the 133-
pound weight class. NCAA rules state that a wrestler
can only lose 1.5 percent of his body weight per week.
This meant that for Shutich to lose the eight pounds
necessary to wrestle in the 125-pound weight class, he
had to wait at least four weeks.
"(Shutich) didn't realize that, even at an open tour-
nament, NCAA rules still apply," Michigan coach Joe
McFarland said. "It was just a mistake, and I wasn't on
top of that one like I should have been. I'm blaming
myself for that one."
Although last weekend was Shutich's first varsity
action this season, he did not come in without expe-
rience. Last season, as a true freshman, Shutich com-
piled a 13-8 record, while winning the Edinboro Open
and placing fourth at the Eastern Michigan Open.
"Everyone is excited about getting a kid like him
into the lineup," McFarland said. "I like what I'm see-
ing in the (wrestling room). He's going to give us a guy
at a starting weight class that is going to go out there
and wrestle hard."
Even though Shutich has been unable to wrestle, it
has not diminished what the coaching staff and the rest
of the team expect out of him.

Continued from page 9
at the latest) and enter the Draft.
The thinking goes that neither player
would have helped the future of the
program in the long haul, so it's not
as big a loss that they didn't come to
Michigan. But it's hard not to think
about what life would be like if the
team had a guy like Hairston to fill in
for an injured Abram.
The future is just as murky. None of
Michigan's recruits for next year are
highly ranked enough to be considered
"blue chip" recruits. Who knows what
the future of the program will hold?
All that we know for sure is what has
already happened. Looking at the state
of the program now, as opposed to when
I started out as a student four years ago,
it's amazing to see the difference.
We were a laughing stock of the
Big Ten - and maybe even the coun-
try - a team without any aspirations
and a team that was under NCAA
investigation, and later, faced sanc-
tions for the Ed Martin scandal.
People were so used to losing in 2001
that people barely cared about hoops
at all, let alone with the passion that
they do today.
And, while this year might be one to
forget, the Michigan basketball team
again commands respect and is clean of
any NCAA wrongdoing.
So, while there are certain areas of
this year's downfall that you can pin on
Amaker, it's not all his fault, as many
critics would have you believe.
Now, as a student, I can only hope
that things will look up soon in the
Daniel Bremmer can be reached at

Continued from page 9
"It's definitely a mentality,"
Kolarik said. "When I feel like I'm
really bearing down, then I'm defi-
nitely going to win it. But if I'm
just going in there nonchalant, then
there's a better chance that I'm going
to lose it."
Last Wednesday in practice,
Berenson took aside all of the for-
wards to discuss some of the intri-
cacies of winning a faceoff. He
talked to all of the forwards - not
just the centers - because he thinks
everyone on the ice has to be able
to take the draw. Sometimes during
penalty kills, there are no centers on
the ice, and, even when centers are
available, sometimes they get pulled
from the circle for trying to get an
unfair advantage.
"I find myself getting kicked out
all the time because I try to cheat
a lot," Kolarik said. "If you're not
cheating then you're not trying,
right? I'm a smaller guy, so I need
to get all the benefits I can get. So I
try to cheat.
"I try to bring my legs more
into the circle, and I try to bring
my head more over the faceoff dot
so that he can't get in there and
he can't get his body in. So I have
more leverage."
Whatever the strategy, Michi-
gan has worked hard in practice to
improve on its faceoffs. The Wol-
verines would like to be able to con-
vert and score more off of its own
draws. But the real focus has been
in the defensive zone.
Because they don't want their sea-
son to end sometime in March just
because they lost a draw.

-Jv Luuw/umy
Michigan coach Joe McFarland believes Jim Shutich can
make the NCAA Tournament at his new weight class.
"Jim can qualify for the (NCAA tournament),"
McFarland said. "Even though it's a tough weight
class, I know what Jim is capable of doing, and I guess
time will tell. He is a great competitor. There's no one
who is going to put more pressure on himself than Jim
will. He knows a lot of guys on this team are counting
on him."
The Wolverines feel that having a 125-pound wres-
tler in the lineup will give them the momentum needed
to win close dual meets. Although they were forced to
get used to wrestling a man down, it is not something
that they want to make a habit.
"Just getting a 125-pound wrestler back in the line-
up is going to be a huge thing for our team because
(by) starting every dual at the 133-pound weight class,
everyone is rushed," Churella said. "Everyone is used
to starting with a 125-pound wrestler, and getting Jim
into the lineup will get things back to normal."



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