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February 17, 2005 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-17

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 9A

Women's hoops
aims to set record

Bertin back on top
of his weight class

By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's basketball
team is offering substantial prizes -
including a year's worth of Domino's
pizza and 10 footballs signed by football
coach Lloyd Carr - to some lucky fans
attending tonight's game against Purdue.
The promotion comes in an effort to
surpass the program's all-
time attendance record.
And the prizes aren't T: N
even the best part.
If Michigan surpasses
its attendance mark of
4,611 - which was set
in last year's matchup
against Michigan State Ci.r
- one dollar will be
donated to C.S. Mott
Children's Hospital for
each fan in attendance.
"What I appreciate so much about the
promotion is that it's a great way for our
team, the program and Michigan ath-
letics to give back to the community,"
Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett said.
"It's a win-win situation for the hospital
- a win-win situation for us. It's a way
to say 'thank you' (to the community)."
Since taking the helm of the Michigan
program last season, Burnett has sought
to spur local interest in women's basket-
ball. From popular post game autograph

sessions to October's "kids clinic," the
women's basketball team is already
becoming a hit with many families in
the Ann Arbor area. And with tonight's
promotion, the Wolverines hope to reel
in even more potential fans.
"I think it would be a good oppor-
tunity for us and the fans that haven't
seen us play," senior co-captain Tabitha
Pool said.

By Mark Giannotto
Daily Sports Writer


Michigan's fan base is
committed, but not par-
ticularly sizable, as evi-
denced by the Wolverines'
8th-place ranking in Big
Ten attendance. They aver-
age 2,143 fans per game,
leaving lots of empty seats
in an arena that holds over
13,000. But the sport clearly
has growth potential. Three
Big Ten schools - Purdue,
Penn State and Minnesota

- average over 8,000 fans per game. The
team hopes that impressive attendance
numbers tonight will spark more long-
lasting support for the program.
"That'd be really exciting (to set the
attendance record)," Pool said. "We go
to other gyms, and they have over 5,000
people. We need to have that (at Michi-
gan) for women's basketball."
Even with an unprecedented crowd
supporting them, the Wolverines will
have to bring their A-game to top Purdue

Freshman Jessica Starling and the Wolverines hope to take down Purdue tonight.

(6-6 Big Ten, 13-10 overall). The Boil-
ermakers are led by sophomores Erin
Lawless and Katie Gearlds, both out-
standing inside-outside threats. The duo
combined for 28 points in Michigan's
60-43 loss in West Lafayette and will
have to be contained if the Wolverines
(1-11 Big Ten, 5-18 overall) want to come
away with an upset victory.
Michigan is unusually well-rested for

its matchup with the Boilermakers. The
Wolverines have had a whole week to
recharge their batteries after suffering
a demoralizing 72-39 road loss to No. 2
Ohio State.
"(The week off) really gave us a
chance to get ourselves refreshed,"
Burnett said. "We had quite a few little
nagging injuries that honestly needed
some rest."

He's one of the only wrestlers still in
the weight room, but that doesn't mat-
ter to him.
He yells loudly as he struggles through
repetition after repetition on the abdominal
machine. A casual bystander would think
he had hurt himself.
But after a brief break, he gets right
back on the machine and struggles through
another set of exercises.
After finishing his set, he notices that
another teammate is struggling with his
own exercises. He goes over and lends a
Senior co-captain Ryan Bertin knows
'what it takes to achieve the ultimate prize
for a collegiate wrestler because he's done it
before. But he is not going to forget the rest
of his team in the process.
In 2003, Bertin captured the NCAA
Championship in the 157-pound weight
class. Last year, he suffered some setbacks
and lost in the semi final round of the
national tournament. But in 2005,he's right
back in contention again.
"Last year, when the (NCAA) tourna-
ment came around, I wasn't quite as healthy
as I wanted to be," Bertin said. "In the semi-
finals, I got in a real tough match against a
real tough kid, and we got in a scramble
situation, and he won the scramble."
This year is a different story for Bertin.
He is completely healthy and has compiled
a 22-0 record. After his win over two-time
All-American Alex Tirapelle of Illinois,
Bertin is now ranked No. 1 by Intermat in
the 157-pound weight class. The pressure
of these accolades has not fazed Bertin.
"To this point, I've been really focusing on
going out onto the mat and wrestling hard,"
Bertin said. "My goal is to get better every
week regardless of the result of the match.
"This year I've been able to use my ath-
leticism a lot more. The sport is so much
easier for me when I'm healthy. You don't

have to worry about being hurt, and your
body works the way you want it to."
Bertin's past experiences winning and
losing at the NCAA Championships is pay-
ing dividends this season. He's been able to
use some mistakes from previous seasons
to improve his training for this season.,
"You get smarter as you get older,"
Bertin said. "When I'm in the (weight
room) I work hard, but, when I'm not, I
make sure to get the proper rest and to eat
the right foods. I've matured a lot over my
five years (at Michigan), and I know what
it takes to get to the top."
Although he has his sights set on specific
individual goals this season, Bertin knows
he cannot forget his duties as a captain and
leader of the team.
"He brings great leadership to the table,"
co-captain Ryan Churella said. "Every day
he sets the standard for everyone else, and
he shows what it takes to be a champion.
He's a three-time All-American and a for-
mer national champion, so obviously he's
doing the right things."
Bertin's ability to lead by example has
really helped the wrestlers around his
weight class. Because Bertin is able to be
practice partners with those around his
size, his work habits rub off on them. Josh
Churella, Eric Tannenbaum and Ryan
Churella are all ranked in the top-five in the
141-, 149- and 165-pound weight classes,
"I've never been the most vocal guy,"
Bertin said. "I just come into the wrestling
room and put in the time I know you need
do in order to be successful. I feel a lot of
the guys look up to that."
Bertin's quest for a second national
championship is not without its road
blocks. Amateur Wrestling News currently
ranks Matt Gentry of Stanford No. 1, and
Tirapelle is still a threat.
Bertin and the Wolverines will look to
continue their winning ways this weekend
when they visit Michigan State on Friday
and host Purdue on Sunday.

DArcy says wning, not ck

By Pete Sneider
Daily Sports Writer

In a sport where times and splits are the top priori-
ties, sophomore John D'Arcy is an athlete who likes
tq win as well.
While D'Arcy does not debunk the value of times,
his ability to finish first is what sets him apart. D'Arcy
is a proven winner for the No. 3 Michigan men's track
team, and his track record speaks for itself.
He has won both of the 600-meter events that he
has raced in this season. And his team has won two
of the three 4x400-meter relays this year.
"I'm a real competitive person," D'Arcy said. "It's
definitely part of my personality. I don't like to give
anyone an edge. I just try to go out and beat that per-
son, and a time is just something else that happens."
D'Arcy is not the fastest middle distance run-
ner for the Wolverines, but he finds a way to win.
Last weekend at the Sykes-Sabok Invitational in
State College, he came from behind to edge Cen-
tral Michigan's Steven Wezner by .03 seconds in
the 600-meter run. His time of 1:18.12 was a per-
sopal record.
"He's a tremendous competitor," coach Ron War-

hurst said. "You should have seen him at Penn State.
He was at least eight yards behind (the leader) for the
entire race but came around the turn and won."
Winning often takes a backseat to the clock - a
runner's primary competitor. Provisional and auto-
matic qualifying times, school records and personal
bests are etched into a runner's memory like an inter-
active database. If they seek a flight in the NCAA
championships, they know the required time down to
a tick.
Yet there are still runners who store that extra fire
in their belly. D'Arcy fuels that fire at the finish line.
"I usually have a pretty strong finish," D'Arcy
said. "I may not be the fastest guy on the track, but I
can hold my speed for a long time."
D'Arcy's competitive demeanor has not gone
unnoticed by his teammates.
"He comes to every single race thinking he can
win," senior captain Seth Waits said. "It's a testa-
ment to how strong he is, mentally."
D'Arcy's impact as a consistent winner rarely
comes into fruition, as most meets on the Wolver-
ines' schedule are non-scoring. But the Clayton,
Ohio native plans to light up the scoreboard at the
upcoming Big Ten Championships.

" 0
"Last year, I only scored one point (at the Big Ten
Championships)," D'Arcy said. "I really had a disap-
pointing performance, and I want to improve. Hope-
fully, I'll be able to score some team points in the
600. It's a real competitive field this year, but I think
I can win."
Because the NCAA Indoor Championships do not
host the 600-meter event, a first-place finish at the
conference championship would be the premier dis-
D'Arcy will also run a leg in the 4x400-meter relay,
joining Waits, sophomore Stann Waithe and senior
Darnell Talbert. If the foursome runs a 3:08 or bet-
ter - seven seconds faster than their season's best
- they could have a shot at provisionally qualifying
for the NCAA Championships in March.
"My main focus now is to qualify in the 4x400
relay," D'Arcy said. "We might try to do that in
(the Big Ten Championships) or last-chance meets,
but we'll need to run (a time of 3:08) to be on the
edge of getting in."
D'Arcy will sit out this weekend at the Harold Sil-
verston Invitational in Ann Arbor. He will return to
the track next weekend at the Big Ten Champion-
ships in West Lafayette.

Senior co-captain Ryan Bertin is looking to defend his 157-pound NCAA title.


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