The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - February 21, 2005 - 7B
Grapplers earn share of Big Ten title R ' F
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By Seth Gordon
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan wrestling team just added two notches
to its belt.
But now the real work begins.
The fifth-ranked Wolverines dominated Michigan State
on Friday, 34-8 and Purdue yesterday, 29-18, to secure a
share of the Big Ten dual-season championship. Mark
Moos, Eric Tannenbaum, Ryan Bertin, Ryan Churella
and Greg Wagner all recorded two victories apiece on
the weekend and appeared at the top of their games as the
postseason approaches. The Wolverines (7-0-1 Big Ten,
15-3-1 overall) share the title with Illinois and will take the
next two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten Championships
on March 5-6 in Iowa City.
"I think it's a reflection of the effort these guys have put
forth, week in and week out, all season long," Michigan
coach Joe McFarland said of the regular-season champi-
onship. "It's a nice accomplishment, especially because
the Big Ten is the toughest conference in the country."
Despite the regular-season title, the Wolverines must
shift their focus to their main goals - the Big Ten and
NCAA Championship tournaments. Several wrestlers
showed they are positioned to make long runs in Iowa
City and St. Louis, the site of the NCAA Championship.
This weekend, Moos had his best weekend since mov-
ing up to 133 pounds in January. He earned a 15-1 major
decision over Michigan State's Ryan Froese on Friday and
pinned Purdue's Sean Schmaltz with just seven seconds
remaining in the second period yesterday.
"I got a lot of confidence (from this weekend)," Moos
said. "I was feeling bad for myself, and I just got rid of all
that. I figured out what I have to do, and now I'm on track
Eric Tannenbaum was the only Michigan wrestler to
face ranked opponents in both matches - No. 14 Dar-
ren McKnight of Michigan State and No. 10 Doug With-
standley of Purdue -but the sophomore earned decisions
in both 149-pound matches. Now ranked No. 5, Tannen-
baum knocked offthen-No. 5 Ty Eustice of Iowa last week
and has not lost a match since his 4-2 loss to No. 4 Matt
Storniolo of Oklahoma on January 22.
Fifth-year senior captain Bertin pushed his record to a
perfect 24-0 this season with a pin and a technical fall on
the weekend. The 2003 national champion at 157 pounds
competed for the last time in front of the home fans at Cliff
Keen Arena yesterday.
"I'm sad, but I'm kind of happy at the same time,"
Bertin said. "It is bittersweet. Once you get to think about
it, it's sad a little bit, but I'm ready to be done. Two weeks
from now, I'll be ready to be done."
Bertin was at the center of some controversy Friday
night, when Michigan State's Matt McCarty lost con-
sciousness for a moment as Bertin pinned him just 1:19
into the match.
"We just got into a turk position," Bertin said. "I got
him around the neck, and it was a legal hold. I had it really
tight and the way he was fighting against it, he was basi-
cally just choking himself out - he kept fighting into it as
opposed to trying to fight away from it."
Senior captain Ryan Churella earned two victories at
165 pounds on the weekend as well, with the second com-
ing by forfeit against Purdue. Churella is ranked No.2 and
has won 28 consecutive matches since dropping his first
match of the year to Lehigh's No. 1 Troy Letters.
Perhaps the best sign of the weekend was No. 3 heavy-
weight Wagner's resurgence. The junior pinned the Spar-
tans' Max Lossen to close Friday's meet and then pinned
Boilermaker Jake O'Brien in just 2:09 to open the meet
"It's good to get the pins, but I just feel like I have been
wrestling better lately," Wagner said. "I had a little mid-
season slump, and I've been trying to work out of that. I
think I'm getting through that now and just building for
Things did not go perfectly for the Wolverines, as
McFarland held two wrestlers out of yesterday's meet.
Willie Breyer - ranked No. 17 at 197 pounds - injured
his knee during his 7-6 comeback win against Michigan
State's Jeff Clemens, and he sat out the meet against Pur-
due to recuperate.
Josh Churella - ranked No. 3 at 141 pounds - was
given the day off after a close friend passed away last
week. The redshirt freshman contributed to Friday night's
win with 15-6 decision over Spartan Tony Greathouse.
The win over Michigan State gave the Wolverines
another championship, the Pontiac Challenge Cup, for
the winter season. The win clinched Michigan's fifth con-
secutive victory over the Spartans in the intrastate compe-
tition. The wrestlers were presented with the trophy and
sang 'The Victors' on the mat in the center of Jennison
But the Wolverines know that they must move past these
accolades if they are to accomplish their main goals.
"Now we have a fresh start again," McFarland
said. "We've talked all year long about finishing
strong this year and being ready at the end of the sea-
son. Obviously, we are going to refocus now and get
ready for the tournament. We have two big tourna-
ments ahead of us and, hopefully, our best wrestling
is yet to come."
Junior Mark Moos won two matches this weekend, helping Michigan to wins over
Michigan State and Purdue, as well as a share of the regular season Big Ten title.
Parker, Blue work out kinks
for conference championship
By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer
In just 5,280 feet, fifth-year senior
Andrea Parker gained back what she had
i lost two months ago after coming down
with an injury - her confidence. With
the Big Ten Indoor Championships on the
horizon, notching a personal best time of
4:51.99 in the mile was just what Parker
needed to erase any doubt in her mind that
she will be ready to compete in top-form at
the conference championships.
"It was a huge confidence booster for
her," coach James Henry said. "It gave
confidence that she's back after the injury,
and it's the perfect time for her to feel this
Henry saw Saturday's Harold Silver-
ston Invitational as the perfect opportunity
to hone the team's skills and "tune up" any
V last minute problems before it hosts the
Big Ten Championships next weekend.
While no NCAA qualifying times were
produced, many Wolverines still recorded
personal bests, and their domination over a
sub-par field gave the team the confidence
Henry had hoped for.
While many Wolverines sat out the
meet to conserve their energy and prevent
any last minute injuries, the runners that
did compete weren't looking to set any
NCAA qualifying times. For the purpose
of keeping in shape and running at a faster
pace they ran events shorter than their nor-
"We made a decision on resting some
people;' associate head coach and distance
coach Mike McGuire said. "Other people
that raced this weekend we were tuning
them up by racing them under the distance
that they will be running at the Big Ten
meet for the most part. So there was rhyme
and reason behind everything we were try-
ing to do with everyone."
For the mile run, fifth-year senior Lind-
say Gallo ran as a "rabbit" for Parker, help-
ing her keep her pace for most of the race
until dropping out before the final two laps
and letting Parker sprint to the finish. Gallo
helped Parker stay focused during the race
and guided her on the pace needed to clock
in a low time.
"Gallo is a really good pacer," Parker
said. "She has a good sense of what she
needs to run and she'll execute right on,
which she did today."
"I was very happy to have her there
because it's a lot easier that you have some-
one doing the work and then they are going
to drop out and then you are going to give
it all you have."
The Wolverines also excelled in the
throwing events, which are always crucial
in Big Tens for points. Senior Ashley Eckel
placed second in both the weight throw and
shot put and sophomore Bridgette May-
nard took first in the shot put with a throw
of 13.77m. Eckel had a career best in the
weight throw with a distance of 17.70m,
taking advantage of the relaxed environ-
ment uncharacteristic to the Michigan
Indoor Track Building.
"This meet was a lot more 'low-key'
than the Big Ten meet will be," Eckel said.
"It gives us a weekend to relax and an
opportunity to throw a personal best with-
out the pressure of having to get points for
Senior Jennifer Williams - who will
be competing in the heptathlon at Big Tens
- was able to participate in all of her field
events, coming in second place in the high
jump and fourth in the long jump - a
career best at 5.28m.
"Competing in the events another time
builds helps build my confidence and the
more practice I get at a more competitive
level the better," Williams said. "I did bet-
ter in every event and that's good heading
into Big Tens."
Michigan was thankful it had another
opportunity to fine-tune its events and
hone in on any problems that could hin-
der it next weekend. The Wolverines left
the meet in high spirits, knowing that
their goal of protecting Michigan's track
at the Big Ten Indoor Championships
was a realistic one.
"It was our last chance to get out the
kinks before Big Tens," Parker said of
last Saturday's meet. "We are going to
try to do what we can a week before Big
Tens and if anything went wrong it's
okay because it will be out of our system
and we'll be looking ahead and prepar-
ing to come into Big Tens and defend our
Tournament win for
M softball in Florida
While it was snowing in Ann Arbor,
the Michigan softball team was stay-
ing hot in Florida, both on and off the
field. Led by dominant pitching per-
formances from junior Jennie Ritter,
senior Nicole Motycka and sophomore
Lorilyn Wilson, the Wolverines gave
up just four runs in five games over the
weekend, winning the Florida Atlantic
In the championship game of the tour-
nament, Michigan matched up against
Florida Atlantic for the second time dur-
ing the weekend. In the first matchup, the
Wolverines prevailed 12-3.
In the second game, Michigan
jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in
the first after senior Jessica Merchant
tripled, scoring junior Tiffany Haas.
Merchant scored on a wild pitch, and,
three batters later, junior Grace Leutele
doubled to center field to drive in the
third Michigan run.
The third inning was big for the
Wolverines both offensively and defen-
sively. Starting pitcher Lorilyn Wilson
struck out the side, and Michigan took
advantage of a fielding error by scor-
ing two runs, which increased its lead
to five. It followed its two-run third
inning with a four-run fourth, thanks to
a 3-run homer by junior Becky Marx.
Wilson gave up just one earned run
against Florida Atlantic on Sunday,
which came in the fourth on a sac fly.
The Wolverines continued their offen-
sive surge over the weekend, scoring 35
runs on 48 hits in five games. Freshman
Samantha Findlay connected on herthird
home run of the season against Rutgers,
which was one of 13 hits amassed by the
team. Hass continued her hot steak at the
plate, batting .500 (8-for-16) during the
But the most impressive part of
the Wolverines performance was the
pitching from Michigan's big three -
Motycka, Wilson and Ritter. Ritter fin-
ished with two complete games, going
13 innings, striking out 21 and giv-
ing up just three earned runs. Wilson
and Motycka combined for a no-hit-
ter against Rutgers, going five innings
with five strikeouts. With the no-hitter,
Wilson ended the tournament pitching
14.2 innings, striking out 21 batters
and giving up one lone earned run. The
sophomore was named tournament
- Randy Ip
Continued from page 1B
stellar performance on Saturday night, as Smith won the
100-yard freestyle for the second year in a row. McCullough
came up just shy of second place, but the Wolverines still
took in two of the top three spots.
Freshman sensation Justine Mueller stole the show for
Michigan, winning the Big Ten Swimmer of the Champi-
onship award while earning the Wolverines' highest score.
Mueller won individual titles in both the 200- and 400-
yard individual medleys while also winning the 200-yard
breaststroke. All three races gave her automatic qualify-
ing marks for the NCAA tournament, and both individual
medley times broke pool records.
"It's amazing - I'm undefeated as a freshman in the Big Ten
Championships," Mueller said. "Not many people can do that
their freshman year. There are coaches here who, a year and
a half ago, probably wouldn't have given me the time of day.
Where I am now is because of the work that I've put in since
I've gotten here."
Another successful swimmer for the Wolverines was
sophomore Kaitlyn Brady, who capped another one-two
finish for Michigan by taking the 50-yard freestyle just
in front of her teammate, Smith; both swimmers received
NCAA automatic qualifying times for the race. Brady took
second in the 100-yard butterfly and third in the 200-yard
Brady also had a hand in two of the Wolverines' three cham-
pionship relay teams. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of
Brady, McCullough, Smith and junior Abby Seskevics broke
the pool record, school record and Big Ten record for the 200-
freestyle relay. Their swim also gave them an automatic quali-
fying time for the NCAA. Michigan also took the top spots
in both the 400- and 800-yard freestyle relays driven by more
extraordinary swimming by Mueller.
"I think winning (any race) is the same, except, when you
win a relay, you get to share it with other people," Mueller said.
"When someone wins an event, everyone on the team wins
because we're all really close, and, when someone has the best
time, we all feel it, and we all experience it. When someone
doesn't have a great swim, we can be there for them and try to
pick them up."
The spirited Michigan swimmers may have had to offer some
moral support to their teammate Gilliam, who had gotten used
to winning the long distance freestyle events this season. Coin-
ing in seeded second in both the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyles,
Gilliam couldn't overcome the top-seeded Wisconsin swimmer,
senior Carly Piper. Gilliam tried to push herself past Piper early
in both races and, as a result, fell to a third-place finish in both.
"I think we have a mutual respect for each other,"
Gilliam said of Piper. "She's a really great swimmer and
has a lot of experience. Racing her for me is exciting
because I feel like racing her will bring me to a higher
Besides being, very noticeably, the loudest bench around the
pool over the weekend, the Wolverines won first-place cham-
pionships in nine of the 21 events. Since many of the younger
swimmers did not make it into the finals for their individual
events, the evening sessions - during which the finals were
held - offered many enthusiastic displays of dancing, cheering
and even a Randy Moss-like mooning for the parents from the
"We want our swimming and everything about us in the meet
to reflect who we really are," Richardson said. "Whether we're
having a great meet or not having a great meet, we want who
we are to be consistent. When you know that, your performance
flows out of who you are and reflects who you are as opposed to
letting your performance dictate what your demeanor is going
"It's about the environment that the team creates for every
single person on the team. If those people who won events were
doing it themselves without the rest of the kids, they wouldn't
have done it."
Senior Andrea Parker ran
4:51.99, a personal best In the mile run on Saturday.
Netters notch two wins
" with dominant singles
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Writer
The scene on Saturday looked like a familiar one. The
Michigan men's tennis team battled hard for the open-
ing doubles point but came up a little short. Then half
the singles players dropped their opening set. It appeared
that once again, the Wolverines' effort wasn't going to be
enough once again against a higher-ranked team.
But this weekend was different.
No. 52 Michigan upset No. 35 Alabama, sweeping the
singles matches in a resounding comeback and taking
the match 6-1. The Wolverines then avoided a letdown
yesterday, defeating unranked Cornell by a 6-1 margin to
improve its dual record to 5-2.
"We have been giving a good, competitive effort
throughout the year," coach Bruce Berque said. "But
(Saturday) we really stepped it up a notch.
"It was very satisfying to watch our guys work that
hard and have it pay off."
Michigan's revamped lineup looked like it would fall
short in the early stages of the dual. Berque split up the
nationally ranked duo of Brian Hung and Ryan Heller
due to recent struggles. He was hoping to find better
combinations to win the doubles point. Hung and sopho-
always a positive."
Berque also swapped Maravic and Hung around in
the singles lineup, hoping both would respond. Maravic
was playing his first career match at No. 2 singles and
answered the challenge from his coach with ease. He lev-
eled the match at 1-1 with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Alabama
sophomore Joseph Jung. Hung's recent struggles were
put aside at the No. 3 spot as he won two hard-fought sets
to conquer Bes. After being down an early break in the
first set, Hung responded with a run of his own, winning
the match, 7-5, 6-4.
With a 2-1 lead, Michigan was anything but comfort-
able. Senior Michael Rubin, Heller and Peretz had all
dropped their first sets, and senior David Anving was in
a hard-fought battle with his opponent. But the Wolver-
ines knew a comeback was within reach and turned the
entire complexion of the match around in just a few short
Soon after, Anving won his first set in a tiebreaker,
Peretz took the second set from his opponent and never
looked back after grabbing an early break in the third set.
He won his match at No. 5 singles with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-3
victory against Mertz.
With the match score at 3-1, the mood around
the Varsity Tennis Center was positive. The
Sophomore Michael Rubin upset Alabama's Luigi D'Agord,
completing a 6-Michigan win in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
ahead. Not only was he facing the nation's 31st-ranked
player in Alabama's Luigi D'Agord, but he also had a set
deficit to battle. Rubin's relentless ground strokes proved
to be too much for D'Agord, and Rubin's upset sealed a
perfect singles night for Michigan. His 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4