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March 28, 2005 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-28

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6B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 28, 2005



By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer


Freshman Katie Ueberman helped Michigan claim the Big Ten Championship In Iowa City.
Ray, Liebermn lead
Bl.ueI, to Big Tenwi

By lKaE Niemeyer
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan women's gymnas-
tics team took on the Big Ten at the Big
Ten Championships at Carver-Hawkeye
Arena in Iowa City on Saturday. The
heavily favored Wolverines did not dis-
appoint, winning the meet with a score of
196.250, just ahead of second-place Penn
State (196.125) and third-place Minne-
sota (195.375).
Michigan freshman Katie Lieber-
man - the Big Ten's freshman of the
year - was ecstatic with the Wolver-
ines' victory.
"It was probably one of the greatest
experiences I've ever had because the
atmosphere was just awesome," Lieber-
man said. "The crowd was pulling for
us. To have so many supporters cheer-
ing you on and to know they're there for
you, and the way our team just pulled
together - it was just so much fun."
After receiving a bye for the first
rotation, the Wolverines started the
night strong on vault in the second,
Lieberman and Junior Jenny Deiley
tied Minnesota's Ashley Mutchler for
first with scores of 9.900.
"Going into the meet, I was just
really confident and knew what I
had to do," Lieberman said. "I just
kind of did what I did in practice
and didn't stick the landing - I
had a little hop. But I think it was
the best vault I've ever done, so
I'm happy and happy that I helped
the team."
On bars, the Wolverines continued
to excel counting five scores of 9.800

or better. Seniors Elise Ray and Lauren
Mirkovich (9.900) tied for second.
"We started out really strong and fired
up," Ray said.
But Michigan ran into a little trouble
on beam after sitting out the third rota-
tion. The Wolverines had to count one of
its two falls and posted its lowest event
score of the night, 48.625. Ray and soph-
omore Lindsey Bruck, the top Wolverine
finishers, tied for second with scores of
"We had a couple of mistakes on
beam, but then a few carried over to
floor," Ray said. "The people that messed
up on beam - the people after them had
to really focus in and get the job done. I
think that was really key - that we kept
going, that the rest of the girls could make
up for it."
Michigan ended its night on floor exer-
cise, clinching the Big Ten title. Junior
Becca Clauson (9.850) tied for first with
Minnesota's Carolyn Yernberg and Penn
State's Kate Stopper.
Ray (39.500) and Bruck (39.425) went
one-two in the all-around and, along with
Deiley, were voted first team All-Big Ten.
Clauson, Lieberman, and senior Shanna
Duggan were named to the second team.
Ray was glad to come out in first, but
she said she was most excited about the
team's win.
"(The highlight was) standing on the
podium with all of my teammates, abso-
lutely," Ray said. "I think there are two
things going on. We're pretty relieved
because we cut it really close. But we're
really excited, too, because that's what
we came here to do - win another Big
Ten title."

For junior Justin Laury, a weekend
doesn't get much better than this past
one. At the Big Ten Championships,
Laury won both the all-around com-
petition and the Gymnast of the Year
award, dethroning Ohio State senior
captain Randy Monahan for both titles.
He also made it to the individual event
finals on parallel bars, pommel horse
and floor exercise.
On Saturday night at Cliff Keen Arena,
Laury became the second Wolverine to
be named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year,
joining assistant coach Scott Vetere in that
elite category. Laury was also elected to
the first team All-Big Ten, his final acco-
lade of the weekend.
"Right now, I cant even fathom what it
means to be the Big Ten Gymnast of the
Year," Laury said. "I'm very ecstatic about
it, and I'm just going to let everything sink
in tonight.
Yet, at the same time, the No. 4 Michi-
gan men's gymnastics team lost its grasp
on the Big Ten Championship. That
spoiled some of Laury's joy.
"In the back of my mind, I'm still think-
ing about the team competition," Laury
said. Even though I know we still have
another meet - the most important meet
of the year - we just have to make sure
we stay focused for the NCAA Champi-
The Wolverines struggled in the final
two events - parallel bars and high bar
- opening the door for No. 1 Ohio State
to come in and win the title. The Buck-
eyes Michigan 225.350 to 222.775. No.
3 Illinois finished second with a score of
Coach Kurt Golder was able to look
past the team's third-place finish and
instead focus on the effort the team put
forth and how they can use this as a build-
ing block for the NCAA Championships
in two weeks.
"I'm pretty pleased," Golder said. "We
had 11 guys in the finals and the all-around
champion as well as several medal win-
ners and a third-place finish. I would have
liked to won, but last year, we were fifth.


Junior Justin Laury won the all-around competition at the Big Ten Championship this weekend.

So to move up to third is very satisfying."
Every team in the Big Ten Champion-
ships was ranked in the top-10 nationally,
causing the slightest moves and slip-ups to
matter tremendously. Michigan struggled
throughout the night on their dismounts,
nearly falling several times on still rings,
parallel bars and high bar, all of which
ended up costing them the top spot on the
"A lot of teams came here wanting to
win," sophomore Andre Hernandez said.
"Everyone fought their best, but it all came
down to every tenth of a point and keeping
form on the events and execution. Every-
thing was so important and the slightest
thing made all of the difference."
One of the Wolverines' problems
stemmed from the right ankle of senior
captain Geoff Corrigan. Although he was
back in competition, Corrigan was far
from 100 percent and struggled through
his routines, finding it difficult to land on
his weak ankle. While the team can usu-
ally rely on Corrigan to post high parallel
bar and high bar routines, his shortcom-
ings forced the team to use lower scores
that they usually would have dropped off,
resulting in an overall lower team score on
those apparatus. Golder is confident that
Corrigan will spend the next seven days

before NCAAs training hard and ensur-
ing he doesn't end his Michigan career on
a low note - something Corrigan would
hate to happen.
"I think he is under-prepared, and I
think that he needs to work harder," Gold-
er said. "Certainly that ankle has set him
back a lot, but he hasn't been training as
hard as I think he should be. Over the next
seven days, he has to step it up. He doesn't
have to go wild; he just needs to step it up
a little bit, and he will be back. Nobody
is more disciplined than Geoff, and he'll
have that fixed by NCAAs."
Leadingthe Wolverinesrunoftop-notch
performances over the two-day champi-
onships was senior Eddie Umphrey, who
posted career-best marks on both floor
exercise and still rings. In his last night of
competition in Ann Arbor, Umphrey par-
ticipated in the individual event finals on
floor exercise, still rings and parallel bar,
coming in second, third and fifth place,
"I'm really excited about my floor rou-
tine," Umphrey said. "I went out and did a
9.9 start value, and I just knew that I had to
hit. I knew I had the crowd behind me, and
I just went out and I was confident, and I
knew, if I did that, I could get a medal.
And that's exactly what happened."

Along with Umphrey, junior Luke
Bottke also broke Michigan's floor exer-
cise record on Friday night, scoring a
9.575, placing third in the individual event
finals with his score of9.512. Hernandez's,
squeaky clean parallel bar routine - a
career-best - earned him a 9.525 finish
and third place in the individual event
Michigan has a lot of work to do in the
upcoming two weeks before they travel
to West Point for the NCAA Champion-
ships, where they will face Ohio State and
Illinois as well as No. 2 Oklahoma, who
Michigan beat earlier this year at home.
The Wolverines are aware of the challenge
that lies ahead and are looking forward to
refining and strengthening their routines
and using the events of this weekend as
"We have seven more practices, and
we are going to try and do everything
to make sure our routines are per-
fect," Hernandez said. "We are going
to put everything else aside and make
NCAAs our main goal and focus on
that. We could have won it tonight, and
it was just a bunch of small mistakes
that prevented us from winning it all.
And we aren't going to let that happen
at NCAAs."


Michigan starts season with strong showing

By Daniel Bromwich
Daily Sports Writer
Contrary to the popular cliche, runners do not treat
every race the same. Races in the beginning of the year
are different than Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
The early meets - like the one the Michigan men's
track and field team had this past weekend in Raleigh,
N.C. - are normally just a warmup. Runners generally
just want to work the kinks out, get their timing down
and get in shape for the rest of the season.
But sophomore Jeff Porter ran his 110-meter hurdle
season debut a little differently at the Raleigh Relays.
For the second consecutive outdoor season, Porter
bettered the NCAA regional qualifying standard. He
finished in third place with a time of 14.12, just .04 sec-
onds slower than his personal best.
"For me, it was really just a workout meet," Porter
said. "We had a bunch of tough workouts this past
week, so we all went in there with tired legs. I don't
really prepare anything special - I just went out there
and tried to run fast. But it's really good that I was able
to run so fast this early in the season; it gets me excited
for the rest of the year."
Sophomore Stann Waithe ran well in his first race
after running the 400-meter leg of the NCAA Cham-
pion distance medley relay team. He finished in third
place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 47.52, miss-
ing the NCAA regional qualifying standard by just
0.26 seconds.
"I was really pleased with the way Stann ran
today," Michigan coach Fred LePlante said. "It's
really good to see him compete hard like that, espe-
cially since it's only March. It's very encouraging
for the rest of the season."
Other Wolverines also seemed to run more like

it was May than March. Sophomore Andrew Bauer
achieved a personal-best time in the 3,000-meter stee-
plechase. Bauer finished in fifth place with a time of
9:16.01. Bauer's performance was especially impres-
sive because the steeplechase is not an event during the
indoor season. But he was able to trim 2.79 seconds off
his previous personal best, set last year at the Big Ten
"The transition (from indoor to outdoor competition)
is a tough one to make," LePlante said. "The pole vault-
ers have to account for wind, a lot of runners have to
run different distances and some guys have to compete
in completely new events. So it's a really big positive
that we were able to come out here and compete so well
in our first outdoor meet."
LePlante was happy with the performance of the
4x800-meter relay team, which was made up entirely
of 400-meter runners. Even though each runner ran
twice as long as normal, the team was able to finish in
sixth place with a surprisingly fast time of 7:43.01.
"I thought it was a pretty solid performance," senior
Seth Waits said. "It was fun to run, we just used it as a
training run. But that last 100-meters did seem like a lot
longer than it should have."
The team's performance in its first meet of the season
was encouraging, and the Wolverines are energized by
the possibility of having a truly special year.
"This weekend was just a taste," Porter said. "I'm
excited, and I know the team is excited about the sea-
son. If we ran this well in March, just think about what
we can do later on when our legs are under us. We feel
like this could be the year that it comes together and
nothing can hold us back anymore."
The team will compete at the Yellow Jacket Invita-
tional in Atlanta, Ga., next weekend.


The Michigan rowing team went 2-0 this weekend.
Rowers defeat tough
competition ties two


By Sara Livingston
Daily Sports Writer

Michigan sophomore Jeff Porter qualified for the NCAA
regionals in the 110meter hurdles with his time of 14.12.

Three averti'e games)ma~
magine you're at a bar. Imagine that there are dozens of beautiful women (or
men- this is an equal-opportunity column here) just hovering around your
table. You've set your sights on about four or five of them and plan to unleash
your moves on them the rest of the night.
An hour later, all the hot ones have left. You know you're the hottest one left, but
for one reason or another, the chips aren't falling your way. Instead, it's those girls
(or guys) that didn't make your first cut.
But as it turns out, they're actually pretty cool.
That's the best way to describe this weekend's NCAA Tournament action - we
didn't get the sexiest hookups possible, but the ones we got turned out well. It really
wasn't that hard to wake up the next day, take a look over at what happened the night
before and actually smile about it. Isn't that at least better than the alternative?
For instance, we didn't get Duke-Kentucky III. (Few people remember Duke-
Kentucky II in the 1998 Regional Finals, but trust me, it was a good one.) Our
dear neighbors to the west are to blame
for that one Leave it to the Spartans to
sour the wises of basketball fans across
the country by upsetting Duke in the
Sweet 16 on Friday. But you have to hand
it to Michigan State. It always seems
to advance one round further than it's
expected to. Two rounds further in this
year's case. Four rounds further if your
bracket had the Spartans losing to Old
Dominion in the first round. Bet you're

£for an exaltzg Madness
The conference spent most of the year labeled as the worst of the major basketball
conferences. But, for some unexplainable reason, three teams that advanced to the
Elite Eight hailed from Big Ten country. Michigan State joined Illinois and Wis-
consin in the Regional Finals, causing basketball experts to scratch their heads.
Weren't we supposed to see a bunch of ACC and Big East teams here?
Even basketball non-experts could tell you that Wisconsin doesn't belong in an
Elite Eight game with North Carolina. The Badgers hung in there, no doubt, and
the Big Ten thanks them for it. But in reality, it was no contest. Even though it
was just an 88-82 loss, it was a blowout by Elite Eight standards. The three other
games all went to overtime - or double overtime in the case of Michigan State-
Down in Albuquerque, the Rick Pitino-Bobby Knight rumble didn't quite pan
out after West Virginia upset Texas Tech on Thursday. But that did give the Moun-
taineers one more round to play the role of the tournament's last true Cinderella.
The clock finally struck midnight after a 93-85 victory in overtime by Louisville.
Up in the Chicago bracket, Illinois's Bruce Weber told his players to think of
the region as the Illini Invitational so they wouldn't be thinking ahead to the Final
Four. But let's face it - it was the Illini Invitational because the bracket was freak-
ing set up for them. Arizona beat Oklahoma State in a doozie of a game, earning
the right to finally give Illinois some actual competition. And boy, was it a competi-
tive game.
Illinois was down 15 points with four minutes to go in the game. That's when
they turned the jets on. A bevy of steals and 3-point shooting' led to an amazing
comeback and the Elite Eight's second of three overtime games.
It's that kind of game that makes Illinois so enjoyable to watch. It wins with

There's nothing like a win over a
powerhouse opponent to kick off a
strong season. On Saturday morn-
ing, Michigan's first varsity eight
boat coasted through the Scioto
River, defeating No. 6 Virginia and
giving the No. 4 Michigan women's
rowing team their first win of the
2005 season. The Wolverines kept
up their quick pace throughout the
afternoon as well, beating No. 17
Duke by 11.4 seconds.
"We had pretty tough competi-
tion against Virginia," senior Brett
Sickler said. "They are always in
the top-five, and we didn't want
to either overestimate or under-
estimate them. We just wanted
to come in confident, and we just
came in here and decided we were
going to race our race and do what
we had to do. That's exactly what
we accomplished, and we ended up
As they did against Virginia, the
highly experienced first varsity eight
boat - with six rowers returning from
last year - will set the tone for the rest
of Michigan's boats
"We just raced at a really fast
pace - faster than we raced last
year," Sickler said. "We established

against other top teams.
"I think our training has been
going well, and seeing where we
are with the other teams helps us,"
Rothstein said. "Coming out, and
in the first race, beating No. 6 Vir-
ginia was a really good start for us
because they are always a really
strong team."
It might seem as though poor
weather conditions would have hin-
dered the team's training by forcing
them to use stationary equipment
and indoor exercises instead of
being out on the lake - that is
not the case. The Wolverines feel
they get better all-around workouts
indoors and use that time to con-
dition so that once it gets warmer
outside, they will be in top rowing
"In the long run, I think it helps
us, and it makes it tougher," Sick-
ler said. "When we are indoors, we
are training harder and the cold
weather makes us tougher and bet-
ter conditioned to race in harsh
But Rothstein is worried about
the team's less experienced boats,
since both the first and second var-
sity four boats lost to Virginia and
While the underclassmen are
unfamiliar with the rigors of the



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