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April 11, 2005 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-11

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2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 11, 2005

Want to fly? Whiz atop the water

Athlete ofthe Week
Name: Lauren Mirkovich Team: Women's Gymnastics
Hometown: Birlingame, Calif. Class: Senior
Why: Mirkovich and teammate Elise Ray tied for first place in
the uneven bars at the NCAA South Central regional in Lincoln,
Neb. this weekend. Mirkovich posted a 9.925, which tied her sea-
son-best. Michigan took first overall in the competition, beating
Nebraska by .3 points.

By Billy Heisler
Daily Sports Writer
Let your mind drift from the anxiety and stress of the impending finals
to a glistening lake - cool and placid in the crisp September air. Grabbing
your lucky life jacket and trusted slalom ski from the beach, you head to
the dock amidst cheers from your teammates. After hopping off the dock,
you float for a few moments, composing yourself before the ski run. Before
you know it you are whizzing atop the water, slicing back and forth across
the boat's wake. You settle into the familiar feeling of the wind in your hair
and the adrenaline pumping throughout your body. Not too long ago, you
began competitive water skiing. But thanks to the recently received train-
ing, you pose a threat to most others out on the lake.
Each fall, the Michigan water skiing team travels to several parts of the
country to participate in tournaments. These tournaments consists of 10
to 25 different college teams competing in three events - slalom, trick
skiing and jumping. Points can be earned in each of these events based on
completion of the course, form and skill. The overall winner is the team
that compiles the most points by the end of the competition, which usually
spans two days.
The objective of the slalom event is to maneuver around a course of six buoys set on
alternating sides of the boat's wake. The skier must quickly cut back and forth through
the wake to pass around each buoy. Traveling anywhere from 26 to 36 miles per hour
makes this a tough task, but for team captain Matt Vivian, tournament slalom skiing
is a rush.
"The sensation of carving turns in the water with the boat going 36 miles per
hour through the slalom course - and you (going) even faster - is awesome,"
Vivian said.
Trick skiing is an event where the skier travels atop a smaller ski than in the slalom
and must complete surface spins and flips to receive points. The boat travels slower for

trick skiers than for slalom skiers to make turning easier.
The other event in which a skier may compete is jumping. Skiers are pulled up and
over an inclined ramp that, at its tallest point, is five feet above the water's surface. Less
experienced jumpers at Michigan can fly a total of about 40 feet, whereas more experi-
enced skiers, like Vivian, can soar up to 81 feet, which is his personal best. But, there is
still room to grow for the Michigan waterskiers in this event. Some schools boast skiers
who can fly up to 100 feet.
"The idea of flying over 100 feet, like some of the jumpers in our conference, really
makes me want to get back on the water," Vivian said.
As exhilarating as the performance aspects of these tournaments are, the most fun
for the skiers is in the bonding that goes on within the team and between the other
participating schools. Every team pitches tents and camps out on the shore of the lake
the night between the two days of competition. During this night, it is a tournament
tradition for the skiers to get to know each other and celebrate their previous day's
performances. Often, the parents of some of the skiers bring in food and hire a DJ for
the night.
The participants have the same laid-back attitude during the competitions. Since
only up to six skiers can be on the lake at one time, those who are not competing enjoy
relaxing on the shore. Some choose to catch up on some rest while others toss around
a football or a Frisbee.
The water skiers also enjoy practicing, a time for the skiers to experiment with new
techniques and ways to score points. The practices are also a much needed break from
school work and the stresses of college life.
"What could be better than driving to the lake after class or work and sitting out in
the sun with skiing, your friends and some good tunes?" Vivian said.
The waterskiing team is always open to new skiers regardless of skill level. The team
encourages new skiers to practice with them and get individual instruction, or to just to
hang out on their new, pristine Mastercraft ski boat.
"We are just here to have a good time," skier Angie McLeod said. "Any skier is wel-
come to join us. And even if you don't know how to ski, we will teach you."


Date Event



W Track/Field at Sea Ray Relays
W Track/Field at Mt. SAC Relays
Softball at Purdue
Baseball at Illinois

Knoxville, Tenn.
Walnut, Calif.
West Lafayette

12 p.m.
4 p.m.
7:05 p.m.
9 a.m.
12 p.m.
1 p.m.
5:05 p.m.

W Rowing Belleville
M Tennis at Ohio State Columbus
Softball at Purdue West Lafayette
Baseball at Illinois Champaign
Water Polo at Long Beach Invite Long Beach, Calif.
M Golf at Boilermaker Invitational West Lafayette

DMR trio helps set
meet record 4x800 "

Blue takes
fi'*rst place
at NC~AA
By Katie Niemeyer
Daily Sports Writer
The importance of senior leadership was
shown in the Michigan women's gymnastics
team's final rotation on Saturday at the NCAA
South Central Regional Championship in Lin-
coln, Neb.
In the sixth rotation, the Wolverines needed
a 49.075 on the uneven bars to regain the lead
over Nebraska, who had already completed its
Michigan seniors Lauren Mirkovich and Elise
Ray were up to the challenge. As the last Wol-
verines to compete, they stepped up to the appa-
ratus, needing to be perfect. The Wolverines had
suffered one fall early in the lineup and couldn't
afford another mistake.
The seniors put up identical scores of 9.925
to become co-champions in the event and clinch
Michigan's 196.600-196.300 win over second-
place Nebraska.
"It was a tough position," Ray said. "The last
event of a regional competition is very nerve-
wracking, and we had a fall in the middle. So
(as) the last two, we knew we had to hit because
we weren't exactly sure where we were. So, it
was a little nerve-wracking, but I think we han-
dled it pretty well."
The Wolverines started on beam as strongly
as they finished. They rearranged the beam
lineup before the competition, putting sopho-
more Carol McNamara up first to kick off the
meet for the Wolverines.
"Her practices have been incredible this past
week, and we just really felt that she was the
person we needed to get us started," Michigan
coach Bev Plocki said. "I thought she did a great
job, very composed. (Composure is) very impor-
tant on beam where you have all that adrenaline

Senior Elise Ray took second place in the all-around to lead Michigan to victory at the NCAA Regional Tournament.-

and nervous energy, and I think that she really
started us off great in that competition."
Michigan, which struggled on the balance
beam at the Big Ten Championships, needed a
strong score in the event on Saturday
"We were extremely relieved and excited once
we had it and once we got through it," Plocki
said. "I think it really relaxed everybody once
we got beam behind us, and we were really able
to keep the energy high through the rest of the
Michigan carried the momentum into the
floor exercise where it posted the highest team
score for the event (49.225) and didn't have to
count a score below a 9.825. And Ray tied for
second place with a 9.900.
"I thought that our floor performances were
very good," Plocki said. "I thought the perfor-
mance quality was good. I thought the tumbling

and landing was good."
The Wolverines continued to perform consis-
tently on vault, scoring a 49.175 and positioning
themselves well for the final rotation.
"I thought we came close to sticking several
vaults but still took little steps here and there,"
Plocki said. "I think our vaults were very good.
Our vaults were very big and dynamic, but we
know that we still have places that we can still
improve on, as well."
Michigan's three all-around competitors -
Ray (39.375), junior Jenny Deiley (39.350) and
sophomore Lindsey Bruck (39.250) - went two,
three and four in the all-around on the way to
the Wolverines' victory.
By winning its sixth regional title in nine
years, Michigan secured a spot at the NCAA
National Championships April 21-23 in
Auburn, Ala.

By Daniel Bromwich
Daily Sports Writer
Three of the four members of the
national champion Distance Medley
Relay continued their record-breaking
seasons this weekend at the Duke Invi-
tational. And for the second straight
meet, a middle distance relay team set
a new meet record.
Freshman Nicole Edwards and
seniors Theresa Feldkamp and Lindsey
Gallo joined junior Katie Erdman and
posted a new meet record (8:42.00) and
an NCAA regional qualifying time in
the 4x800-meter relay this weekend for
the women's track and field team. At the
Florida Relays the previous weekend,
Feldkamp, Gallo and Edwards teamed
up with fifth-year senior Andrea Parker
to set a meet record in the 4x1,500-
meter relay.
The three defending national
champions took a week off after the
NCAA championships to recuperate.
But once they returned to the track,
it was like they never left. In addition
to their performances in the 4x800-
meter relay in Durham, Gallo and
Edwards. also posted regional-quali-
fying times in the 1,500-meter run.
Gallo finished in third place with a
time of 4:19.97, and, in Edwards's
first 1,500-meter race, she finished
11th with a time of 4:24.66.
"I was really pleased with the
way that Nicole and Lindsey both
ran," Michigan associate head coach
Mike McGuire said. "I think that,
eventually, the 1,500-meters will
be Nicole's best race, and this was a
good start."
Feldkamp also ran the 1,500-meters,
and she posted a new personal-best
with a time of 4:30.29. She just missed
posting an NCAA regional-qualifying
time of her own, but McGuire expects
her to record the qualifying time of
Sarantos hits regional
qualifying mark in N.C.
The men's track team sent a small
contingent of field athletes and
sprinters to the Duke Invitational
in Durham, N.C., over the weekend.
Michigan senior Joey Sarantos high-
lighted Michigan's performance by
posting an NCAA regional qualify-
ing mark and personal-best distance
in the discus with a throw of 169-10
feet. Sarantos's third-place throw
bettered his previous personal-best
by five feet.
Two other Wolverines posted
regional qualifying marks at Duke.

4:27.80 very soon. When Feldkamp
does qualify, she could possibly give
Michigan four qualifiers in the 1,500-
meters - joining Gallo, Edwards and
perhaps sophomore Jackie Gaydos,
who ran a personal best time of 4:29.31
at the Florida State Relays.
Feldkamp ran a personal-best by over
three seconds, but she was still some-
what dissatisfied with her performance.
"I was kind of disappointed in
my race," Feldkamp said. "I really
thought I could get it my first time
out there. I'm not really that upset
because I did beat my personal-best
by a lot, but it is a little disappoint-
ing. Hopefully, I can just get the time
next weekend."
The Wolverines had another run-
ner qualify regionally on Friday, as
senior Ana Gjesdal qualified in the
5,000-meter run. Gjesdal - who
has also regionally qualified in the
3,000-meter steeplechase - finished
fourth in the 5,000 with a career-best
time of 16:49.78. Gjesdal saved her
best for last, passing seven runners
on her final lap.
But Gjesdal had many obstacles to
overcome in order to qualify. Up until
last Monday, she felt confident that
she would be able to qualify, but she
strained her hamstring at practice on
Monday. It was not until Thursday that
she made the decision to run. Even the
elements seemed to be against her; it
was raining as her race began on Fri-
day night.
"(The rain) didn't really change any-
thing about my race," Gjesdal said. "I
was worried that my hamstring would
act up, but it felt fine, and the rain didn't
bother me. I just got wet."
The Wolverines will split up for their
next meet. Part of the team will head to the
Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn., while
the rest of the team travels west to the Mt.
SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Michigan
sophomore Jeff Porter finished fifth
in the finals and posted his third
regional qualifying mark of the sea-
son with a time of 14.24 seconds in
the preliminary race.
In the triple jump, sophomore
Michael Whitehead posted his sec-
ond regional qualifying distance of
the year with a third-place leap of
In the 400-meter hurdles, two
Michigan athletes placed in the
top-15. Senior Seth Waits finished
ninth; fellow senior David Batani
took 12th.
The team will send a full squad to
Tempe, Ariz., next weekend when it
will compete in the Sun Devil Invi-
- Ian Robinson

Continued from page 1B
-ships. He ended his career as a
Wolverine on a high note, despite
leaving without a National Cham-
pionship ring.
"He did the best performance of
his career, and that's all you can
ask for," Michigan coach Kurt
Golder said. "He did a damn good

job, and everything went extreme-
ly well. It was just a clean routine
Senior Eddie Umphrey earned
his first All-American honors on
the floor exercise after a third-
place finish in the individual
finals. Umphrey hit a "routine of
a lifetime" according to Golder -
scoring a 9.525 - just .075 points
out of first place.

Umphrey's solid floor routine thing that's not gold is a disap-
during the team finals on Friday pointment. However, to go out there
not only put him in contention yesterday and have the whole team
for the individual finals but also behind me and supporting me for
helped the Wolverines earn their my last meet in a Michigan uniform
only top-three finish in the team was incredible, hitting the best floor
competition. Michigan came in routine of my life and having the
first place on floor exercise. crowd cheering for me and having a
"It was mixed emotions," top-three finish in an All-American
Umphrey said of his last meet as a position - I couldn't have pictured
Wolverine. "You think that every- it any other way."

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