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October 03, 2005 - Image 15

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-03

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The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 3, 2005 - 7B
Frosh stars in first tourney

By Ben Zerman
For the Daily
Michigan coach Bitsy Ritt is very
excited for her next four seasons as
coach of the women's tennis team. And
with good reason - freshman sensa-
tion Chisako Sugiyama dominated the
"Blue" singles flight of the Wolverine
Invitational in Ann Arbor this week-
end. Sugiyama steamrolled her compe-
tition, winning all four of her matches
en route to her first championship as a
Wolverine. She never even came close
to dropping a set - not bad for the
freshman's first collegiate matches.
"I was really surprised that I was
able to play so well," Sugiyama said.
"You have to play really well on these
courts because the conditions are dif-
ferent every day. Sometimes it's windy,
sometimes it's not at all, sometimes the
wind is so bad that it's so hard to chase
the ball because you have no idea where
the ball is going to bounce."
The court conditions didn't affect
Sugiyama at all. She put together deci-
sive victories each day of the Friday-
to-Sunday tournament. She disposed of
Erin Watkins of Marquette on Friday
(6-1, 6-1), Sarah Andrews of Michigan
State (6-4, 6-1) and Malena Remynse
of Western Michigan (6-0, 6-0) on Sat-

urday and won Sunday's championship
match against Rattiya Hiranrat (6-1, 6-
3) of Western Michigan.
"Winning this tournament is defi-
nitely a confidence booster," Sugiyama
said. "Hopefully, I can keep on improv-
ing."
Ritt wasn't surprised at Sugiyama's
success.
"I have high expectations for Chisako and
all of our players," Ritt said. "But I certainly
learned through the recruiting process that
Chisako is a very competitive and talented
player. Even though this was her first colle-
giate event, we knew that she was ready to
compete and play well."
Sugiyama's teammates also shared
success this weekend. Sophomore Allie
Shafner dropped her first match but
bounced back to win her next three,
including the consolation champion-
ship of the "Blue" singles flight. Junior
Lindsey Goldstein finished 2-2 in the
"Blue" singles flight and sophomore
Monica Sly ended the weekend 2-2 in
the "Maize" singles flight.
The doubles teams also played con-
sistently all weekend. Ritt experimented
with several different partner combina-
tions and all saw success. The tandem
of Shafner and Sugiyama led the way
with an unblemished 3-0 record. Sugi-
yama also teamed with Sly and Gold-

stein for a couple wins.
Overall, the team was 11-5 in singles
and 8-2 in doubles. The Wolverines had
a good weekend considering they were
without their top four players.
Seniors Nina Yaftali and Debra
Streifler as well as juniors Kara Deli-
cata and Elizabeth Exon competed at
the Riviera/ITA Women's All-Ameri-
can Championships in Los Angeles
this weekend. None of the girls were
able to move beyond the pre-qualify-
ing rounds. Exon was seeded sixth in
the tournament but lost her first-round
in three sets. The others also lost their
first round singles matches, all on Sat-
urday morning. Streifler and Exon won
their first match in the doubles tourna-
ment but couldn't keep it going, los-
ing in the second round to top-seeded
Dominka Dieskova and Anna Cecilia
Olivos from Oregon.
Delicata and Yaftali will team up on Tues-
day in the qualifying rounds of the tourna-
ment in Pacific Palisades, Calif. In order to
qualify for the main draw, they will need to
splice together three wins.
The team will now begin gearing
up for their next competition, the ITA
Midwest Regional Championships. The
tournament will take place at Michigan
State's Indoor Tennis Facility in East
Lansing, from Oct. 20 to 25.

MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
Sophomore Allie Shafner took the consolation championship In the "Blue" bracket of the Michigan invitational.

MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Blue
bests set
in South
Bend
By Max Sanders
For the Daily
"Improvement" was the word of
the day for the Michigan men's cross
country team - serious improvement.
The Wolverines started out fast, and
from that boost out of the gates came
much success. At the Notre Dame
Invitational in South Bend, the No. 14
Wolverines took sixth place in a field
of 25. Even more impressive was that
Michigan's top-seven runners all put
up times that either matched or bet-
tered their 8,000-meter bests.
The team began the race in a close
pack, running the first mile at a scorch-
ing 4:30 pace.
"It was a good experiment to get out
fast," coach Ron Warhust said.
The quick start helped sophomore
Mike Woods, who was the fastest Wol-
verine for the second week in a row,
place 23rd in a field of 200 with a time
of 24:21.
"I think there is still some room for
improvement for the team, especially
for myself," Woods said.
Fifth-year senior Rondell Ruff came
up with a gutsy performance and
shaved 13 seconds off his personal best
to take 58th place. The strong showing
is an encouraging sign for Ruff.
"I wasn't performing in the way I
wanted to, and this is a step in the right
direction," Ruff said.
The race also displayed Michigan's
freshman runners who have shown
unexpected levels of maturity and
determination. The most notable
improvement of the day was that of
freshman Justin Switzer, who fin-
ished 30 seconds better than his pre-
vious-best, making him the second of
Wolverines to finish the race (24:30).
Freshmen John Black and Lex Wil-
liams also came in with personal bests
of 25:07 and 25:17, respectively.
"The freshmen are just phenom-
enal," Woods said. "They are all very
tough, very smart and have an unbe-
lievable work ethic."
The team finished one place behind
I Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin which
was not running all of its top competi-
tors. Wisconsin was not the only team
with an unexpected finish. Florida and
Florida State took third and fourth
place, respectively, though neither was
seen as a top-five team entering the
competition.
"Both the Florida teams ran really
well together," Ruff said.
Many of the upperclassmen on
this year's squad are determined to
improve on last year's 26th-place
showing at Nationals. And with
pre-Nationals fast approaching, the
Notre Dame Invitational proved to
be a valuable race in showing where
the team stands.
"Right now, we just need to grind
it out until Nationals," Ruff said. "I
think this competition showed we can
run with the top guns and, come time
for Nationals, we'll be ready."
And if the Wolverines can keep
slashing seconds off their times, it
cO~nc' theO lonm wil hP m% nkina cnmt-

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