2B - The Michigan Daily - SportsWednesday - October 19, 2005
By Eileen Hengel But th
Daily Sports Writer ual impro
Adam Maczik adjusts himself and his roughly four- makes it
and-a-half-feet long legs underneath the table. To any buy new
bystander, Maczik looks more like a basketball player "(The
than a fencer. With his 6-foot-6 frame, the sixth-year some of t
physics major would blend in well with the likes of junior Se
Courtney Sims or Chris Hunter. have ther
But Maczik is no basketball player. At least not when we
since high school. Rather, Maczik is an epeeist for our athle
Michigan's club fencing team. this year
Starting as a novice with the team his sophomore changesi
year, Maczik has evolved into one of the squads' most Nevert
dangerous and talented epeeists. harnesses
In fact, most of the squad's 30-plus members had never coach Jin
picked up a sabre, foil, or epee until the first practice. zik calle
"Most of our members come to the first practice of talente
because they intrigued by the idea of sword play," fenc- national 1
ing club president Josh Jacques said. "Rarely do our Consid
members have much experience beyond basic skills." sport fori
But you would never think that based on the team's centratior
results in Club Nationals. After placing third in Club "Basic
Nationals last year, with the men's epee squad placing your opp
second, the team is in a great position to win in 2006. captain R
e members have much more than just individ- here that ar
ovement to worry about. As an evolving sport, still able to
constantly change for the fencers, which nent to do
difficult for club teams such as Michigan's to thinks that
equipment every year. Much lil
United States Fencing Association) changed the players
the rules and some of the electrical timings," ly. Fencers
ean O'Brien said. "And because we do not and sabre. I
new equipment, it is going to be hard to adjust target area
go to real competitions. But I also think that epee. As m
ticism and our skill - which is a lot better target area
then it was last year - will make up for the "Since ft
in the rules." competitor
theless, the team's talent has not always been the rules," 1
A quite as equally. With the help of fifth year the foot is a
m Vesper, the club has turned from what Mac- very insulti
d "a dungeons and dragons club" into a group Accordin
d individuals that consistently compete at the that a fence]
level. arm open f
dered not only a sport for athletes but also a away from t
intellectuals, fencing requires a level of con- the move a,
n and intellect not expected in other sports. dimension t
ally, as a fencer, you are trying to outthink worry about
onent," graduate student and women's epee Which,
ebecca Storzer said. "You can get people out toes.
en't exactly athletically gifted but they are
compete. As a fencer, I try to get my oppo-
the things that I want her to do while she
she's doing because she wants to."
ke track and field or swimming, in fencing
compete as individuals but win collective-
compete in one of three weapons: foil, epee
Foil and epee are point weapons, where the
is the torso for foil, or the entire body for
nore of a slashing weapon, the sabre has a
of both the torso and arms.
oil and saber are all mostly torso targets the
s' arms, for foil, and legs are protected by
Maczik said. "But with epee, even the tip of
target, although it is a very dangerous and
g to Maczick, the danger in the "foot touch" is
x then leaves his or her entire upper body and
or attack. Nevertheless, Maczik does not shy
he move, arguing that good fencers do not use
s an insult, but rather the move adds another
o the match where the players not only have to
the torso and arms but also the legs.
according to Maczik, keeps him on his
Senior caption Amy Schmucker has a 73.89 stroke average this season.
Onie week after win
M hits to mes
Thanks to youngsters, Blue aims high
By Michael Schneider
For the Daily
By Daniel Bromwich
Daily Sports Writer
"Big Ten Champs."
For a women's basketball team that
finished with a 5-23 overall record and
a 1-15 conference mark last year, the
words a little ridiculous.
But for coach Cheryl Burnett's young
team - made up of one junior, five
sophomores, and five freshmen - noth-
ing seems impossible.
"I don't look at last year," freshman
point guard Jessica Minnfield said at the
team's Media Day on Thursday. "I just
expect to be somewhere as a team this
year and work together and just win.
Win. That's pretty much it."
Minnfield - Ohio's 2005 Miss Bas-
ketball - looks to step in and take over
as the team's starting point guard. But
she is just a part of a recruiting class that
has Burnett and her staff very excited.
"This is one of the most incredible
recruiting classes that I know I and our
staff has ever gotten anywhere," Burnett
said. "It's an amazing class from top
to bottom. We got bigger, we got more
physical, (and) we got quicker."
Other than Minnfield, the class
includes 6-foot-3 forward and Miss
Canada Basketball award winner Steph-
any Skrba, McDonald's All-American
finalist Melinda Queen and Michigan
Miss Basketball finalists Carly Benson
and Ashley Jones.
But these freshmen do not arrive with
just high accolades. They're also ready
to work. Both Jones and Minnfield were
able to pass all but one of Burnett's indi-
vidual conditioning tests. And it's not
just those two.
"I've coached for a long time," Bur-
nett said, "and I've tested every single
team I've coached. This team has tested
better, by far, as an entire group, than
any team I've ever coached."
Conditioning is especially impor-
tant for a Burnett-coached team, as she
employs a style of play that emphasizes
a full-court game, both on defense and
in a transition offense.
One of her trademarks is a "scramble"
defense, in which the defense tries to
pressure the offense with double-teams,
trapping and attacking all over the floor.
It's a style of play that the players love,
but one that requires a certain amount of
speed and athleticism. That is one area
where Skrba should help.
Highly recruited out of Langstaff
Secondary School in Richmond Hill,
Ontario, Skrba is a two-time Cana-
dian Junior National Team member.
She should bring scoring, rebounding
and versatility to a team that needs all
"We have a post player at 6-foot-3
who is getting numbers that it's hard for
guards to get," Burnett said.
But even with Skrba's athleticism, she
has not automatically earned a starting
spot on a team that values condition-
ing and defense above all. Burnett has
already let her players know that the five
who are the best-conditioned and play
the toughest defense will start the first
"I'm a firm believer that, yes, you
have to have skills of course," Burnett
said, "but what really determines the
excellence and the championships goes
far beyond that skill level. It goes to
coachability, it goes to mental tough-
Most of us succeeded in doing as
little as possible during the fall break.
The women's golf team didn't have the
Six of the Wolverines hit the links
at this week's Tyson/Embassy Suites
Invitational in Rogers, Ark. Senior cap-
tain Amy Schmucker made her fourth
consecutive tournament appearance of
Schmucker, along with seniors
Brandi Zielinski and Kelly Easton,
juniors Ali Stinson and Brianna Brod-
erick and sophomore Lindsay Davis
were among the field at the three-day,
54-hole event taking place at The Pin-
nacle Country Club.
As those who play golf know, it is
a game that can take you from top to
bottom from one round - or one week
- to the next. The Wolverines proved
this last weekend.
After a first-place showing in the
Wolverine Invitational two weekends
ago, Michigan finished 11th out of
16 teams last weekend. Although the
team did not finish at the bottom, the °
Wolverines were disappointed with the
considerable drop in their overall place
from the previous tournament.
For the fourth tournament in a
row, Schmucker led the Wolverines,
shooting 227 (11-over), placing her
into a tie for 16th place overall. She
had the low round of all the Wolver-
ine participants, firing an even-par 72
on the final day.
This shouldn't come as a surprise.
9chmucker has been leading the Wol-
verines all year, doing what a captain is
supposed to be doing. Assistant coach
Tucker, who accompanied the team
down to Arkansas, said she was espe-
cially impressed with Schmucker's
"She's really stepped up her game
this year," Tucker said. "She's matured
so much as a player."
Schmucker is currently averaging a
73.89 stroke average - a career best
- and has top-20 finishes in every
tournament this season. Her first
round, 4-under 68 at the Wolverine
Invitational not only propelled her to
runner-up medalist, but also put her
in the record books - tying the Uni-
versity of Michigan record for lowest
For Schmucker, being captain means
more than just about where her team
finishes, personal-best rounds or indi-
vidual honors. It's about what doesn't
show up on the stat sheet that counts,
says her coach.
"She relates really well to the girls
and more than anything, they respect
her," Tucker said. "She shows leader-
ship both on and off the course."
Stinston was second on the team at
this week's tournament, posting a 236
(20-over) and placing her in a tie for
46th. Broderick, Easton and Zielinski
followed, putting up scores of 238, 240
and 249, respectively. Davis did not
finish the tournament because she was
disqualified for not signing her score-
card in the final round.
"I think we had a pretty disappoint-
ing week," Tucker said. "We never
really got anything going."
The hometown Razorbacks ran
away with the competition, out-shoot-
ing Notre Dame - the second place
team - by 20 strokes. Four out of the
top five overall individual finishers
were golfing for Arkansas.
The Wolverines will look to get back
on track at next week's Landfall Tradi-
tion in Wilmington, N.C.
Junior Kelly Helvey is the women's basketball team's only upperclassmen.
ness, it goes to the last 10 minutes of the
game. Are we in better shape than our
Burnett has the same expectations for
this team that she has for all her teams:
to make the NCAA Tournament, how-
ever many wins that takes.
"I will be very disappointed if that
does not happen this year," Burnett
Making the NCAA Tournament is
one thing. But winning the Big Ten, a
conference that includes 2004 Final
Four runner-up Michigan State and
preseason top-15 teams Ohio State and
Minnesota, is another.
Yet Junior Kelly Helvey believes it
"If we just come in and do whatever
is necessary, we have absolutely nothing
to lose," Helvey said. "We're going to
do a lot better than we did last year. I've
been very impressed with the way (the
freshmen) have all been able to play. I
didn't know what to expect from them,
but I've been stunned by their abilities."
Not many teams win conferences
when 10 out of its 11 players on the team
But this team doesn't appear to know
And that just might be a good thing.
The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational Sports
Intramural Sports Program
DAILY SPORTS PODCASTs. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
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hN' tManager's Meeting:
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