10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 17, 2005
in second place
By Bryan Hamilton
Daily Sports Writer
No one remembers who finishes second.
But, when teams are up against a nation of skilled college athletes vying for a
championship, second-place is pretty darn good.
So when the Michigan men's wrestling team took second place at last year's
NCAA Championships, the Wolverines saw the season as a success.
"I was really happy with our guys last year," coach Joe McFarland said. "For the
previous four years, we had been in the top-10 but could not break into the top-five.
We finally did that last year."
And break in they did. Headed by five All-Americans, the Wolverines
matched the program's all-time best finish at the NCAAs. Only powerhouse
Oklahoma State topped Michigan, a tremendous step forward for the Wolver-
ines' consistently successful program. Now, with a second-place finish in hand,
all of Michigan's players and coaches know there's only one way to improve on
last season's success.
"We definitely have the team to do it," McFarland said. "Our guys are very capa-
ble of being there, competing for the title."
As the 2005-06 season opens, Oklahoma State should once again find itself atop
the polls. McFarland admits his team may need a little help at the national cham-
pionships to get past the Cowboys, but players like fifth-year senior Ryan Churella
know the best thing the Wolverines can do is help themselves.
"We have a group of guys who understand what it takes," Churella said. "They
know how to compete on that level, and if we can.get a couple more guys to step up
and be All-Americans, we'll have a good shot at the title."
If Churella's wish comes true, and Michigan has some new faces earning All-
America honors this season, those players will be joining a very talented squad that
already returns four of its five All-Americans from last season - Churella, and his
younger brother, Josh Churella, plus Eric Tannenbaum and Greg Wagner. All four
of them finished in the top-eight of their individual weight classes at NCAAs last
season. Though top-eight finishes are impressive, recent success has many of the
Wolverines - including Ryan Churella - thinking bigger this season.
After claiming third- and fourth-place finishes in the 165 pound weight class at
the last two national championships, Churella's hunger for the top individual spot
0 MEN'S CROSS COUNTRY
Woods moves on
By Bridget O'Donnell
For the Daily
TOvASOGO Zv/ uiy
Fifth-year senior Ryan Churella and the Wolverines are hoping for a national title.
is stronger than ever.
"I know he wants it," McFarland said. "It's the first thing he thinks about when
he wakes up and the last when he goes to bed. We've sat down, and he's written
about it - he wants to be a national champion."
It should come as no surprise that Churella has such high aspirations, since he
came from an impressive lineage of wrestlers. Churella's father Mark was a three-
time national champion for the Wolverines in the mid-'70s, and even though it has
always been a goal of Ryan's to follow in his father's footsteps, he also wants to
create his own legacy at Michigan.
"We've never won a national championship as a team here," Churella said. "It
would mean so much to us and the school if we could finally do that this year."
In his last season as a Wolverine, Churella has one final shot to shape how
he will be remembered. Since few people remember who finishes second,
Churella and the rest of his teammates will do everything they can to make
sure they aren't forgotten.
That's how Mike Woods described the
Michigan men's cross country team's perfor-
mance at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional this
past Saturday. While Woods, a sophomore,
qualified for nationals with a fourth-place indi-
vidual finish, the team, which placed eighth
overall, wasn't as successful.
"We definitely underperformed," Woods
said. "It was a very achievable goal (to make
nationals). We were pretty disappointed."
But while Woods wasn't happy with the
team's result, he was pleased with his own
performance in the 10,000-meter race. With
a time of 31:11.7, Woods placed high enough
to qualify for nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.,
"I thought it was not only one of my bet-
ter races of the year, but also of my entire
cross country career," Woods said. "But at
the same time, it was bittersweet because the
team didn't make it."
The team's season may have ended, but it's
just the beginning for Woods. After placing
174th at nationals last year and after a difficult
start earlier this year, Woods has seen his run-
ning career take off.
"It was tough at the beginning because I
started track and field so late into the season
and I didn't have the ability to build up like the
other runners did," Woods said.
But after missing the first two races, he has
been the Wolverines' top finisher in five of the
team's eight meets this year.
Coach Ron Warhurst said he believes
that Woods has improved dramatically
since the start of the season.
"Earlier on, he was struggling, but I think
he is running his best cross country right now,"
King and Pery to retire
from football announcing
Michigan Stadium public address
announcer Howard King, who has held
the post for 33 years, will work his last
game this Saturday against Ohio State.
King came to Michigan in 1972 and
immediately replaced Steve Filipiak,
who had spent 15 years in the Michigan
Stadium press box.
"I've been treated extremely well
by everyone at Michigan," King said
Warhurst said. "He wasn't training as hard ear-
lier on, and it took a while to build his mileage
up, but he has tremendously improved."
Warhurst also feels that Woods has taken up
a new role as a leader of the team.
"He definitely has (acted as a leader),"
he said. "He speaks to his teammates
through his actions."
Since former captain and three-time
All-American Nate Brannen graduated last
year, Woods has gladly taken the driver's
seat this season.
"It's good to be able to say that people
look up to me," Woods said. "I've got big
shoes to fill, which I haven't entirely filled
yet. But hopefully, I can perform just as well
as Nate did."
Like Brannen, Woods hopes that he can con-
tend for a top-30 finish at nationals - which
would qualify him to be an All-American.
"I hope to be All-American, but I'm
not going to put too much pressure on
myself," Woods said. "It's a big chance to
prove that I can run with some of the best
runners in the nation."
Woods is also optimistic about the team's
prospects for next season.
"Hopefully, next year the entire team can go
to nationals," he said. "I'm almost positive we
will because we will be more experienced"
As for his own future, Woods hopes to
eventually "be a contender for a top-10 fin-
ish." But for now, he just wants to focus on the
"I'm just going to have an open mind, have
fun, and I will run to the best of my ability to
make the top-30," Woods said.
Warhurst is confident that Woods is pre-
pared for the race on Saturday.
"Mike will have a good showing," War-
hurst said. "He's prepared, he's ready, and
he's a gamer."
through the athletic department. "I've
had a lot of fun and many great memo-
King attended the College of
Wooster and Ohio State before moving
Pat Perry, who has served as Michi-
gan's press box announcer since 1980,
will also retire following the Wolver-
ines' game against the Buckeyes.
Perry began working for the athletic
department in 1969 in a part-time posi-
tion. According to the athletic depart-
ment, Perry "was one of the first women
to have a working position in a major
college press box."
- Gabe Edelson