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8E - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2005

l

SPORTS

Grapplers take second,
Bertin wins National title

By Mark Giannotto
MARC" 21, 2005
Daily StaffWriter
ST. LOUIS - He pointed at the Michigan stitched into his sin-
glet and let out a deep breath. As he waved to the crowd, one got
the feeling that senior Ryan Bertin and the Michigan wrestling
team had just removed a giant burden from their shoulders.
Since last year's NCAA Wrestling Championships, when he
failed in his bid to repeat as national champion, Bertin had been
consumed with regaining his title. For that matter, the entire
Wolverine team had been trying to remove the stigma of not
being a tournament team.
But after the 2005 NCAA Wrestling Championships were
complete, both Bertin and Michigan accomplished their goals.
Bertin captured the national championship in the 157-pound
weight class, and the Wolverines finished an impressive second
place in the overall team competition. It was Michigan's best
finish since 1974.
In his championship match on Saturday night, No. 2-seeded
Bertin faced off against No. 8-seeded Joe Johnston of Iowa. In
the quarterfinals, Johnston scored a huge upset over the No. 1
seed, Alex Tirapelle of Illinois. Tirapelle had beaten Bertin in
the Big Ten Championships two weeks earlier.
Bertin did not allow Johnston to get comfortable, capitalizing
on a deep shot at the beginning of the first period. But Bertin
was unable to keep the Iowa junior down for long, and Johnston
scored an escape soon thereafter.
The tide in the match turned at the end of the first period. It
appeared as if Bertin was about to give up a takedown to John-
ston and surrender his 2-1 lead. But instead Bertin grabbed hold
of his opponent's ankle and flipped him over his head to get a
second takedown in the period.
"I just went with my instincts and got into a scramble," Bertin
said. "I came out on top, so it worked out."
With that takedown, Bertin took a 4-1 lead in the match,

and, from there, the match was never really in question. John-
ston was never able to counter Bertin's quick shots from the
neutral position. The senior got all eight of his points through
takedowns. The final score, 8-5, did not truly indicate how one-
sided the match was.
"When I recruited him, one of Bertin's high school coaches
told me that he was a gamer," Michigan coach Joe McFarland
said. "He's going to go down as one of the all-time greats in
Michigan wrestling history. He's been focused all week, and
that was his goal. I don't think anyone could have beaten him
this weekend."
With the win, Bertin captured his second national champi-
onship in three years. His tournament last year was marred by
injuries. This season, Bertin entered the tournament relatively
healthy, and the rest of the field felt the effect of it.
"It's easier to wrestle when you are healthy," Bertin said. "In
this tournament, (being healthy) is a great equalizer."
The Wolverines clinched second place in the team compe-
tition of the tournament with Bertin's win in the 157-pound
final, and a total of 83 points. The second-place finish was
the highest for Michigan since 1974. Oklahoma State ran
away with the team title, scoring 153.5 points and capturing
five individual titles.
"I couldn't be more proud of these guys," McFarland said.
"Our young guys came here and were able to withstand the pres-
sure. The guys on our team are really competitive, and we were
focused on this tournament all year."
The Wolverines had five All-Americans out of their 10 starters.
Junior captain Ryan Churella finished fourth in the 165-pound
weight class. Johny Hendricks of Oklahoma State 6-2 defeated
Churella in the semifinals on Friday. That loss forced Churella to
face the defending 165-pound weight class champion, Troy Let-
ters of Lehigh. In a tight match, Churella lost, 7-5.
"I didn't wrestle like I wanted to, and it showed when I lost the
match," Churella said. "You're never satisfied unless you win the
national championship. I'll remember what this felt like when

S
0
0

TONY DING/Daily
Ryan Bertin grapples an opponent Ohio State on Feb. 11. Bertin went on to capture his second national championship at NCAAs.

I'm here next year, and I'll be ready."
Freshman Eric Tannenbaum had an impressive debut in
the NCAA Championships, attaining All-American status in
the 149-pound weight class. He made the semi-finals, before
succumbing to Oklahoma State's Zack Esposito. He finished
fourth overall.
The Wolverines' other freshman in the tournament, Josh
Churella, did not enjoy the same kind of success. Although
the No. 3 seed was named an All-American, he finished a
disappointing eighth. He battled a chest cold throughout the

weekend, and it showed in his three losses, where his stamina
was affected.
"I never take timeouts, and I took three," Churella said. "Every
match, I just got tired. I just didn't have it this tournament."
Rounding out the Wolverines' All-Americans was junior
heavyweight Greg Wagner, who improved on his sixth-place fin-
ish from a year ago with a fourth-place finish this year.
"If you had told me a week ago that we would finish second
here, I would have told you that's a stretch," McFarland said.
"But I'm real proud of these guys because they pulled it off."

Tumblers take first

at NCAA
By Katie Niemeyer
APRIL 11, 2005
Daily Staff Writer
The importance of senior leader-
ship was shown in the Michigan wom-
en's gymnastics team's final rotation
at the NCAA South Central Regional
Championship in Lincoln, 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 meet.
Michigan seniors Lauren Mirkov-
ich and Elise Ray were up to the
challenge. As the last Wolverines
to compete, they stepped up to the
apparatus, 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 compe-
tition 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 handled it pretty well."
The Wolverines started on beam as
strongly as they finished. Rearranging

regionals
the beam lineup before the competi-
tion, put sophomore Carol McNamara
up first to kick off the meet for the
Wolverines.
"Her practices have been incredi-
ble this past week, and we just really
felt that she was the person we need-
ed to get us started," Michigan coach
Bev Plocki said. "I thought she did
a great job, very composed. (Com-
posure is) very important on beam
where you have all that adrenaline
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 Cham-
pionships, needed a strong score in
the event.
"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 meet."
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 perfor-
mances were very good," Plocki said.
"I thought the performance quality
was good. I thought the tumbling and

0 TRACK AND FIELD
Wolverines race
to controversial
win at NCAAs

40

By Pete Sneider
MARCH 14, 2005
Daily Staff Writer

Senior Lauren Mirkovich performs on uneven bars during a win against West Virginia
on Feb. 18. Mirkovich earned a 9.925 on the apparatus at the NCAA regional.
landing was good." we know that we still have places that
The Wolverines continued to per- we can still improve on, as well."
form consistently on vault, scoring Michigan's three all-around com-
a 49.175 and positioning themselves petitors - Ray (39.375), junior Jenny
well for the final rotation. Deiley (39.350) and sophomore Lind-
"I thought we came close to stick- sey Bruck (39.250) - went two, three
ing several vaults but still took little and four in the all-around on the way
steps here and there," Plocki said. "I to the Wolverines' victory.
think our vaults were very good. Our It was Michigan's sixth regional
vaults were very big and dynamic, but title in nine years.

WATER POLO
Blue finishe
By Katie Niemeyer
MAY 3, 2005
Daily Staff Writer
BLOOMINGTON - What could possibly have
caused Michigan water polo coach Matt Anderson to
tread water with his shoes on?
It must have been No. 11 Michigan's 8-7 victory over
rival Indiana in the finals of the
Eastern Conference Championship
and its subsequent automatic berth
to the NCAA Championship. The
team eventually finished sixth at NCAAs.
With 2:41 left in the fourth quarter, No. 10 Indiana tied
the game for the third time at seven, erasing Michigan's
two-goal lead.
One minute later, the Wolverines received an ejection,
which put Indiana on the power play. The home crowd
went crazy trying to will the Hoosiers to their first lead
of the game. But the Wolverines killed it off and earned
a power play of their own. Michigan capitalized when
sophomore Shana Welch turned a pass from the left of
the net to junior Megan Hausmann - posted in front of
the net - who sent the ball flying by Indiana goalie Jes-
sica Goldner for the game-winning goal.

s strong, defeats Indiana
"The key was the girls never came over to the sidelines team on her shoulders."
with an empty look in their eyes," Anderson said. "We Knudsten - who recorded 13 goals before April 3
knew it was going to be tied going into the fourth - now this season - scored seven on the weekend. Knudsten
it's time to finish it." and Narsai made the All-Tournament second team.
Michigan began the game quickly, winning the open- "Meg Knudsten became a superstar," Anderson said.
ing swimoff and scoring on its first possession. Senior "She is arguably my most dependable player. She stays in
Meg Knudtsen scored to take an early 1-0 lead. the game the whole time, but she's also our No. 6 option
The Wolverines made the most of strong opening peri- to score the ball, maybe even our No. 7 or (No. 8). She
ods all tournament. They jumped to a 3-0 lead against said, I'm a senior. If I'm going out a winner or a loser, it's
Bucknell and Princeton in the first quarter of each game going to be my responsibility.' And that's what she did."
and never trailed an opponent all weekend. Knudsten started the weekend off with the Wolverines'
Even the home crowd was impressed. Murmurs of first goal against Bucknell and then scored back-to-back
"Michigan came to play" and "wow, their goalie's amaz- goals to increase the Michigan lead to four. Eventually
ing" could be heard. the Wolverines beat the Bison, 7-1.
"They don't really have any weaknesses," Bucknell Later that day Michigan pounced on Princeton, scor-
sophomore Elizabeth Jensen said. "But we tried to get ing five goals before the Tigers could respond. Princeton
better position, because it's really hard to score on their finally lobbed two goals over Armstrong's head to get
goalie." back in the game. But the three-goal deficit is the closest
Michigan goalie Betsey Armstrong was named MVP the Tigers came, and Michigan won the game, 8-3.
of the tournament and selected to All-Tournament first Then Michigan felt its sweetest victory of the season,
team with her teammate Welch. beating the Hoosiers for the Eastern Championship.
"Betsey Armstrong has shown why she is arguably "All year it's been Indiana and (Michigan) head-to-
the greatest college goalie to ever have played this game," head," Welch said. "I think to beat them in their home
Anderson said. "But we won (yesterday) because Meg pool with all the ups and downs this season - it makes it
Knudsten decided she was going to step up and take the just that much sweeter."

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The final
result wouldn't be posted until nearly
all of the 5,006 fans had left the Randal
Tyson Track Center. It took an hour and
a half after the event ended before the
Michigan men would find out that they
were champions at the distance medley
relay of the 2005 NCAA Indoor Track
and Field Championships.
In the final leg of the relay, Michi-
gan senior Nate Brannen overcame
a 30-meter deficit to pull behind
Arkansas's Said Ahmed with 100
meters to go. Although Ahmed edged
him at the line by .03 seconds, the
tight finish created some controversy
as Ahmed drifted into Brannen's lane
down the stretch.
But there was no red flag, and the
results were posted on the scoreboard:
1. Arkansas, 2. Michigan. The home
crowd erupted as the Razorback four-
some jogged their victory lap.
But fifteen minutes later, a ref-
eree filed a protest, citing rule 5-5-
3B, which states, "The referee, after
consulting with the appropriate offi-
cials, shall disqualify a competitor
who veers to the right or left so as
to impede a challenging runner or
forces the challenging runner to run
a great distance."
The revised results were announced
30 minutes later while the Michigan
quartet was warming down - Arkan-
sas was disqualified and the Wolver-
ines were the DMR national champions
with their time of 9:30.82.
The committee reconvened for
45 more minutes while Arkansas
appealed the protest. But the decision
was upheld and, at 11 p.m., the few
Wolverines still in the building could
breathe a sigh of relief.
"It's unfortunate it had to happen
this way," Michigan coach Ron War-
hurst said. "Arkansas is in the middle
of a fight for a national championship,
but so are we. You can't impede or
move left or right when a guy is com-
ing on you. You can't come off the
turn drifting to lane four. You just
can't do that."
Brannen would have preferred a
clear-cut Michigan win but had no
qualms about the controversial ending.
"I was definitely upset about how
things turned out," Brannen said. "If
I'm going to lose, I don't mind los-
ing fair. To win it because a team got
disqualified is pretty crappy, but if
they're going to take the win by cheat-
ing, we have a legit reason for taking
it from them."
The race that ended in a photo finish

started off a little shaky.
Rondell Ruff kicked off the relay
with the 1,200-meter leg and was run-
ning in third place until he was tripped
up while coming around the last bend.
Ruff regained his balance, but, his split
of 2:56.3 left Michigan in fifth place
entering the first exchange.
"Someone clipped my heel," Ruff
said. "For a second, I thought I was
going to take a dive, but I pulled it
together."
Sophomore Stann Waithe held his
position following the handoff before
turning on the jets in the final 100
meters. His 400-meter split of 45.8
was fast enough to put the Wolver-
ines in second place entering the
800-meter leg.
But the exchange to Andrew Ellerton
was not a smooth one, and the junior
started the third leg in fifth place.
Ellerton made up ground in the final
two laps, moving the Wolverines into
third place behind UCLA and Arkan-
sas. His split of 1:49.8 put Brannen 10
meters behind the leaders entering the
last leg. But UCLA's Jon Rankin and
Ahmed exploded off the final handoff,
creating a 30-meter margin over the
rest of the field. Brannen opted to stay
off the fast pace despite the large gap.
"I knew they got out pretty fast, so
I tried to run my own race thinking
they would come back to me at some
point," Brannen said.
Brannen eventually caught up to the
pair with 200 meters remaining. He
passed Rankin entering the final bend
and began his sprint to the finish - just
off the heels of Ahmed - before he was
cut off at the finish line.
It was the second consecutive
national title in the DMR for the Wol-
verines. Brannen and Ellerton were a
part of last year's championship relay
team as well.
The women's track and field team
also won the DMR with a time of
11:08.24. Freshman Nicole Edwards
started the race, putting Michigan
in second place at the first hand-
off. Three seniors - Sierra Haus-
er-Price, Theresa Feldkamp and
Lindsey Gallo - rounded out the
victory for the Wolverines. It was
the team's first NCAA event title
since 1998.
Last year, Feldkamp competed on
the Michigan DMR team that finished
in a disappointing seventh-place. This
year's squad knew it had a chance to
win but did not expect it.
"It's awesome because one girl is a
freshman and three of us are seniors,
so it was a great way to end our sea-
son," Feldkamp said.
- Daily Staff Writer Ian Robinson
contributed to this article.

0

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